The first planting of carrots actually looked good from the start, and have been ready to use for three weeks or so (or earlier if I wanted baby carrots.) And so when the second planting, shown below, was coming along, the foliage looked so nice that I hadn’t really bothered to check them up close. Rather like the amount of attention a second child gets compared to the first. But I had neglected to mix in radish seeds with the second sowing, so they ended up being too crowded. Reluctantly, I decided to thin. I don’t like to thin. It seems like such a waste of seed, of the growing time and care already given.
Yes, I know I COULD turn the green tops into a pesto, but I much prefer basil pesto. I could have chopped the entire plants and made a soup, but when it’s as hot as it has been, who wants soup? I procrastinated for a few days, and when there was rain in the forecast, I prepared an area in a bed that has nice, loose soil. Remember several weeks ago, when I was so excited because we had rain? Think far back (or revisit the “A Welcome Rain” post) because that the time period we’re talking about here. It was actually May 29!
I waited until the rain came, because I wanted that soil to be really muddy soft. And as soon as the storm passed, I was out there gently slipping those babies out of their crowded situation. Just look at that handful of beautiful, tiny (and some not quite so tiny) carrots.
I’d already dug a trench, choosing a spot where peas had just come out. You can see the pile of vines at the top. It’s the potager’s creed to replace one crop with another as quickly as possible, usually within minutes! Spacing the carrots out and pulling soil over them took only seconds. They barely knew they were out of the ground!
A quick sprinkle with the watering can to settle the soil gently around them,and they looked quite happy.
A canopy of my little green harvest baskets to give them some shade and protection from the wind for a few days, and I had high hopes that they would become “planting number three.”
I wish I could report that those babies really did thrive from the get-go, but apparently they’d lost more “hair” roots than I’d thought, and they did indeed go through a rather rougher period of transplant shock then I’d expected. Of course, the skyrocketing temperatures since that moving day has not helped at all. The baskets have had to remain, except at night when I hoped the bit of dew that occasionally occurs, and the kiss of the moon might help. It has been a slower and longer process than I’d expected. There was some loss of leaf, and times that I was sure this post would take a different turn, but I can now report that it was definitely worth the effort.
There are 33 little, evenly spaced carrots standing in a row and beginning to perk up and grow. 33 little carrots that more than likely would have been tossed into the compost pile. 33 little carrots that will become nice, husky carrots…and that’s a really good thing, because so far succession planting #4 is not germinating! Probably it’s the heat, because there are three varieties, so I doubt it’s the seed. Notice how the tomato at the bottom, and the leeks far left have grown. The row of “Little Gem” lettuce needs to be used, and a row of rutabaga has already been sown in the center! No wasted space in the potager!
So, what could have been a waste is instead a crop. All it took was a bit of preparation, a bit of faith, and a lot of PATIENCE! In past times, as soon as some of those babies started looking sad I more than likely would have pulled them out and replanted with something else. But, I am working on being more patient, and this time it’s paying off! Now, if it would only rain!