BEANS HARVESTED, CARROTS AND BEETS NOW PLANTED
ďI feel sorry for people that have to buy produce at the supermarket. It really looks awful,Ē my wife said yesterday, after returning home from grocery shopping.
There are a lot of good reasons to grow your own vegetables and fruit. The low quality of produce found at supermarkets is perhaps the one that led me to become a front-yard farmer.
This past weekend the harvest from my front-yard farm included 5 pounds of Flavor Sweet green beans. I canít remember having snap beans in the garden this late in the year but our mild weather and the use of row covers made it possible this season. We have been having green beans with our dinner every night since we picked them -- and I canít get enough. Green. Fresh. Tasty. No one has ever bought beans as good as these at a supermarket!
With the beans harvested, it made room in the garden to plant beets and carrots. I planted Nantes Half Long carrots and Detroit Dark Red beets. In north Florida, root crops like carrots and beets do best in raised beds. My raised beds are not available now so I mounded up soil in my front-yard garden to make a raised double row that is 5 inches high, 24 inches wide and 13 feet long. I planted one row each of carrots and beets.
I soaked the beet seeds for a couple of hours before planting to help them germinate more quickly. And I will keep the soil evenly moist over the next few weeks. Both the beets and carrots should respond well to the moisture.
In about a month I will make a second raised double row and plant another row each of carrots and beets to extend the harvest.
I will eventually thin the carrots to 3 inches and the beets to 4 inches. I will use a small pair of scissors to remove the seedlings I am thinning out by snipping them off at ground level.
Iíll harvest the carrots at various stages as they grow, picking one or two at a time to add to salads. I will harvest the beets when they are about the size of a golf ball; thatís when they are most flavorful.
How is your garden coming along? Do you grow a winter garden, spring garden, or both? Iíd love to hear from you. Tell me what you are growing now or plan to grow this spring, the size of your vegetable garden and where you live. If you have a tip or some tried and true advice you would like to pass along, please do that too!
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