Try to grow a type of carrot that is suitable for your soil type. The short fat Danvers grow really well in heavy soils, but the long thin kind like Imperator are a better choice for sandy soil types. Carrot flavor is determined by the variety not by your soil. Plant as soon as the ground can be worked, but remember a severe frost can damage germinated carrots. Work in a good supply of organic material. Carrots don't need a rich soil but they need a soft soil. Crusted soil can suppress tiny carrot seedlings, but too much nitrogen can cause hairy roots. You can make several successive plantings to keep the supply coming all summer. Carrot seeds are so tiny it is easy to over plant. I use dry used coffee grounds to mix with my carrot seeds. But sand would work quite nicely. Cover with 1/4 inch of soil-never more than 1/2 inch. But be prepared to wait, germination is very slow, a month is not unusual in cold soils. Keep the soil moist and keep the weeds out. When the seeds sprout, thin to about 1 inch apart. When the roots are about a half inch thick, thin to two inches between carrots. Mulching between the seedlings with straw, grass clippings or pine needles will keep out weeds and keep the soil moisture even.

Carrots grow well with tomatoes and lettuce, but really hate being planted with dill. If you live in a mild climate you can store your carrots by leaving them in the ground. If your weather is extremely rainy and wet, or the soil freezes, then consider storing the carrots in a root cellar in damp sand or sawdust. Carrots and apples should be stored as far apart as possible as the carrots will pick up a bad flavor from the apples. Carrots can be pressure canned or dehydrated. I just slice about 1/3 inch thick, spread them out and dry them until they are hard. We dehydrated some last year and when we used them in a soup they tasted very good. Year old carrots!


If your looking for something different for your garden, try Egyptian onions. Some call them topset onions or walking onions or multiplying onions. They form little onions bulbs on the top of their stalk and will take root when they get too heavy and fall over. You can pick the aerial bulbs and pickle them or add them to recipes that benefit from a strong onion flavor. The underground white parts are edible too. You can cut the green tops and dice up for chives. Fall is a good time to plant these.  


Two level planting

Vegetables which occupy different soil levels often make good companions. Like asparagus with parsley and tomatoes, beets with kohlrabi or lettuce, carrots with peas. A lot of different combinations are possible. This will enable you to grow more food in less space. You can also interplant the slow growing plants with some that will grow quickly and be out of the way when the others need the space. Like planting lettuce between rows of cabbage or broccoli. If you interplant early beets with late potatoes, the shade provided by the potatoes will keep your beets tender when the weather turns hot.

Plant melons between your onions rows and by the time the onions are harvested the melons will be taking over. The onions will protect the melons from insects while the vines are growing.


If cutworms are a problem in your area. Make little collars out of cardboard, or use toilet paper rolls. Push them down in the soil around new seedlings. When my husband teased me about growing toilet paper rolls, I collected a number of the small plastic soda pop bottles. Cut the top and bottoms off and you have a clear plastic re-usable cut worm collar.


If Mexican bean beetles are a problem try floating row covers over the bean patch. You can also try attracting toads to the garden by providing shade, moisture and a toad abode- just put an old clay pot sideways in the soil. Toads love to eat Mexican bean beetles!


If the birds are eating your strawberries before you can get to them. Try providing a bird bath nearby. They may be eating your berries for their moisture content.


Wild Edibles

Purslane is a very common weed and seems to be all over the country. It is actually a very nutritious plant. It is a good source of beta-carotene, and vitamin E. Purslane also contains some antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids which are good for your heart. Try some in a salad.



"The kiss of the sun for pardon, The song of the bird for mirth, One is nearer God's heart in a garden , Than any place else on Earth"




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