Way back at the end of February we seeded our first carrots of the season - several hundred feet of row which we expected to provide for this community from late June to early August. They are the most anticipated roots of the year, those early new carrots - so sweet and crunchy and fresh. They germinate slowly in the cool of winter soil and grow slowly too in the lower light of March and April. The weeds seem more adapted to these conditions and so we had to work hard to keep those carrots from being overtaken. And then the great reveal. I dug up a few carrots last week to check their progress, and was shocked and dismayed to find them riddled with carrot rust fly damage. The photographic evidence is before you. These are not edible carrots. This discovery wrecked my day and I'm bummed still!
The carrot rust fly has been a long-term unwelcome guest on our farm and most farms in this region. The fly lays its eggs in the soil near carrot family crops and the larvae feed on the roots. We typically cover our carrots with light-weight polyester row cover fabric to exclude the flys, but I honestly dislike that fabric - it is a huge hassle to work with - and so my first crop of the season goes uncovered since it tends to be minimally damaged by fly larvae (they don't seem to be as present in early spring). Somehow this was the exception year. The flies were very active. I've never seen damage this bad. Now we did dig around and find pockets of good carrots here and there. Or at least minimally damaged carrots. So I'm putting carrots in inventory in hope and faith that we'll be able to harvest enough to fulfil your carrot dreams - at least for this week. We'll see if my gamble works come Tuesday's harvest. Do you feel lucky? :)