Archives for posts with tag: dill

We decided to pack the root vegetables in closely this year. We’ll cram six rows of carrots, radishes, beets and turnips into the east planter, completely filling the space in front of the Sugar Snap peas.

Four of the rows are already planted, two in April and two in May. The April bunch is in mid-production. We’re harvesting turnips and radishes—or their greens—on an almost daily basis. The beets are trailing behind a bit but we’ll start picking their greens soon. And seedlings for the turnips, radishes and beets sowed in May are pushing their way out of the soil.

But where are the carrots?

After a casual glance at the planter, one might not realize that carrots are growing there at all. There is no sign of those we planted in April and the May seeds have yet to germinate; their half of the row is empty.

That’s because we made a miscalculation when we laid out the rows. Carrots share with radishes in the first, northernmost, row. The next row going south contains turnips and beets and then the order repeats. At the west end of the planter, then, the rows alternate carrot-turnip-carrot-turnip-carrot-turnip, from north to south.

Now, carrots are very slow to germinate and when they do, put up frilly greens not unlike the dill or parsley to which they are related. Once sprouted, their growth remains slow. We don’t expect to be eating them until the end of June.

Turnips, on the other hand, are crucifers with tall, broad leaves. They grow quickly and profusely. They are among the first to germinate (along with the radishes) and soon grow into a dense hedgerow (albeit, at garden scale). The batch we planted in April is currently a foot high.

Hiding behind them are the carrots. Unfortunately, they won’t see the light of day until the turnips have all been harvested. Had we reversed the planting order, putting the turnips to the north, the carrots would not have been affected, at least not until the following row of turnips sprouted. I’ll try to remember this next year.

Fortunately, another consequence of the fast pace of the turnips is that they will soon be eaten, leaving the carrots to have their days in the sun.

While watering the garden last evening, I detected the merest hint of green in the row planted with carrots.  The bed is heavily mulched and even though we brushed the straw away to sow the seeds, the wind has blown some of it back.  Consequently, the soil surface is not readily visible and neither are any seedlings when they first break through.  But although their leaves are tiny, the seedlings are a brilliant green and against the pale tan backdrop of the mulch, the bright color indicates the seedlings’ arrival subtly.

Today, it was clearer that they had arrived even if it is still not exactly obvious.  The leaves of the carrot seedlings are long and very narrow in contrast, for instance, to the wide, rounded leaves of the radishes and turnips.  Nonetheless, it is not surprising in light of their family ties to dill, tarragon and other herbs.  (And, of course, when I refer to leaves at this stage in the plants’ development, I mean cotyledons.  The true leaves will emerge later.)