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Forked carrots

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Forked carrots

Post  GardenGroupie on 9/3/2014, 9:29 am

I used drip irrigation this year to water my carrots and got mixed results. The carrots closer to the drip line are smaller, but straight. The carrots in the middle of the drip lines are forked and stumped - mutants... I saw an article that suggests overhead watering is better for carrots and greens because the drip doesn't seem to soak evenly. 

I read another article which suggests when carrots seedlings are 1/2 to 3/4" high, stop watering for a few weeks so the carrot root, the size of a sewing needle, will lengthen. That the shape of the carrot is determined in that stage of the growth. I liken it to stressing out tomato plants to encourage healthy root development. I'm conducting an experiment in one of my Fall squares. The article (can't find it now) advised to wait as long as possible until the leaves start to wilt, then slowly start to water again instead of giving it a jolt. 

Anyone heard of or tried this method?

Thanks,
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Re: Forked carrots

Post  greatgranny on 9/3/2014, 3:04 pm

@GardenGroupie wrote:I used drip irrigation this year to water my carrots and got mixed results. The carrots closer to the drip line are smaller, but straight. The carrots in the middle of the drip lines are forked and stumped - mutants... I saw an article that suggests overhead watering is better for carrots and greens because the drip doesn't seem to soak evenly. 

I read another article which suggests when carrots seedlings are 1/2 to 3/4" high, stop watering for a few weeks so the carrot root, the size of a sewing needle, will lengthen. That the shape of the carrot is determined in that stage of the growth. I liken it to stressing out tomato plants to encourage healthy root development. I'm conducting an experiment in one of my Fall squares. The article (can't find it now) advised to wait as long as possible until the leaves start to wilt, then slowly start to water again instead of giving it a jolt. 

Anyone heard of or tried this method?

Thanks,
GardenGroupie
I am tending to agree with the article that you shared.  Last year was a very dry year and my carrots were huge - even the baby carrots got larger than normal.  This year is a very wet year and the carrots are "so so".  The baby carrots are smaller than normal and the danvers are okay. 

I recall my Mom telling me that the root crops go looking for moisture and that's why they are so good during a dry year. She even said she didn't like a wet year for potatoes.

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Re: Forked carrots

Post  GardenGroupie on 9/3/2014, 3:56 pm

Thanks greatgranny. It makes sense, but it's confusing because most of what I've read about growing carrots advise to water regularly. 

What I also discovered this year is that I have a problem with my soil. It's crusts pretty fast and I've learned to mulch, but whenever it rains, sand and pebbles raise to the top of the bed. When my seedlings come up, it sometimes looks like a mini irruption as slices of soil break for the seed. I guess with soil like that perhaps I'm lucky to see a seedling. 

In any case, I think there are perhaps too many pebbles and small stones that might be contributing to the stumped carrots. 

I must have the gardening bug as I'm already thinking about next year's garden.

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Re: Forked carrots

Post  greatgranny on 9/3/2014, 7:18 pm

@GardenGroupie wrote:

What I also discovered this year is that I have a problem with my soil. It's crusts pretty fast and I've learned to mulch, but whenever it rains, sand and pebbles raise to the top of the bed. When my seedlings come up, it sometimes looks like a mini irruption as slices of soil break for the seed. I guess with soil like that perhaps I'm lucky to see a seedling. 

In any case, I think there are perhaps too many pebbles and small stones that might be contributing to the stumped carrots. 

How did pebbles and small stones get into the MM?  I sometimes get a few from when I am turning the compost but when I sift I throw them away.  Not saying that I get all of them.

When my MM crusts after a rain I carefully take my fingers and fluff the part that will not disturb the plants. Eventually the plants are so huge that the crust doesn't form.

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Re: Forked carrots

Post  GardenGroupie on 9/3/2014, 9:30 pm

@greatgranny wrote:
@GardenGroupie wrote:

What I also discovered this year is that I have a problem with my soil. It's crusts pretty fast and I've learned to mulch, but whenever it rains, sand and pebbles raise to the top of the bed. When my seedlings come up, it sometimes looks like a mini irruption as slices of soil break for the seed. I guess with soil like that perhaps I'm lucky to see a seedling. 

In any case, I think there are perhaps too many pebbles and small stones that might be contributing to the stumped carrots. 

How did pebbles and small stones get into the MM?  I sometimes get a few from when I am turning the compost but when I sift I throw them away.  Not saying that I get all of them.

When my MM crusts after a rain I carefully take my fingers and fluff the part that will not disturb the plants.  Eventually the plants are so huge that the crust doesn't form.  

Well...I started a few raised beds a few years ago and had an organic farmer deliver a soil compost mix that I used to build the the beds. That was before I learned about SFG. I set up my squares and follow the plant numbers, and each year I'll take out some soil and add Mel's ingredients, so there's that. Next year I might be able to build new beds and start from scratch. Until then I've got pebbles. 

When the seedlings get a little bigger, I'll get brave and break it up.

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Re: Forked carrots

Post  plantoid on 9/3/2014, 9:55 pm

Perhaps add some peat & a  little well mixed in  home made compost to the beds turn it in then rake it to a fine tilth , then use a garden sieve ,say 1/4 " mesh and take out the stones in the top 2" . The peat will help form an insulating layer above damp earth and provide a n easy route for moisture to go down into the soil .

Too much compost will usually see you get forked roots because of there being far too much nitrogen available from the compost .
Carrots like most root crops ( save for potatoes )  grow better on a bed that has not been fed compost for a year or slightly less.

Carrots can be a bit awkward as they often take 21 days or more to show .


 One solution is to make the bed up as mentioned , use a line & an inch thick long  wooden peg to make carrot sowing holes ( it's called station sowing & is bril for bad ground ).
Make them  nine inches deep , fill each hole with fine sand , use a pencil tip make a 1/2 " hole inthe middle of the sand ,slip two seeds in each 1/2 " indentation in the sand filled hole .
Sprinkle sand and clean dry wood ash back over .  The ash will deter lots of pests and also help bring nutrients into the sand
 
Water any way you can but do it of an evening just before sunset  so the water has a chance to permeate deep down via the easy sand route before the next days hot blast . . Don't wash the seeds out the sand , drippers are OK on an evening so long as they do actually put a couple of cupsful by each station you sow .. maybe re arrange the drippers or put elevated fine misting spray heads on them instead

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Re: Forked carrots

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/3/2014, 10:35 pm

Somebody here linked to a market gardener's blog a few days back that had entries on their experiments covering carrot sowings with burlap and keeping the burlap moist. They found it gave them extremely high germination, and it became their standard practice. I think I'll eventually try something like that to see if I can make at least one part of the seemingly difficult process of growing carrots easier.

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Re: Forked carrots

Post  GardenGroupie on 9/4/2014, 9:30 am

@plantoid wrote:Perhaps add some peat & a  little well mixed in  home made compost to the beds turn it in then rake it to a fine tilth , then use a garden sieve ,say 1/4 " mesh and take out the stones in the top 2" . The peat will help form an insulating layer above damp earth and provide a n easy route for moisture to go down into the soil .

Too much compost will usually see you get forked roots because of there being far too much nitrogen available from the compost .
Carrots like most root crops ( save for potatoes )  grow better on a bed that has not been fed compost for a year or slightly less.

Carrots can be a bit awkward as they often take 21 days or more to show .


 One solution is to make the bed up as mentioned , use a line & an inch thick long  wooden peg to make carrot sowing holes ( it's called station sowing & is bril for bad ground ).
Make them  nine inches deep , fill each hole with fine sand , use a pencil tip make a 1/2 " hole inthe middle of the sand ,slip two seeds in each 1/2 " indentation in the sand filled hole .
Sprinkle sand and clean dry wood ash back over .  The ash will deter lots of pests and also help bring nutrients into the sand
 
Water any way you can but do it of an evening just before sunset  so the water has a chance to permeate deep down via the easy sand route before the next days hot blast . . Don't wash the seeds out the sand , drippers are OK on an evening so long as they do actually put a couple of cupsful by each station you sow .. maybe re arrange the drippers or put elevated fine misting spray heads on them instead

Thanks Plantoid, that's a lot of good information that I'll consider when planning my beds next year. I'm hoping to start from scratch, but if that's not possible, I'll be getting a sifter.

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Re: Forked carrots

Post  GardenGroupie on 9/4/2014, 9:34 am

@Marc Iverson wrote:Somebody here linked to a market gardener's blog a few days back that had entries on their experiments covering carrot sowings with burlap and keeping the burlap moist.  They found it gave them extremely high germination, and it became their standard practice.  I think I'll eventually try something like that to see if I can make at least one part of the seemingly difficult process of growing carrots easier.

Hi Marc, yes I did see that and I'll have to go back and read it again. 

Hate to say it, but I'm glad I'm not the only one struggling with carrots. I read articles that suggest they are so easy to grow, but they fail to mention that the easy part comes when the soil and water conditions are near perfect. They are fussy.

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Re: Forked carrots

Post  plantoid on 9/6/2014, 5:08 pm

Now that damp burlap idea makes a lot of sense for I've thought more than once that if the heat and moisture were for viable seed correct all seeds should germinate .

I've had a dismal carrot year with only tow squares even bothering to germinate out of six sown ..our weather over the sow to germination period has been the pants far too  cold for days &  too wet  in short bursts


 Marc can you drop me the details via Pm or on this thread please I'd like to read it .

Thanks
 Dave

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Re: Forked carrots

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/6/2014, 6:39 pm

Dave, here's a link to one in their series of growing carrots with burlap. There are something like a half dozen that I found, charting their progress with the method.

http://tinyfarmblog.com/carrots-burlap-rules/

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Re: Forked carrots

Post  CapeCoddess on 9/6/2014, 7:19 pm

I started using pine needles over my planted carrot seeds this year to stop them from washing away when watering or raining.  I've never had such great germination & growth.  Now, I don't know if it has anything to do with the needles but I won't plant without them ever again.  It also works with lettuce.
okay

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Re: Forked carrots

Post  boffer on 9/8/2014, 11:53 pm

The World Carrot Museum offers some growing suggestions:

http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/cultivation2.html

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Re: Forked carrots

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/9/2014, 2:50 am

They refer in that site to excess nitrogen causing "sappy" growth. What is that?

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Re: Forked carrots

Post  martha on 9/9/2014, 11:42 am

This is all I know about forked carrots…



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Re: Forked carrots

Post  greatgranny on 9/9/2014, 2:18 pm

@boffer wrote:The World Carrot Museum offers some growing suggestions:

http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/cultivation2.html
Thanks for posting this. Such good info.

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Re: Forked carrots

Post  boffer on 9/9/2014, 2:34 pm

You're welcome.  Who would've thought there was such a thing as a carrot museum?!  Did you see the picture of the world's longest carrot, at about 20 feet?  Wow!

@Marc Iverson wrote:They refer in that site to excess nitrogen causing "sappy" growth. What is that?

Goggle wasn't much help when I entered 'sappy carrot'.  The best that I can extrapolate is that it means mushy.  Maybe plantoid can translate British English for us.  Or, as he has previously called it, 'real English' ! Razz

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Re: Forked carrots

Post  greatgranny on 9/9/2014, 2:37 pm

@boffer wrote:
Goggle wasn't much help when I entered 'sappy carrot'.  The best that I can extrapolate is that it means mushy.  Maybe plantoid can translate British English for us.  Or, as he has previously called it, 'real English' ! Razz

lol!

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Re: Forked carrots

Post  Windmere on 9/9/2014, 3:25 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:I started using pine needles over my planted carrot seeds this year to stop them from washing away when watering or raining.  I've never had such great germination & growth.  Now, I don't know if it has anything to do with the needles but I won't plant without them ever again.  It also works with lettuce.
okay

CC
Very interesting CC.  I have an abundance of pine needles.  I think I will try this.  My daughter has just put in her order for 40 carrots.  Hopefully I will get results as good as last year (see my user icon).

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Re: Forked carrots

Post  brainchasm on 9/9/2014, 5:24 pm

When I grew carrots this Spring, they were put into a compost-exhausted medium (I forgot to amend after I pulled the other plants).

Watering was pretty consistent.  The carrots looked good, but were smallish.

@GardenGroupie - I must have dropped some carrot seeds when I was planting, as I had one come up outside the bed...in gravel...in alkali clay dust/soil with no compost or anything useful in it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caliche), in the Las Vegas heat!  Still made a carrot!  Was edible, but tasted a bit like dirt...

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Re: Forked carrots

Post  plantoid on 9/9/2014, 8:35 pm

Ooooh , err , ohehooer .. Shocked

 " Sappy carrot " that beats me , unless of course tit's a typo and should have read " Snappy carrot "

ie
One that's thin and brittle ..it other  words it breaks off easily if pulled out of heavy soil .

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Re: Forked carrots

Post  greatgranny on 9/9/2014, 9:04 pm

@plantoid wrote:Ooooh , err , ohehooer .. Shocked

 " Sappy carrot " that beats me , unless of course tit's a typo and should have read " Snappy carrot "

ie
One that's thin and brittle ..it other  words it breaks off easily if pulled out of heavy soil .

I knew we could count on you.  I had some do just that.  Thin, brittle and yes, they broke off even in MM.  This is the first year that I have had carrots do that.  They were the "baby carrots" that usually do quite well.  Time to test the soil.

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Re: Forked carrots

Post  sanderson on 9/10/2014, 1:38 am

Talk about typos. Plantoid, have you read what you posted? Very Happy

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