A New Crop of Carrots!

Last week, I began removing all the remnants of last fall’s plantings in the greenhouse.

Even on a cloudy day, the first thing to do in the hoophouse is to remove your coat!

Finding worms is always a very good sign of healthy soil.

The chickens get to eat any leftovers. Nothing goes to waste!

On Sunday, Bill used the broadfork to loosen the soil. Then, Ross and Mike added compost and prepared the bed for planting — they put 12 rows of carrots in a 3 foot wide bed which was two passes with our 6-row seeder.

This year we are using all pelleted carrot seed. Carrot seed is so small that when you broadcast, it necessitates much thinning and waste of seed. This way, there’s hardly any thinning needed. This more than makes up for the added cost to purchase pelleted seed.

The bed was lightly watered, the soil tamped firmly to ensure no air pockets remained around the seeds, and then covered with black plastic. This cover will remain until the seeds have sprouted. We’ve found this method results in the best germination rate. Old timers used to cover their carrot seed with a board until germination!

We are filling this hoophouse entirely with carrots this year . Ya-ya’s, Napoli, Rainbow, and Danvers Half-Long varieties will eventually grow in the four beds here, with plantings at two week intervals from now until March. Once these babies have gotten a good start, by about April, we will move the greenhouse to the next plot where we will grow, among other things, about 100 feet of ginger. This normally tropically-grown crop is a new experiment for us. We really enjoyed the ginger we got from Noah Kellerman of Alprilla Farm last summer. He successfully grew it in his hoophouse in Essex last year. His ginger was delicious and gorgeous, and an awesome market draw.

The boys are making great progess on the construction of the second, larger greenhouse, and they are on track to getting it put up in time to plant an early greens crop inside. This greenhouse will also be moveable, and will be also used to grow tomatoes, eggplants and peppers this summer, after it’s moved off the early crop. Next, I’ll try to get some photos of Michael welding the steel used for the skids, or skis…



Filed under Four Season Gardening, Greenhouse, Uncategorized

8 responses to “A New Crop of Carrots!

  1. Up early, I see, like all good Farmerettes! Fun and games on the Mehaffey Farm. I’m passing the name of your “Award Winning” Blog around. Great game yesterday—-Baaaad ending! Februaring on towards Spring. This thing about Farming innovations is that soon you’ll NEVER get a day off!

  2. daisy would love to live with you, I bought her a bag of carrots the other day as treat and she almost took off my arm trying to get to them. Do you Know how long a cows tongue is? John still cannot work out how you keep that hoop house on the ground in the winds! We get a month of gale force winds out here in a normal spring! Any ideas?.. c

    • Hi Cecilia, we anchor the greenhouse to the ground by driving three-foot long steel rebar spikes with a shorter piece welded cross-ways near the top like a sword, into the ground at a 45 degree angle at every 4 feet down the entire greenhouse. We welded 2 inch steel rings to the greenhouse skid with a half link of chain, at each 4 foot increment. These rings give you a nice anchor point for the “rebar-swords”. The greenhouse has been thru 50- 60 mile/hour winds so far!

      • maggiemehaffey

        Once the ground freezes, the reebar acts as a firmly rooted anchor. Also, as long as the house is closed up, (not vented,) the aoreodynamic shape has so far stood fast in our worst weather. I don’t know about those prairie winds though, c…

  3. Thanks for sharing your new hoop house plantings. It is very helpful to know what others are planting in the hoop house this time of year. I put up a 12×20 hoop house in December. I am amazed at the daily temperatures reaching 70 degrees! Last week I palnted some spinach, carrots and radish among a few other greens. I’m not sure what to expect, but I am anxious to see what will grow here in Maine so early in the year. Looking forward to more of your posts.

  4. I haven’t heard about pelleted carrot seed before, but that makes so much sense for large scale growers.
    And I’m looking forward to reading about your ginger, I’ve managed turmeric and lemon grass, but have still yet to get a ginger crop, I think I need to find a good organic, and fresh source, and then figure which bit to put in the ground 🙂

    • maggiemehaffey

      We ordered ours from a company called East Branch Ginger at eastbranchginger.com. You can choose the ship date for planting and you must presprout the roots for about a month before planting.

  5. Boy those men of yours work hard. You must be so proud of all you have done in such a short amount of time. My little garden will be in full swing this spring I was given glass from old greenhouse now to come up with frame ideas so I can have spring mix most of the year too! Looks wonderful I will have to swing by 🙂

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