Guide to Growing Carrots

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This is what my carrots looked like this year: riddled with tracks from the disgusting, putrid, foul, menacing carrot rust fly. Those little buggers can sniff out a carrot with superhero powers so I planted carefully and didn?t have to thin them (thinning releases the smell and attracts the flies), but the females still found my carrot patch, laid eggs, and a week later the larva fed on the hidden roots. There?s nothing worse than lovingly growing a patch of beautiful carrots only to have them eaten up by unwelcome guests. Bummer.

Guide to Growing Carrots

However, there are steps you can take to prevent disease and from interfering when growing carrots. The suggestions out there to avoid damage range from scientific to witchcraft, so trial and error is your best bet. Here are a few suggestions for keeping your carrots healthy once they?re planted.

  • 1. Cover your crop with a lightweight, permeable row cover that will let both light and water in, but keep flies out.
  • 2. Rotate your crop as a good practice for all veggie gardening to reduce instance of disease, pests and nutrient depletion.
  • 3. Plant a fly-resistant variety like which they don?t like that much. Then plant another patch farther away of bait carrots that they will hopefully choose instead.

Of course, the better start that carrots have, the more likely they are to stay healthy as they mature. Try these tips for growing carrots for the best results:

  • Plant carrot in fertile, well-drained soil that has been sifted to remove any stones or hard debris that will obstruct the root growth (and make funny shaped veggies).
  • Sow seeds according to the plant depth and spacing as recommended on the seed packet for each variety.
  • Carrot seeds are quite small, so it will be necessary to thin out your plants when they grow. You can do this by cutting (not pulling) out the seedlings that are the weakest, leaving the strongest lots of room to grow a yummy root.
  • Keep seeds moist while they germinate. Once sprouted, make sure they get lots of sun (eight hours per day) and water (don?t let them dry out on hot days). As they grow they will push up their shoulders from the ground so mound soil around them periodically.
  • Plant carrots in spring and summer for a fall harvest or plant over-wintering varieties in late summer for a winter harvest.

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Ever had those pumpkin scones at Starbucks? Here is a recipe for a much healthier version that is so much better with a flaky texture due to the special mixing technique. These are best hot from the oven ? so freeze half of them after baking, and warm in an oven at 350?F until just crunchy on the outside and warm on the inside. If you make this recipe I would very much appreciate if you leave me a comment and tell me how it turned out.

Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Scones

Ingredients

  • 4 cups organic whole wheat pastry or all purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup cold butter
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 4 tablespoons black strap molasses
  • 6 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 1 cup walnuts

Make it!

Preheat oven to 425?F and line a baking pan with parchment, then sprinkle it with flour. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the butter and with fingertips, pastry knife, or food processor gently cut the butter in until it is well combined and resembles course crumbs. Some lumps are fine. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, cream, pumpkin and molasses. Add to the dry mixture and gently combine. Gently fold in walnuts and cranberries until just mixed.

Shape the dough into 2 equal balls and flatten to 3/4? thick on the floured parchment or pan. Using a knife, slice each circle into 6 wedges and carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them to 1/2? space around the outer edges. Optional: brush each scone with milk and sprinkle with  sugar for a sweet and crunchy top. Bake until golden about 16 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

Makes 12 extra large scones

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