Sunday, 7 September 2014

Carrots and Beetroot for Tea ~~~

Gentle Reader ~~~ Thank you all for your very kind comments made on last week's entry.  I was very touched by them. 

A few months back I started an experiment with carrots.  They are not something I have grown before because when my late father grew them so much of the crop was ruined and wasted due to the omni~present and dreaded Carrot Fly.  If you have ever seen a carrot bed decimated by this horrible pest you will understand why I have never bothered with carrots.  If you have never seen carrot fly damage, then the RHS information page on said pest will show you why I have not bothered. 

I am on a steep learning curve with my garden, and I chat whenever I can to other gardeners, and recall what my Dad said, and looking things up on line too. This tiny, but highly destructive pest, it seems, has shark like senses that can sniff out one particle of eau de carrot from miles away {I jest, of course, but you get the picture} and apparently, once you have had carrot fly infestation in your garden it is very hard to rid yourself of it, for it will return as sure as eggs are eggs, and as such I could not see the point in giving over valuable growing space to a crop that I knew would end up in the compost bin.  

There are ways to rid yourself of this pest, chemicals being one, but that is not acceptable to me as I try to garden without the use of any chemicals.  I know a lot of people who have tried several methods, such as inter~planting the rows of carrots with strong scented marigolds ~ the pungency of the marigolds is supposed to mask the equally pungent scent of carrot tops wafting on the wind and confuse the carrot fly, but I have yet to find someone who says this method works; it certainly didn't work for my Dad.  By listening and reading, I have learned that a good, non~chemical way to deter carrot fly and get a good harvest of delicious, edible carrots is to use barriers. Another method is to grow your carrots after the carrot fly season, but this means aiming for a very late crop as the season does not end until late Summer or early Autumn.   I wanted my carrots earlier, so I decided to try a barrier.

I read of two methods using a barrier, which is either to completely covering the carrots with a horticultural fleece and not remove it until ready to harvest the crop, or seeds are sown in a raised bed that is at least twenty inches high {for the fly cannot, apparently, fly above twenty inches off the ground} I filled a disused, clean rubbish bin with a mixture of garden soil, compost, and Grow Bag contents and sowed the fine, brown seeds on the top.  In a couple of weeks they had germinated, so now all I had to do was wait.  Over the following weeks, the green carrot tops grew and grew, getting taller and filling the bin to overflowing.  I was worried now, with so much fragrant greenery billowing in the wind, that the fly would be attracted in. However, I kept my faith, and just a day ago I harvested my first, perfectly pest~free carrots! 

They aren't very big, but they are reasonably good in shape, and are not forked or split, so I am very happy.  They tasted so good!  I do not remember the last time I ate a carrot that tasted so carroty! It makes me wonder how much water and what nutrients are given to the mass produced, perfect carrots sold in supermarkets and greengrocers around the country, for by comparison they have a perfect shape but are watery and tasteless.  I know which I prefer!

So, I have learned much from this experiment.  Not only that the twenty inch barrier works in deterring the carrot fly, but that carrots can be successfully grown in a deep bin or container.  Next year, I will plant more containers of carrots, and maybe try some parsnips {which I love} as they are susceptible to the carrot fly too.  I will put more soil in the bins though, as this bin was about three quarters full when I began but the soil quickly compacted down to just over half and this meant that the green tops had to reach upwards and stretch for the sunlight and became slightly leggy.  I don't think it has affected the crop too much though and I am looking forward to harvesting the rest over the coming weeks.  




My back is still bad, and I'm desperately sad to report that I have lost an awful lot of potted plants because I have not been able to water them.  I am trying to put on a brave face, as most can be replaced, but some were gifts, like the double geraniums and roses. It is also jolly annoying that the weather is very good and I cannot enjoy it!

Tonight, for supper, there are carrots and beetroot from the garden, oven roasted with some butternut squash, and apples fresh from the tree ~ yum!  Aren't the beets pretty?  I had forgotten that I'd planted some that had variegated rings!  I put the three vegetables, tossed in olive oil, in a high oven for about 25 minutes, until nearly cooked, and then tossed in chunks of apple for the last five minutes.  It makes a simple supper, and is delicious with crusty bread and cheese.



Meanwhile, here are some more photographs taken in the last month, as Autumn slowly moves in ~ for I am finally working out how to operate the new Windows 8.1 on this laptop!

The apples are rosy red and juicy sweet ~~~ best eaten warm from the tree in the morning sun ~~~






Meanwhile, along the edge of the drive, poppies are going to seed with gorgeously brown and gold coloured seed heads ~~~




Some late~to~the~party raspberries {these are not my Autumn fruiting ones, which are making no sign of fruiting this year}

I love the patterns created by the different tones as the fruits ripen and I think of zentangle patterns to fill in ~~~





The first fall of leaves on the drive ~~~ crisply crunchy and begging to be stomped through ~~~



Haws, reddening and ripening to feed the birds as they fatten up for the leaner winter months ahead ~~~



Finally, I am at last able to load videos once again ~ although I am sorry that it is via link to Youtube ~ something that I could not do on my old laptop and so have not shared any for over a year ~~~ this one was taken during the week, a windier day, but I thought I'd share the sound of the winds through the leaves ~~~
{sorry for the shakiness, but my hand is not very steady}

Wind in the Sycamores


Gosh, would you look at all those golden brown helicopters, just waiting to fly away and seed ~ growing into saplings in my garden to be weeded out in their hundreds! This, Gentle Reader, is why ~


~~~A Gardener's Work is Never Done~~~




17 comments:

  1. Donna @ Briarwood Cottage7 September 2014 at 20:05

    So glad to see a post!!! And, so very sorry to hear that your back and pain meds are giving you fits. Your pics are lovely and I hope you are back to normal and out in your garden soon. Hugs from across the deep, blue sea ~ Donna E.

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    1. Thank you, believe me, I hope so to! Congrats on the new blog too! ~~~waving~~~

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  2. Hello sweet Deborah... so sorry to hear your back is still bothering you... your beets and carrots are beautiful and your dinner sounds delish!... also, your apples are so pretty and I know you said you are picking some daily... oooh, how I would love to visit Wales in the Autumn... but wait, I am... through your gorgeous blog!... waving from this side of the pond!... xoxo Julie Marie

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    1. Thank you Julie Marie ~ they were delicious! Yes, the apples are a daily pick to be eaten fresh as can be, and this year the crop was small {probably to do with the dreadful winter} but sweeter and juicier than ever, and now nearly all gone! ~~~waving~~~

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  3. Debs, I add my concern to everyone else's about your back. If you can get to an acupuncturist they may be able to help you. Your carrots look great to me, as do your apples. Actually everything looks great to me. Concerning your video....did you want to actually post the YouTube video on your Blog. I was not sure if you were saying you wanted to post the video on your Blog, but couldn't so used YouTube because you can embed YouTube videos onto your Blog itself by adding the "embed" code to the page where you compose your post. Just click on the "html" tab and paste the "embed" code where you want the video to be.

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    1. Hello Cathy! As soon as I can sit in a car for an hour I am off to my chiropractor. It will not upload from my computer, so I tried linking the Youtube video directly on to my blog and it showed up perfectly on 'preview' but only as a white square 'live' I did it both by copying the html code and pasting it into 'link' and by copying the URL code of the video under 'information' and that didn't work either. Thanks for the help, I'll keep trying, new computer takes working out sometimes. Next time now! ~~~waving~~~

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  4. Oh Deb, The Great Carrot Experiment is a wonderful success! I'm sure that you are thinking of lots of clever new ideas! What a yummy dinner you have prepared with the gifts from your garden. Hope that this week brings your back much relief. Please be extra kind to yourself! ♡

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    1. Good Morning Dawn ~ I've had to stop the pain killers, so am on my own with the pain today, so see how it goes. Yes, the mix of oven roasted veggies made a delicious supper dish and will definitely be made again. Never be afraid to mix things that sound a little odd together! ~~~waving~~~

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  5. Oh your poor girl, I sympathise with you, time is what works for me.
    I love all your photo's, such beautiful red apples.
    I have you on my side bar now so I can see your new updates straight away.
    Rest.
    Fondly Michelle

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    1. Thank you Michelle ~ the frustration of our beautiful weather and all I can do is look at it! The weeds will still be there when I am able to return to my garden.
      Thank you for adding me to your side bar. I am honoured. I enjoy your writings and photographs immensely.
      ~~~waving~~~

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  6. Oh Debs! I just love reading about your gardening adventures and seeing the beautiful pictures of the fruit of your labor! Your carrot photos look pretty perfectly shaped to me! The carrot flies sound dreadful! We deal with nasty Japanese beetles here. So sorry that you continue to have back pain....especially when your heart yearns to be working in the garden! Don't overdo things!! Rest! Have a wonderful week, sweet girl! ♥....Karen

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    1. Oh, Karen, the dreaded Japanese Beetle strikes here too! Pesky pests will always be an issue for gardeners. Yes, I am resting all I can as I still have commitments that need taking care of ~~~waving~~~

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  7. Your garden pictures are always a treat! What great advice about the carrots, I had given up on them because of pests as well, I should give your advice a try next year and try for another little carrot crop. :) Your apple trees look so beautiful, apples are my favorite and I am so looking forward to picking up a bunch from the farmer's market this month, I love cooking with apples! Back pain is horrible, I suffer from time to time myself so I can relate, hoping you get better soon! Have a great week! :)

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    1. I shall look forward to hearing all about your carrots next year! We cannot give up, and where there is a pest there is always a way ~ eventually! ~~~waving~~~

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  8. Hello Dearest Deborah,
    Oh the poor poor back! I do so sympathize so with your frustration (I too suffer with lower back disk and the neck)..(and it steals away to much precious time sigh) but hopefully and prayerfully it shall simmer away very soon and you can enjoy your surroundings!!!
    Your pictures are delightful and refreshing!
    I wish I had poppies in my garden! (in a winey voice) :-D
    I am so happy that your carrot harvest was a success! They look very plump and appetizing!!
    Many many blessings, Linnie

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    1. A thief of our time ~ still, much reading can be accomplished while resting, although it does not ease the frustration of watching the weeds grow and other jobs mount up!
      Is there a reason you do not have poppies? They are very easy and accommodating, almost self perpetuating once established. ~~~waving~~~

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    2. What lovely photos. I especially loved the raspberry one. I just wanted to pick the berries right off the branch and pop one in my mouth.

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Thank you for stopping by today ~ I love reading your comments