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January 06, 2007


Carrots are not easy to grow well. They are foisted on children because children like to eat them. I always see instructions to sow carrot seed straight into the ground, and then kept damp until it sprouts. But carrots and parsley are closely related, and I always soak my parsley seed overnight before sowing. Why not do the same with carrot seed? And then, the soil has to be very light and fluffy, no rock, no clay. If you can stick your finger straight down into the soil without effort, well, then, your carrot roots can do likewise.

As for the greens, my guess is that the heat just stalled their metabolism. Eliot Coleman grows mache in the winter, in an unheated greenhouse. My daughter (the vegetable grower) tells me spinach responds to day-length. That is, once you get so many hours of sun per day, it just bolts, regardless of the temperature. However, it will also bolt because of heat. In A Way to Garden by Margaret Roach, she sows her spinach seed into semi-frozen ground in very late autumn, and then it sprouts in the spring much sooner than you could work the ground to plant it.

There. Now you have the full extent of my second-hand knowledge. Perhaps it will help.


Thanks, Anonymous, for your comments. I have a feeling that here on the northern prairie, we go so quickly from cool spring to hot summer that many traditional spring vegetables are just too difficult to grow. Because we don't have any ameliorating winds from the ocean or even a big lake, the changes in temperature are quick and brutal. I like your idea with sowing the spinach in the late fall - I'll have to try that. I know that any lettuce I let go to seed will sprout in the spring. I'm also going to start several greens in flats rather than direct sowing them - I'm hoping that gives them a head-start before it gets too hot.

Gardening - always an experiment in progress!


Bah! I wasn't trying to be anonymous. I dutifully signed into TypeKey, but the page took forever to load. I mean hours. I left it to cook supper, and it took longer than that. It looked like it had finished loading, so I typed in my comment. I guess I should be thankful it didn't eat my comment, but I'm not using it anymore. It doesn't seem to save a bit of time when commenting, or allow me to skip moderation, so what's the use?


Kathy - I'm sorry that Typepad wasn't working for you! It usually works so well, especially compared to Blogger. I'm not sure what purpose the sign in has, either. When I'm commenting on my own blog I sign in just because I'm usually posting, too. But when I comment on other blogs, I don't bother signing in for the same reason.

I need to know if the rabbits eat my tops off of my beets will the beets still grow underneath without tops?


Anonymous: It depends on how much the rabbits have eaten. You can cut some beet greens for your own use in salads or cooking, and they'll survive just fine. Thus, if the rabbits haven't eaten all the leaves then you should have no problem. If all the leaves have been eaten, you should wait to see if more leaves grow. If so, you shouldn't have problems. If not, they will probably not grow.

No matter what, though, if you have rabbit problems, you should protect the things they like with floating row covers or rabbit fencing so your plants have a chance to recover.

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