A harvest of four carrots

I was horrified last week when one of the other plotters at the allotments told me the growing season is almost over. We really haven’t got very much food from our plot. Today I harvested our carrots. All four of them πŸ™‚

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You may be wondering why we only got four carrots and I’m embarrassed to admit this but it’s because I got a little carried away with the weeding not long after sowing the seeds. It reminds me of the time I accidentally ordered a single carrot from online shopping.

Rule number 1 of allotment gardening: don’t weed out the legitimate vegetable seedlings.Β 

I planted about a dozen kale seedlings a few weeks ago and all but one has completely vanished. I put them under bird netting so I can’t blame the birds. I suspect it was snails or slugs.

Rule number 2 of allotment gardening: don’t plant kale seedlings out until they’re larger than 5cm high.

Rule number 3 of allotment gardening: birds eat kale.

I wish I had planted more broccoli because that has been doing well and we’re enjoying eating it. The kids like it too and eat it raw.

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I highly recommend the no dig method of gardening. I had a small patch of grass that I covered over with cardboard a couple of months ago. I started piling weeds on top, partly to stop the cardboard blowing away and also because my compost bin was full. Today I shoved the pile to one side to find a lovely patch of soil, without any weeds or grass, and full of small organisms. Here it is in this next photo: the square of dark soil is the earth that I uncovered when I removed the pile of cardboard and weeds. Previously it was just grass.

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The growing season may be over for some but I’m going to continue through the winter. My favourite crops are green leafy vegetables and these can be grown all year round. I also sowed some parsnips today. I’m told they won’t grow because it’s too late in the season but I’m going to try anyway. If it doesn’t work I’ll know for next year.

12 thoughts on “A harvest of four carrots

  1. The growing season may be over for some but I’m going to continue through the winter.

    You can plant Japanese Onions (either as seeds NOW, or as sets in October). These are just like spring grown onions but over-winter and are ready in June the following year.

    September is a good time to plant Garlic, I’ve always bought mine from seed merchants but you can, apparently, plant supermarket bulbs. Just break the bulb up into cloves and plant each one, about 10cm apart.

    Broad Beans can be planted in autumn.

    Caveat: all this is based on experience in balmy East Anglia, you presumably get harder more persistent frosts, so your local plotter may be more right than me.

    P.S. You’ve grown 4 more carrots than me …

    P.P.S Pedantic I know but I think you “sow” seeds and “sew” buttons

    1. Thank you! I’ve fixed the sew πŸ™‚ I’ve had more experience sewing than sowing but hopefully that will change with another season at the allotment.

      I’ve got some garlic bulbs on order from Mr Fothergills so I’m pleased to hear they should do well. I’ve also got some fleece to help the more tender plants through the winter.

      1. Another thing you might consider is soft fruit; Raspberries are pretty easy. If so, you should plant them in Autumn and should get a reasonable crop next summer – they will get better year-on-year and small hands will enjoy picking them ! (so you might choose a variety that fruits in the Summer Holidays πŸ™‚ ). You will need to cut back old shoots after fruiting, remove shoots that have run away from your patch and feed occasionally. That sounds like more work than it really is.

        If other plotters have established raspberry canes, you can probably beg some suckers from them, since they will be digging them up. I had summer fruiting ones in my back garden and simply transferred them to the allotment by digging up some small suckers and re-planting them in the allotment.

        RHS has a good advice page on them

  2. Not surprised to hear the carrots were super-delicious! Following Phil’s suggestions and worries about the frozen North, garlic should over-winter fine and the Japanese ‘clumping’ onions are as tough as old boots and will do well. I am not so sure about sowing the broad beans now, but you can start them off in the greenhouse really early next year and plant out in say late March if you want – they will take a bit of frost. That green mesh type of cloche you have gives good winter protection and will stand up to the winds and wet better than fleece, but needs to be well anchored down if it is not to blow away. As to complaining about only getting four carrots in your first sowing – well it took me four totally unsuccessful years to get any to germinate. I was going to suggest you named them after d’Artagnan and the Three Musketeers, but as they have already been chomped it’s all a bit late. I hope you shared them around! Good to know you are enjoying the allotment. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Norman! The carrots were delicious so I will definitely plant a heap of them next year and hopefully increase my harvest from four. I am enjoying the allotment, thanks. It’s very satisfying to grow your own food.

  3. I have so many memories of growing carrots when I was little – racing out of the house before dinner to pick a carrot to eat, and learning very quickly that the biggest stalks don’t always mean the biggest carrots πŸ™‚

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