This is what it’s all about, biting into your very first ever homegrown carrot and realising, you’ll never feel the same way about carrots again. It’s the most delicious carrot I’ve ever eaten. In fact, I may just grow carrots on my plot next year and nothing else. I’m considering starting a carrot related advertising campaign to entice people to garden but I think a certain famous company which shares it’s name with another healthy food (I’ll give you a hint, it’s not an orange) might take issue with my slogan.
Seriously though, grow carrots. Grow them seriously, or for fun, just grow them. I planted my carrots late. In fact, I forgot to plant carrots until the second week in June and wasn’t quite sure they’d even germinate. I had very palpable fears about the carrot root fly, I’ve heard and read some scary stories. Horrible creatures that burrow into your carrots and eat them from the inside out. I’ve had Night of the Living Dead Root Fly nightmares. Plus, we haven’t had the best summer for carrots, so my hopes weren’t very high. Imagine my delight when today I decided to pick some to see how they were progressing and what I ended up with were delicious, crunchy carrots. I of course, ate one straight out of the ground, muck and all. Cue many happy and appreciative noises which I’m sure raised a few eyebrows among my neighbouring allotmenteers. Oh, and another thing, my carrots are straight, very straight, and long. Obviously the 6 hours I spent sieving a tonne of soil (literally, a tonne) for the carrot bed paid off. All that hard work, that hot March day, breaking my back wheelbarrowing soil to the plot, cursing myself, sieveing for hours, raking, raking, more raking, it was totally worth it.
Of course, the carrots aren’t the only crop we’ve harvested this September but they are definitely my favourite. We’ve also had, borlotti beans, celery, red cabbage, spinach chard, peas and of course my onions, which have been drying away in the back garden for three weeks and are nearly ready to eat. I did have to rip up my ridiculous perpetual spinach and swiss chard today as they were taller than me and had bolted, and were quite frankly, a disgrace. I might plant some more for over the winter months.
September isn’t just harvest season though, there’s plenty of jobs to keep me busy in the garden. Of course there’s weeding, because, well, there’s always weeding. There’s plenty of tidying and maintenance to be done but there’s also plenty of planting. It’s time to get the garden ready for overwintering crops, winter onions, garlic, winter lettuces, spinach and of course spring cabbage. Today, I planted two blueberry plants, which are one of the things I’ve known from the start I wanted to grow. These are best planted in autumn, in acidic soil, the lower the pH the better, but around 5 is perfect. I did measure my soil pH in March and the reading was 5.5, so hopefully the bluberries will do well. It does help to aid them though, a good mulch, bark, grass cuttings, leaves, whatever you can get your hands on, and the pine needles from my christmas tree will definitely find their way to my blueberry bed.
September also sees the arrival of the brand new community room on site, it’s a lovely big room, with a fridge, microwave, tea and coffee and snacks, and of course, tables, inside and out, to take a well earned tea break when the work gets too tough. It’s a great way to meet fellow gardeners too, I have hopes of making a few friends here.
I did attempt to make the plot look a bit nicer today, I spread some bark mulch around the path near my fruit section of my plot but it took about 400 litres to cover a tiny area so it looks like it’ll be a while before I can do the whole plot. I also attempted a makeshift patio area. It’s not great. I had visions of a lovely decking area with potted plants and a table and chairs. In reality, I placed some planks of wood on the ground, thats about it, but it’s a start, I would put up a photo but I can’t bring myself to do it, it’s that bad.
September is also planning time. Get planning. It’s amazing how much a planting plan will help in the early spring.
As for carrots, if you’re not growing them, do it next year, you’ll thank me.