Peas & Carrots

Peas and carrots are a classic couple in the kitchen, but what about the garden?

Normally, peas are sown in early spring. The traditional date is St. Patrick’s Day. While that may work in gentler climes, at 7,000 ft. elevation I would need a drill to create holes in my frozen ground. I usually plant a month later, on Tax Day. At least it gives me something to enjoy on that date.

This year, weekly snowstorms have delayed all my gardening chores. I finally got my peas into the ground on May 6. I don’t have great expectations for the harvest. Maybe we’ll have a cool start to the summer, and my husband will get to enjoy his Sugar Snaps. Maybe not. That’s the gamble of gardening in Colorado.

carrots-csu-lah-058Carrots, on the other hand, are usually planted a week or two before the average last frost date. The cool temperatures and snow-damp soil help keep the seeds from drying out during the three weeks it takes them to germinate.

This year, I sowed carrots on the same day as the peas. At least they’re right on schedule. I took the time to arrange the seeds in blocks of 16 per square foot, so I won’t have much thinning to do later. In my 4 x 4 foot carrot bed, that gives me 256 carrots—plenty for our needs.

My friend Lynette, enjoying a carrot I grew for her.

I’m trying a couple of new-to-me carrot varieties this year. Mokum was highly recommended by another master gardener as being quick to sweeten and incredibly crunchy. I’m hoping to entice my husband away from his packaged pre-peeled mini carrot addiction. The other is Cosmic Purple. Just the name evoked fond memories of the early 70’s, and I had to try them. Apparently only the skin is purple—the insides are still orange. I’ll be sure to report my results at the end of the season.

Planting carrots reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

“Sowe Carrets in your Gardens,  and humbly praise God for them,
as for a singular and great blessing.”

(Richard Gardiner, Profitable Instructions for the
Manuring, Sowing and Planting of Kitchen Gardens, 1599)

After dealing with our erratic weather, I make sure to praise God for anything that manages to produce a crop in my garden!

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