Sunday, September 7, 2014
Sunday Reading - The Fight For Roots
I would say the largest problem we have had around the Small-Hold as far as producing our own food has been the heavy soil and root crops.
It's taken us a number of years to figure out how to grow Potatoes and especially Carrots and Onions with any regularity and required a combination of raised beds, timing and some serious soil work.
The heavy rains we usually get in the late Spring and early Summer pretty much cancels out any attempt at growing root crops in the main garden area. It's just too wet no matter how much we amend the soil or try and promote better drainage. We finally had to resort to the first two plantings of these crops going into the raised beds exclusively until at least Mid-July. After that it is usually possible to grow the root crops in the main garden area as the rains slack off and the plants don't rot in the ground.
Even then Carrots especially didn't do very well so the Mrs. took on the job of being the main Carrot planter by growing them exclusively in raised beds.
She has been working on this Carrot project for years and is just now starting to actually get Carrots that can be rated as something above "baby" sized.
I must admit she has grown some tasty Carrots over the years but they have rarely been longer than four inches or so. This year she managed to get a few six inch Carrots. When you consider that five years ago she couldn't even get a Carrot to grow I call that pretty good progress.
The next problem gets a bit more complicated though. When I begin to run the numbers on how many Carrots, Onions and Potatoes we would need for a full years worth of cooking the number of raised beds that would require begins to look a little daunting. The Potato issue is almost dealt with as I can put in a large crop in the regular garden later in the season, Onions and Carrots on the other hand is not going to be so easy.
So now that I have the figures in place for other staples like Beans, Tomatoes and Corn it's time to begin working on these root crops. So far I am showing that we would need to build or switch five raised beds each for Carrots and Onion production to begin to touch on our own yearly needs. Even if we pulled the beds now being used for ornamental flowers and switched them to root production it would still require me to build and fill six more raised beds. This isn't too bad of a number and can be done as long as I know I have the materials on hand to do it.
Looks like I will be adding some more raised beds in this next Spring.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!