We planted the root vegetables early, covered, and they are growing quickly. One of our challenges in previous years is growing enough carrots for the entire season’s demand. If we planted more than we did last year, by late season the carrots that were not pulled yet would be too big for our customers. Plus, we would run out of space in the root vegetable bed to grow the variety that people like.
Our new solution is succession planting. We tried this technique a little last year and it seemed to work. In succession planting we don’t plant everything at once. That way we have vegetables growing in different stages of maturity. We have enough of a growing season to have 3 phases of planting. By the end of the season the last carrots planted should come out the correct size.
There are actually 4 rows in our bed pictured. The first row to the left are radishes. They grow and sell quickly and don’t grow well in the heat so we usually don’t sell them later in the summer. The second row to the left are carrots. You will notice in the forefront there is nothing growing. I’m saving that space to plant carrots a little later in the year so they don’t grow too big. The third row is beets which grow almost perfectly against demand so I leave them as is. The far right row is turnips and parsnips. I split this row as these are not as popular as the others. If the turnips are selling out, which can happen, I re-seed a small section again to have more turnips later in the season for those customers.
As the radishes sell I’m replacing them with more carrot seeds. You can see that the radish tops are being replaced by carrot tops at the far left. My hope is to have enough carrots to sell and even possibly winter over under cover for just the family.
This is a monumental moment! We have made our first sales! The only thing we have to sell is radishes and spinach but it’s still official! Comments so far is how spicy the radishes are. We have Red Cherry Belles that apparently heated up. Luckily we also have some White Hailstone Radishes that are a little milder for those who like radishes but aren’t willing to buy the hot ones. We are quickly selling out of spinach because the weather is heating up and spinach does not like the heat. It’s already starting to go to seed.
While there is disappointment that we don’t have a variety yet, the collards, lettuce and summer squash are not too far away from harvesting!
Finally! The first harvest is here! Organic, non-GMO, Heirloom Cherry Belle radishes ready to sell.
Radishes are the fastest growing vegetable in the spring taking about 3 weeks to mature. I also planted Heirloom White Hailstone radishes which are also organic and non-GMO. They take a little longer to mature but should be close behind.
Radishes are good companion plants to carrots so I decided to try it this year. Radishes deter pests that would normally eat carrots and they help loosen up the soil, so letting the radishes mature while the carrot seedlings start coming up gives them an advantage. It’s necessary to harvest the radishes quickly to give them room to take over the space.
Before you judge the weeds in this picture, it’s important to let both radish and carrot seedlings get big enough to be sure you’re pulling up weeds rather than radishes and grass rather than carrots. You can see how much they look alike. Now it’s time to finish weeding and maybe put a little mulch around them.
The carrots planted are Heirloom Tendersweet and Nantes which are organic and non-GMO. They will be ready in about another month.