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Carrots







Dry-gardening carrots requires patiently waiting until the weather stabilizes before tilling and sowing. To avoid even a little bit of soil compaction, I try to sprout the seed without irrigation but always fear that hot weather will frustrate my efforts. So I till and plant too soon. And then heavy rain comes and compacts my perfectly fluffed-up soil. But the looser and finer the earth remains during their first six growing weeks, the more perfectly the roots will develop. _Sowing date:_ April at Elkton. _Spacing: _Allocate 4 feet of width to a single row of carrot seed. When the seedlings are about 2 inches tall, thin to 1 inch apart. Then thin every other carrot when the roots are [f]3/8 to [f]1/2 inch in diameter and eat the thinnings. A few weeks later, when the carrots are about 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter, make a final thinning to 1 foot apart. _Irrigation:_ Not necessary. Foliar feeding every few weeks will make much larger roots. Without any help they should grow to several pounds each. _Varieties:_ Choosing the right variety is very important. Nantes and other delicate, juicy types lack enough fiber to hold together when they get very large. These split prematurely. I've had my best results with Danvers types. I'd also try Royal Chantenay (PEA), Fakkel Mix (TSC), Stokes "Processor" types, and Topweight (ABL). Be prepared to experiment with variety. The roots will not be quite as tender as heavily watered Nantes types but are a lot better than you'd think. Huge carrots are excellent in soups and we cheerfully grate them into salads. Something about accumulating sunshine all summer makes the roots incredibly sweet.





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