Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mystery Crops

This year I grew rather a lot of mystery crops (aka root crops).  I call them mystery crops because other than a little swelling at the top, it's pretty hard to tell what the harvest is going to look like until the deed is done.  These carrots, for example, were not all that I had hoped.

Stumpy, twisted carrot
I've had trouble with carrots before - the first time I grew them outside our house they grew huge, fat tops that turned out (at harvest time) to be only about an inch long and taste pretty much just like dirt.  I decided after that to just buy my carrots at the store, but you know me...I couldn't let them get the best of me!  I managed to successfully grow them in recycling totes, and last fall I grew a small patch at the community garden that did beautifully despite late planting and hurricane rains scattering the seeds everywhere. 

I'm not sure what the problem was this year.  I don't think the soil had too much nitrogen, as I didn't add any after I took out the cabbage last spring.  These early carrots were transplanted into the garden, which is somewhat of a no-no.  Also, though I did add compost to the bed, I spread it on the top rather than digging it in, as sort of a no-till experiment.  Since the second half of that bed was planted from seeds, I guess I'll wait and see how they come out.

Meanwhile, there is an incredible pile of garlic on the guest bed to testify that mystery crops sometimes do just fine.  Based on the above-ground growth I'm also pretty confident of the onions.  As for the potatoes* and celeriac, we'll just have to see!

*Fun fact: potatoes are not modified roots, like carrots - they're actually stems!  Aren't plants cool? bv


  1. And now I have learned two new things about plants: potatoes are stems, and unripe tomatoes (and other fruit I guess) can do photosynthesis. I still don't think plants are cool though. Strange, yes.

  2. Hmmm. I was going to say something like, "Can you turn your arm into an energy storage device?" But I have to admit that, if you could, that would be more strange than cool. I guess I'm just a plant geek!