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Muddy Harvest

September 29, 2013
Muddy carrots

Muddy carrots

A couple weeks ago, we starting harvesting some storage crops in anticipation of rain. We dug onions and potatoes and pulled the dry beans to finish drying in the hoop house. The rain that I saw in the weather forecasts never quite materialized, but I was glad to have gotten things in. Then I started thinking about getting the early field ready for winter, which meant getting it ready for cover crops. I decided to dig all the leeks, carrots and beets in that field; first, to get them out of the field so we could sow the cover crop and second, so the gophers and voles wouldn’t eat them before we did. A week ago, I dug the leeks and we dug more potatoes, but before we could finish it started to rain. It wasn’t too bad, but enough to make the fields a bit muddy.

onions drying in the hoop house

onions drying in the hoop house

This week, we dug the carrots, beets and the rest of the potatoes. Despite the bit of rain last Sunday, the potatoes weren’t too muddy, but the carrots…

Most of the soil on the 18 acres we are working with right now is Helvetia silt loam, a  silt loam about 15 inches deep, with a subsoil of silty clay loam that is 62 inches deep, according to the USDA Soil Conservation Service Soil Survey of Polk County. But we also have Dayton silt loam, which makes up the soil in the wetter areas of our farm. The Dayton silt loam has only about 5 inches of silt loam on the surface, then about 7 inches of silty clay loam and under that, 30 inches of clay, which makes for a soil that doesn’t drain well. The clay content also makes for a very sticky mud.

It's a big hoop house: the beans are drying in there, too.

It’s a big hoop house: the beans are drying in there, too.

The carrots might be a lot closer to that Dayton silt loam than we realized. As we dug the carrots, they were coated in mud that was very hard to wipe off. Not only did it stick to the carrot, but when you wiped it off, it stuck to your hand (not to mention your boots, which can add a lot of weight to your feet). Despite the soil being hard to work with when wet, it sure grows some good crops. The carrots we dug were very nice. As it rained yesterday and today, we were able to work in the dry hoop houses (I am so glad to have them!), getting the carrots cleaned, sorted and stored in the refrigerator. It is good to have them in.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. jorge lara permalink
    September 30, 2013 9:20 am

    Good lookng carrots! 🙂

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