I’m quite convinced that everyone needs a few purple haze carrots in their life. Especially sliced thin. So beautiful. This is what I like about growing our own food. We have the option to fill our meals with little works of art like these. They say it’s the small things in life that make you rich. This is one of those small things that we try and fill our days with. Sliced purple haze carrots. And our lives are ever so slightly improved because of them.
We picked (or rather Scott picked) all of the carrots around the tomatoes Saturday. He was inspired after reading the “All About Growing Carrots” article in the new Mother Earth News. They wrote that you shouldn’t leave mature carrots in warm soil any longer than necessary because critters start to find them. And we have started to notice that a few were getting nibbled on.
We also learned that carrots are divided into five types: Nante, Chantenay, Miniature, Imperator and Danvers. our Purple Haze falls into the Imperator category which means that they have long, tapered roots with stocky shoulders and that they store well.
Our little Thumbelinas rightly fall into the Miniature category, who’s notes say that they have a sweet flavor when mature and have only limited storage potential.
So what can we do with this carrot bounty? Well, we can freeze them, eat them raw, can them, pickle them, but I prefer the carrot cake option. Yes, I see a carrot cake in our near future.
We a seemingly endless amount of weeding and thinning this weekend which gave us a nice amount of amaranth, pursulane, chinese mustard and micro-greens to have for salads. A small reward for all the time spent on our knees.
Scott also mowed our lawn and used the grass clipping in our newest experiment in the broccoli/cauliflower bed. We read a great article in Mother Earth News this weekend that explored the different types of organic fertilizer on the market. As you know, fertilizers must be labeled by their Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium (N-P-K) levels. Being that nitrogen is a likely deficient in many soils, the author compared the fertilizers based on their per pound of nitrogen. She compares 17 different store bought organic fertilizers, the cheapest being SoyBean Meal (7-2-1) at $4/lb of nitrogen and the most expensive being TerraCycle Plant Food (.03-.002-.02) at a whopping $16,987/lb of nitrogen.
Or she says, you can just use ordinary grass clippings which contain anywhere from 2% – 5% of nitrogen. In most areas you can work in about half an inch into your soil, or put a 1-2 inch layer as a mulch on your garden bed and that will provide all the nutrients most crops need for a full season of growth! Not only will it provide nutrients, but the grass clippings as a mulch act as a good weed prevention and as a moisture retainer.
Usually we just put our grass clippings into the compost pile and let them compost. Doing that dilutes the nitrogen power down to about 1%, but the benefit of compost is that it departs its nutrients into the soil over a matter of years rather than in just one growing season.
Either way, obviously, is beneficial. And obviously much, much cheaper than buying organic fertilizer, wouldn’t you say? I don’t know, free vs. $16,987, you make the call.