Sunday, 14 September 2014

Carrot Time!

Here we go again for another season! Todays job is to plant the carrot seeds straight into the garden bed.

There are a couple of things I have discovered about starting carrots from seed …
1) the ants L.O.V.E. carrots seeds and will steal them as soon as you put them on the ground and
2) little birds love newly sprouted carrot seeds/seedlings and quite happily will pull out as many as they can stuff into their fat bellies!
I'll post the photos of how I plant them once I pull my finger out and go outside, I need to stop mucking around on the computer and checking facebook etc .. you know how it is ... anyhoo, I have develop a way of planting the tiny carrot seeds in such a way that makes them easier to germinate so will make sure I take my camera and I might even do a video of it as well (which I will post in a later blog update if I don't look too much like a wally on it)

I will probably end up planting all of the seeds because I love carrots and use lots of them in cooking such as stews, baked, salads, carrot cake (drool). I do tend to harvest the carrots all at the same time even though they are not all ready at the same time and the reason is because I like to harvest and then blanch as many as I can and place them in the freezer for use later through the winter. I dont mind that some are big and some are small. If the carrots are left too long in the ground they can go woody and i much prefer it when they are tender.

I like to grow Topweight because they grow well in my cold climate conditions. Top weight is an old variety of carrot and tends to be resistant to disease. Plus they are a nice size carrot. I’m not going to bother growing the baby ones this year even though they are in the photo, I bought them by mistake.
In Cold Climates carrots can be planted from Sept to Feb, In Temperate climates from July to Mar and in Tropical & Sub Tropical climates from Feb to Nov (I’m quoting from Yates Garden Guide on when is the best time to plant carrots)

below are some photos from previous years ...


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DONE! Whoohoo carrot seeds are planted … yup 4 packets of seeds all in at once … yes, yes ,yes , I know, I know, could have done successive plantings blah, blah, blah  but I don’t want to because that’s not how I like to do it … Maybe I’m a little bit  … well you know  … odd … but who cares not me.

The reason I plant all of them at once is because I then like to harvest them all at once even if some of them are small doesn’t matter. I use all shapes and sizes plus I prefer the carrots to be on the tender side rather than leaving them in the ground … they can go woody if you’re not careful

Once they are ready for harvest I pick a nice day and get into it early and just dig those suckers up (last year 80 kilo)  …. Actually the soil here is real nice so the carrots pull straight out of the ground without much effort at all. Once harvested I top & tail them (remove the leavers and tip of the root) and drop them into a large container of water (just fill up the wheel burrow is the easiest way to do it)

Once the carrots are washed I take them inside the house, put on a couple of saucepans of boiling water, peel & slice and then blanch the carrots in batches for 3 minutes (at a rolling boil) then plunge straight into ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Let drain and then package into freezer bags and pop into the freezer …  VOLA! .. easy all done in one day …. A very long day but well worth the effort because then I have carrots ready to use in stews or steamed etc through the winter months when the garden beds are empty and resting. I don’t blanch all of them and do keep a couple of kilo fresh in the fridge which we use in our morning juice of apple, carrot & celery

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