Sunday, January 13, 2013

Carrots (Daucus carota) for container gardening

I have never grown carrots but I am now. Most of what I am about to write is from research.  My focus is growing carrots in containers for those of us with limited space. But my fellow MG will be blogging on growing carrots in the great outdoors.

For inspiration, I am starting off with a couple of great simple recipes I found.
From the Carrot cookbook by Audra and Jack Hendrickson
Carrot Butter
Preparation : 10minutes, Cooking: 60-75minutes. Yield: About 2 &1/2 cups
2 large carrots
¾ cup water
2 oranges


½ cup crushed pineapple, drained

½-1cup sugar, or to taste

Cut carrots into thin coins and place in medium saucepan with water and bring to boil.

Peel the oranges, remove all the white membranes and seeds, separate them into sections, and add them to the carrot mixture.
Reduce the heat and simmer until the carrots are tender. Remove from the heat and cool, and then blend or process until smooth. Return to the saucepan, add the pineapple and ½-1 cups sugar, to taste. Cook until the mixture is of spreading consistency.

Pour into jars, glasses or jam pots and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Carrot Soup

Preparation: 20-25minutes, Serves 4-6
CARROT CAKE FOR MORE INSPIRATION
2 cups diced carrots
1 ½ cups diced potatoes
¼ cup diced onion
3-4 cups water
2 slices bacon
½ cup soft bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the carrots, potatoes, onion, and three of the four cups of water in a medium saucepan, cover, and cook until the vegetables are tender.
While the vegetables are cooking, fry the bacon until it is crisp, crumble it, and set it aside.
When the vegetables are tender, stir in the soft bread crumbs and the butter or margarine, and season the soup with salt and pepper to taste
If you think it needs it, add the remaining cup of water to the broth, bring it back to the boiling point, and simmer for 5 minutes or so.
At serving time sprinkle the bacon over each bowl, or add it to the tureen just before you place it on the table.

There are really great recipes in this book. First printing of the book is way back in 1986, more than 25 years. But great simple recipes never die! And growing your own carrots to use in these recipes can increase the beta carotene content of up to 55% over your store brought commercial products. A single orange carrot has ~4,749 I.U.s of Beta carotene.
Now back to gardening...
Carrots are among the easiest of root vegetables to grow for home gardeners.

There are many varieties of carrots a home gardener can choose. The best varieties for container gardening would be carrots that have short roots. Longer roots require deeper soil. A good variety for your container is Chanteney, an heirloom. And I  prefer heirlooms because the seeds are not sterile and you can save the seeds from your carrot plants and it will grow true to form.

Use a container that is at least 12 inches deep and 18 inches in diameter. I am using a container that is 15 inches deep x 12 inches wide and 18 inches long. It is sitting in a heated garage. I will be moving them to a brighter area of the house once they germinate with at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight and temperature of 55-75 degrees. The soil is a mix of potting soil and compost that are well drained. Water well but do not dampen. (Root rot=no carrots).







 

 

 

 


 


 

 

 

 

 

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2 comments:

  1. I hope some school gardeners try carrots in containers this year. They could be started indoors to establish a root system and moved outdoors in early April for an end-of-year harvest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It will be great if we can get them hook on gardening early ...with any type of vegetable...with root vegetable maybe have the class try going it in a glass container so they can watch the roots grow.

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