We have been a little long about harvesting carrots.
Carrots can stay in the soil for a long time, and actually become sweeter as the soil temperature drops in the autumn. At the same time, the “maxi kitchen garden” throws away so much else edible during the summer that we rarely eat root vegetables (other than potatoes) until mid-autumn. But now the harvest begins little by little, so that the winter leeks that are planted between the rows of carrots have a little more room to grow big before winter.
Carrots have been sown several times with different varieties due to poor germination in early April, and since then they have not thinned (as I should have done). The size therefore varies quite a lot, so you have to feel for it with your index finger to get hold of the largest ones as the first ones. Some of the roots crack lengthwise, which can easily happen when there is a sudden amount of precipitation after a long and dry period.
In the bed next to it, in the beginning of August, spinach was sown in the outer rows where there had previously been peas. The bed was shaded from the worst summer sun to keep the soil temperature down, in a faint hope that the spinach seeds would still germinate despite the heat. And it succeeded then somewhat, so that there came three rows of spinach at the far end while the rest of the bed continued to contain beets.
As a backup (if germination should fail) I also sowed spinach in a plug box, which was kept as cool as possible - and here in the heat wave it came in the fridge for the first 3-4 days, which is enough to break the seed dormancy. At the same time, so much was sown that the rest of the bed could be filled with small plants of spinach when the beets were removed. And so they have become today - with the prospect that there may be a final harvest of spinach in a few months.
Written by Peter Norris, August 26, 2018