I try to get all my root crops out of the ground by early July so they don't start to rot or be invaded by various worms and other critters. I managed to get all the potatoes and onions out of the ground about 10 days ago just before our torrential rains hit. Phew. Onions are safely drying in the shed, potatoes under the bed. Then yesterday I harvested the second planting of carrots and beets I had sown in Mid-April. They had been looking pitiful, not growing well despite additions of organic fertilizer, lots of water and even some compost tea. When I pulled them out I understood the problem immediately.
Root knot nematodes, they were causing all these crazy looking nodes on the roots and in doing some research I learned this is hard on the plants for sure. Supposedly some ways to cope with the problem are to solarize the soil by putting clear plastic on top and baking it so it kills the little buggers. Otherwise, crop rotations, growing grain cover crops like Sudan grass, or planting marigolds which have a toxin that kills the nematodes were all recommended on various websites. If you have experience with this problem, post a comment to help me and others know what to do!
I still managed to get close to 2 pounds of carrots and with the final harvest from my first planting plus the wimpy ones, I got about 4 more pounds of beets. Now I need to be eating some carrots because the ones I dug a couple of weeks ago are still sitting in the crisper and while they store well, I know they won't keep for ever, been visualizing one of those grated carrot salads with lemon and raisins, but visualization ain't gonna make it happen, I've got to actually go in there and get out the grater!
I also need to eat up these beets as I've got 8 pints already pickled and I think that's going to do us for the year, I like pickled beets, but a few go a long way which is the general truth about pickles I think. When I was rooting around in the cupboard to make space for the beets I unearthed several jars of dilly beans, circa 2009 as well as some pickled okra and lost jars of fig preserves, time to get cranking on consuming some of that stuff.
I'm thinking some beet and cucumber borscht with all the cukes that are starting to pile up in the fridge.
It must be July.