Monday, June 30, 2014

Carrot Contemplation

A couple of days ago I bragged that the carrots were ready for digging.  Not exactly.
Eeeeww! Root maggots
In fact, the carrots were past ready for digging, having been invaded heavily by the heinous carrot root maggot.  I've had this trouble before in the summer.  I think this is one of the reasons people say not to leave root crops in the ground once the hot weather sets in.  Also, I blame my using some wood chips from the dairy barn mixed with leaves to mulch the bed.  I read yesterday that the flies that lay the eggs that hatch into root maggots like to lay their eggs in manure.  Oh well.
Good enough to go into the fridge for later
I did manage to salvage around 5 pounds.  There were some (above) that had little or no damage.  The rest I was able to clean up and cut away the nasty parts leaving a couple of edible pounds.
 Ready for the soup pot
 I  cooked onions, fennel and garlic in a generous amount of butter, added homemade chicken stock and the cleaned up carrot remains and simmered it till the roots were soft.  

Pureed with cream and garnished with sugar snap peas, dill, chives and yogurt, this was a tasty soup that we'll be able to enjoy for the next few days as it made about a gallon. 

This is one of those gardening experiences that give me pause.  

Is it really worth all the effort to grow what amounted to less than 5 pounds of carrots?  I can buy a 5 pound bag of organic carrots at the coop for about $6.  I have had this thought before when I harvested carrots that were less than stellar.  They are challenging to get started, often germinate poorly and carrots planted in spring for summer harvest are not that sweet.  The ones I grow in fall do better, can stay in the ground until I'm ready to eat them and are quite sweet especially once the cold weather sets in.  So I consider them to be more worthwhile.  But I wonder if I should really bother planting spring carrots in future.  

I think this may be one of the only crops I've ever really questioned the value of growing.  If you have any thoughts or experience with carrot growing, weigh in on this discussion via my comments section, go ahead, it's not that hard to leave a comment!

Here is a helpful article from Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association on Carrot Rust Fly.

1 comment:

Carol Henderson said...

Sloth here: I would buy at the co-op.