Farm Happenings at Potomac Vegetable Farms
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Autumn Week 7: Carrots

Posted on October 28th, 2020 by Hana Newcomb

A new Farm Notes is online: A Day In Our Life On and Off The Farm

Carrots, the tops peeking out of the groundI always say that CARROTS are the true test of a farmer. They are never to be taken for granted. There are two crops--one in spring and one in fall. Carrots don't do well in the heat of summer. So we plant them at the first opportunity in spring. This year it was March 9, unusually early. Of course after that it got very cold for a long time, so the carrots grew slowly, but at least they germinated. We would have had an excellent crop except that we left them in the ground too long and most of them split and turned inside out. Such a disappointment. We were especially sad because we kept them so clean with our new tractor and plenty of hand weeding. The plants were gorgeous!

We planted the first fall carrots in Loudoun on July 9. We put the sprinklers out immediately and started watering. Still, the germination was spotty and the carrots were few and far between. On July 14, we tried again with our new tractor to see if a different seeder would do better. It did, but it's hard to say why. On July 30, we planted in Vienna, putting our eggs in all our baskets. And then on August 12 in Loudoun, we made our biggest planting of 9 beds. It feels really important to have carrots at the end of the fall and through the winter and so we keep trying to get them to germinate. Carrot seeds hate extreme heat so it was a challenge.

In late August, we finished weeding the first beds.

And now it is the end of October and we have carrots! They are huge. Other farmers are finding that their carrots are huge too, and there must be a reason that all the carrots in the land are almost as big as an ear of corn. Temperatures and conditions in September and October were easy, not too cold, not too hot, with plenty of rain. Carrot weather.

Never take a carrot for granted.

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