Tag Archive | growing carrots

Carrot Tops

Bunnies love greens, everyone knows that!  They especially need greens during the dark, cold days of winter.  Munching greens gives rabbits vitamins they need in a natural way.  Plus, they are delicious for bunnies.  Affording greens to feed hungry mouths in winter is another matter.

In the past my grocery store carried dandelion greens and they were right on the edge of what I could pay to keep the livestock satisfied.  This year they have no dandelions.  I’ve been substituting parsley, but that gets expensive.  The idea of growing my own greens became very attractive.  So I started an experiment.

The tops of carrots are generally cut off and tossed when preparing supper.  These are not wasted at our house, they go to the horses.  Sometimes the carrot tops will actually start growing in storage in the fridge.  I thought, why not try sprouting them for the bunnies?

So I cut off the top inch of a dozen carrots.  Roots grow from the eyes on the side of the tap root that is a carrot, so at least an inch is needed to provide enough eyes to support the sprouts.  I stuck the roots in a large pot of soil, put it in the south window and kept watered.  In a few days green began appearing at the tops.  It is slow going at first as the carrots develop roots.  Soon there will be a good feathery growth of sprouts.

The tap root will not regrow.  The pot provides plenty of room for this experiment.  If left to develop, these tops will eventually flower and produce seeds.

I’ll wait until there are lots of stems before cutting a few at a time for my angoras.  Now that I see how easy it is to grow carrots tops, I’m going to start a second pot as well.  These should get the rabbits through until spring arrives with its abundance of green treats.

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How My Garden Grows

gard1It’s been five days since I took garden photos, the rapid growth is evident.  Warm, sunny weather has spurred the plants on.  The corn is already knee-high, well before the 4th of July.  gar3The center of my knee is about 18″ from the ground, so that’s how tall the biggest plants are today.  We are supposed to get some rain this evening, then more sun to follow, cornscateous weather.  (That means hot, humid conditions, perfect weather for growing corn.)

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Six bean sprouts in a row!

Finally, more wax beans have sprouted!  The second planting is coming up nicely.  At least a dozen seeds sprouted so far, hopefully more to follow.  The next few days will be the dangerous time for baby beans, when they are most vulnerable to cutworm attacks and damping off.  Once they have a few leaves, most bean plants can’t be held back.

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Baby carrots

gar6Time to weed and thin the carrots.  Carrot seed is planted thickly to ensure enough sprout to fill out a row.  The extra are thinned and fed to the bunnies.  gar7When planting carrots, I use a hand-held device called a “Minisem,” designed to evenly distribute very fine seed.  The seeds go inside the round part, then an opening above the spout can be adjusted to allow the desired amount of seed to pass.  It’s much easier to control the flow of the seeds with this tool.  Trying to seed from the hand or the seed packet always produces uneven results.

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Bachelor button seedlings

The bachelor buttons are growing fast.  This is the first time I’ve tried these flowers and I look forward to seeing how they do.  The seedlings are supposed to be thinned but it breaks my heart to remove more than half of these babies. They do not transplant well so any removed will die.

Cornscateous weather is also great for tomatoes. gar5 Most of the plants are flowering now.  I can hardly wait for those first juicy tomatoes from my own garden.  Even the farmer’s market ones aren’t as good.

I’ve harvested about a pint of fresh radishes.  They’re nice and mild, the way I like them.

I often neglect to wear gloves when I work in the garden.  After a few hours of weeding and hand pruning, my hands get quite dirty.  The plant juices and soil are ground into the skin.  Minuscule bits of rock in the soil cause microscopic cuts to the skin, allowing stains to get deep and also roughening the skin.  I make gardener’s hand soap just for me.

soapWith a goat milk base and finely ground pumice, the soap cleans dirt and stains, smooths the skin by polishing away the microscopic cuts and moisturizes with natural emollients.  I wouldn’t want to garden without my soap.  I made a batch scented with cucumber and sage, smells great.  And the sheep shape is really cute.

I gave a bar of my gardener’s soap to a friend once.  She left it with her other soaps and her husband grabbed it for the shower.  He said, “Boy, that’s some rugged soap!”  Poor man.  The pumice isn’t meant for tender parts of the body!  I bet he was extra clean.