I know this is a blog about disabled dogs, but I?couldn’t resist showing off our carrot harvest. On Sunday afternoon I was making a soup and asked Alayne to go out to the garden and get a couple of carrots for me. (The carrots, because they withstand cold so well and also get sweeter this time of year, are the only thing left in the garden.) A few minutes later, with a surprised look on her face, she returned with this handful of enormous carrots. I took the photo a short while later in front of the solarium, where our greens for the winter are now growing.
We’ve never had carrots this big before — good size, yes, but not like this. We didn’t do anything noticeably different this year, but we had continued to improve the soil in the raised beds where we grow them. No chemicals or artificial fertilizers, just some bedding pack (manure/hay) worked into the soil the previous fall, a little wood ash, and that’s about it. Some sources say that carrots can get too big and then become?”woody,” but ours tasted delicious at this size. (We sampled one right after taking the photo!)
The challenge now is finding enough storage containers — we have five raised beds full of carrots! We store them in damp sawdust in Rubbermaid tubs in the root cellar, and they keep until early the next summer.
We grow almost everything in raised beds now, by the way. With too many heavy downpours and wash-outs, particularly early in the growing season when plants are young and small and vulnerable, we had some frustrating early years here trying to grow crops in the ground. In June this year, for example, we had almost nine inches of rain, more than twice normal — which would have meant losing a lot of crops and having to replant. But with the raised beds (8′ x 4′ feet and 12″ deep; 2.4 m x 1.2 m and 30 cm), we lost nothing because they drained so well. This past spring we still put half the potato crop in the ground, the other half in raised beds, but’the difference in quality was such that we will plant all the potatoes in raised beds next year.
Okay, I realized we really should have a?dog fix to start the week. I took this next photo on Saturday afternoon of the “three amigos,” as we call them — Sunny on the left (he with the deformed?front leg), blind Taco, and his buddy Tanner. On a cold, blustery weekend, they were happy to be bedded down, toasty and warm, in the living room:
We actually had snow Saturday night, and woke up to an inch or so Sunday morning. Most of it has now melted, though it was a brisk 20? (-6? C) this morning. Here’s what the mountains looked like a few minutes ago:
We are not ready for winter yet — and neither are the dogs!
Diane Borden, Chehalis, WA says
Damp Sawdust, huh, and they don’t mold. Well, the dampness here in WA, or the lack of a root cellar, not sure that would work. But I do love the old preservation methods. I’d be canning or freezing, but that’s a lot of work for you two, with all the other stuff you do.
Raised beds are the best. We built some with cinder blocks this year, and filled it with what we termed “Country” dirt. We had a horse name Country (gone for about a year now, bless his 32 yr old soul), and a manure pile with parts that were at least 10 years old. We just started digging and found the well composted stuff. The results were wonderful, we had a bumper crop of everything! Will add some wood stove ash next year, good idea.
AND it solved the problems of soggy clay soil, too wet to rototille in spring most years and lots of weeds. They are covered with black plastic weed barrier now, and will be ready early spring for the first crop. Don’t know why I didn’t do this 12 years ago when we started vegetable gardening.
Diane Borden, Chehalis, WA says
Oh, and please tell the three amigos that they are handsome as ever!
Barb Ribinski says
Wow, those are some HUGE carrots. It must be nice to have fresh produce all year round. You are really lucky. And the three amigos photo is really cute. Sunny still doesn’t seem to smile, but I’m sure he’s happy. And Taco seems to have fit in very well with everyone. A happy threesome they are for sure.
debbie bond says
I just love how RDF eats mostly off their own land and has such respect for mother Earth…and of course the dogs that call RDF home. I learn so much from reading your posts and it always warms my heart to know there are good people like you in this world.
Holy Carrots, BatMan!! The picture of the three amigos is adorable!!
Well done-trying out no dig lasagne beds here in France. Will update you. By the way the blind pony and her foal are doing really well- thanks again.
Tonya Allen says
My goodness, those are some BIG carrots! I bet the horses will enjoy a few too. The three amigos look very cozy. Seems like winter is coming a little early this year, although I still have hopes that there will be one more warm spell…
Shirley and James says
Ditto HUGE carrots. Alayne is a timeless beauty and the dogs on the beds look so comfy and happy.
Behold the only carrots which double as blackjacks!
Three Amigos making a Taco Sandwich! They are adorable, and Alayne looks great holding the bionic carrots….. 🙂
Wow to the carrots. Is that a cold frame the raised beds are inside of? I have been put off growing vegetables where I live because there are masses of foxes roaming around, even though I am in an urban area in London. Lots of neighbours have had their gardens destroyed by the little predators.
Steve Smith says
Catherine, we grow the carrots in raised beds outdoors. What you see in the photo behind Alayne is the solarium, which is attached to the dog wing of the house. In the solarium there are “raised beds” in effect, but more like elevated planter boxes because they are on legs, not resting on the ground or on earth. This is where we grow our salad greens.
patty c says
Gorgeous photo, it makes me miss being ‘up north’ this time of year. Still 80s down here in FL, but a brisk 60 degrees at night, lol. Great job with the crops!
Leila King says
Love the huge carrots! And of course the three Amigos. I want to scoop them all up and give them one big hug!
Thanks for your reply, Steve. Do you grow any kale in the beds?
I need to enlist the help of someone to build a solarium. Enjoy your carrots. An easy salad recipe is grated carrots, chopped apples and walnuts, with dressing, Mayo or whatever you like.
Steve Smith says
Yes, we do grow kale.
Mick Z says
Huge carrots and not woody! Lucky! Ours are almost that big and with the kale as well the last of the garden. The horses love the carrots and can see me harvesting them and are delighted to partake!
Snow! Nothing in Minnesota yet as we are still unseasonably warm.
Thanks for the tip on storing the carrots. I will give that a try!