Four-Day Carrot Failure
A Parsnip Bed Update

Dateline: 29 July 2015

Not everything I plant in my garden is a success!

After last year’s successful Four-Day Carrots gardening experiment, I decided to repeat the process this year. But instead of getting the carrot bed planted on July 6th, it was July 11 before I got around to making the tri-plantings. And since I didn’t have any vermiculite to put over the pinches of planted seed, I used peat moss. Then, I got sidetracked with the demands of life and forgot to lift the shade discs until nine days after planting!

By then, the seedlings had emerged and grown long and leggy, trying to get to sunlight from under the shade discs. To make matters worse, instead of raising the shade discs for a day or two over the newly-emerged seedlings, I completely removed them. The hot summer sun baked the seedlings and most of them died, as you can see in the picture above.

It was a powerfully discouraging outcome, and I set to making it right ASAP.

I re-cultivated each tri-planting, replanted some seeds, and covered with fine vermiculite (the best thing I know of to cover a planted seed with). At four days, I checked under the shade discs and there were no seedlings showing. The next morning (July 26), they were showing. Five-Day carrots. Good enough. I raised the shade discs and this is what the bed looked like as of last night.

So I’m back on track with the carrots, and need to get another bed started. 

The two tri-planted beds of carrots from last year provided us with a steady supply of carrots for many months. In fact, believe it or not, one year after planting, we still had a few carrots in the fridge, and they were still perfectly good.

In case you're wondering, they are the Bolero variety. Excellent storage carrots!


In other garden news, you may recall my 11-Day Parsnips post from May of this year.  I was pretty excited to have parsnip seedlings emerge only 11 days after planting under shade discs. Then I showed My Parsnip Bed in June.  The parsnips were off to a great start. Well, here is the same bed now, in July...

Herrick's parsnip bed in July
(Kennebeck potatoes to the left)


vdeal said...

Herrick, the parsnips look great. I've got to get some late carrots started. Now, how are your potatoes still looking so good? I planted a bed of Dark Red Norlands and a bed of Green Mountains. The Norlands have browned and dried up and the Green Mts. are starting to show signs of going down. Maybe you planted a bit later. I still expect to have a good potato harvest but my plants usually die down by August at the latest - maybe that's normal.

vdeal said...

Oh, and a second question. Since you're now using row covers and fabric in the paths I'm wondering if you take it up in the winter or leave it in place.

Elizabeth L. Johnson said...

Herrick, I think that your idea of using fine vermiculite to cover seeds when sowing is probably what I lacked when sowing my mangle beet seed. There were few that came up; and that after 3 sowings! Your talk about carrots has reminded me that I need to sow more right now. I'll use vermiculite and your "covers" also, in our hundred degree temperatures here in northern California. I've never used covers before, thus the reason few of previous carrots haven't come up either! Thanks for all the help! By-the-way, did you sow mangle beets? If so, how successful have they been?

Everett R Littlefield said...

Hi Herrrick, Sometimes reading your posts my my envy overcomes me and I rant to myself, "cause no one else will listen, about your successes, where I just have failures! So todays post gave me a little vindication for a minute or two before sheepishness overcame me!

I never got my discs made last winter so I had to do with a long piece of cedar clapboard sitting on top of the trench till they poked out their heads and then raised it up on pieces of 2x4 set on edge till they out grew that arrangement and then they were on their own. I also used Bolero from Johnnys Seed and got two fairly filled in 20' rows. Then one night I forgot to put up the gate at the entrance to the Greenhouse and a four footed , white-tailed destroyer of plants gained entrance and had about a quarter of the carrots and a lot of leaves off my tomatoes, and assorted spinach and basil!HE HAS SINCE GONE TO DEER HEAVEN!!
I WILL get a bunch of the shade discs made this winter.
Been reading a blog by folks named Frank and Fern from Okla. and they appear to be right in tune with yours and my ideas about a lot of things. I expect you have already been reading them.

SO! ENOUGH ALREADY!!! Best regards, Everett

buddeshepherd said...

Anyone comment on your previous post yet? I had a lot to say but I have a hard time with my iPhone and lost it all.

Diana R.Smith said...

Nice to see your update. I like that you include your failures! We have taken to starting parsnips in flats in our greenhouse. Do the same with beets. Just sown in a flat. My parsnips are thigh high and 2" around in the test one I pulled. Done like this I can plant when I'll be there to tend the plants.

We tried your carrot method and it works great...did a test patch sown with radishes and the radishes were a success! We like the variety Yaya. Sowing in the 105 heat index temps we've had is a waste of time.

Have been experimenting with turnips and rutabagas, too. All good storage crops. Will store some in the pails underground for a test. The problem with storage here in Mo is it doesn't get even cool until Nov.

Herrick Kimball said...

My Kennebecks are still green but the Yukon Gold next to them (not in the picture) have died down. The plastic (fabric) in the walkways, lapped up onto the hills did a remarkable job of keeping weeds down. I left fabric/plastic in the garden last winter and will probably do so again this year.

You are growing in a climate much different from mine. It is not overly dry here and only this week has it been noticeably summer-hot. It typically starts to cool off here in August. Cooler nights and still warm days. I grew mangle beets years ago and blogged about it. I saved some that I grew to replant for seed the next year but the beets just died when I replanted them. :-(

I have more failures in my garden than I care to think about. Try the shade discs on a small scale first. Frank & Fern have a great blog. They are listed on my sidebar. I received the e-mail you recently sent me. Thank you.

I had a few comments to the Homo-Tyranny blog at the end of the pension crisis blog post. And I received some e-mails. Sorry you lost your comments. That's discouraging. If someone wants to contact me with any comments by e-mail, feel free to do so:

Glad to hear the carrot germinating idea worked for you! I also have turnips and rutabaga planted this year, both for the first time.