Help with Carrots...didn't form at all.


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This has really taken a bite out of my confidence...waiting 2+ months and seeing the tops grow nicely to pull and see NOTHING. I will attach photos so you can see, but anyone have some ideas WHY they didn't form and ones that did form are microscopic. 80% of them didn't really form at all...so I watch the tops grow and look good while there was nothing below. These were Danvers and Nantes seeds from Lowes.

I direct sowed these seeds to some nice soil (see in photo) although did not thin them out when they were babies. I did consistently water. The soil was loose (I tilled prior to seeds).

This happened the time before this, but I chalked that up to starting in trays and transplanting since the baby tap root may have hit the tray bottom and told it to not grow since it didnt have room....these new ones I direct sowed in the ground so they had unlimited room.
 

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Meadowlark

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...waiting 2+ months and seeing the tops grow nicely to pull and see NOTHING. ...

Carrots can definitely be a challenge but are well worth the efforts. You may have a possible answer to your question above. The carrots I grow successfully are in the ground from Oct. usually to late Feb, 2 months would not be nearly long enough for mine to mature.

did not thin them out when they were babies.

Another possibility/probability. My carrots must be thinned. Don't fall for this rhetoric that says they do better when crowed because they like neighbors, LOL. I have to thin them out leaving at least a couple of inches gap or face small runty carrots. Otherwise expect stunted carrots.

80% of them didn't really form at all...so I watch the tops grow and look good while there was nothing below.

Temps are critical. Carrots grow between 55 deg and 75 deg F. The last two months here Aug, Sept certainly offered about zero days in which those temps were met. We are now heading into the optimum growing weather for carrots.

As you are probably aware nematodes are especially detrimental to carrots. You may or may not have them but a good way to keep them out is a winter cover crop of Elbon rye. Works for me.
 
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Thanks a bunch Meadowlark (no pun intended :) ) !! The package says 65 days and google says 65-85 days so I thought I was in the correct range... I will try again and leave them alone for 5 months this time (like potatoes).
 
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Thanks a bunch Meadowlark (no pun intended :) ) !! The package says 65 days and google says 65-85 days so I thought I was in the correct range... I will try again and leave them alone for 5 months this time (like potatoes).
I've been doing a little research into this notion of 'growing days' - because like you, I find many of my veg don't conform!

Essentially, you need to think in terms of 65 - 85 SUITABLE growing days. So if your plant likes (for example) temperatures above a certain level, a given number of sunlight hours and plenty of moisture **on the days when you don't get those conditions** you can't count it as a growing day. And in fact, if the conditions are too far off it might result in a negative impact - so REDUCING the number of growing days already 'in the bank'.

I'm in a cold, wet UK climate so carrots are easy. But I tend to run into problems with beans, squash, corn etc. It takes many, many days longer than the days listed on the seed packet - simply because so many days in Scotland just aren't warm enough. This year for example I planted out all my warmth loving crops in June. We had a bit of a cold, windy spell (nowhere near freezing) and my plants just sat and sulked in the ground until well into July. Our season is plenty long enough for all of the crops I grew, but because of the less than ideal conditions my winter squash didn't make it in time.

My guess is, that if I'd but cloches over them for most of June I'd have got a good crop. The cloches would have effectively given me more SUITABLE growing days.

DISCLAIMER: Very inexperienced gardener!!
 
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Thanks DM. I tilled this soil and its a mixed potting, perlite, regular dark soil but that could be a factor too. I saw one video where the guy in UK put the carrots in a cylinder of sand mix so the soil was almost all sand to allow the root to travel as easy as possible. Might have to try that one day too.
 
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I grow my carrots in this with MG potting soil. Works pretty good with decent root development (no forks) but have to water nearly everyday though. Good thing is if you want to harvest all the carrots you can pick the pot up and dump it in a wheel barrow.

I've used that cheaper potting soil from Lowes before (stay green I think) and it lacks in the nitrogen department. The bag says it is in there but pale green leaves say otherwise.

I've grown them in the ground before and forked roots seem to be common but it seemed as though the roots got a little fatter.
 
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I grow my carrots in this with MG potting soil. Works pretty good with decent root development (no forks) but have to water nearly everyday though. Good thing is if you want to harvest all the carrots you can pick the pot up and dump it in a wheel barrow.

I've used that cheaper potting soil from Lowes before (stay green I think) and it lacks in the nitrogen department. The bag says it is in there but pale green leaves say otherwise.

I've grown them in the ground before and forked roots seem to be common but it seemed as though the roots got a little fatter.
Have you considered raised beds? Even cutting the bottom off of large containers does the trick. I haven't been doing this for long enough to be sure it will continue to work, but essentially you get the benefits of growing in compost but rather than buy new each year you can just put a little layer of garden compost on top of each bed.

Charles Dowding has been testing the no-dig, raised bed approach (where all you do is add a couple of inches of garden compost to the top each year). He claims that after years, even without rotation of crops, he gets good results with no other supplements needed.

I don't see why it would work any less well if you turn containers into raised beds by cutting the bottoms off?
 
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Have you considered raised beds? Even cutting the bottom off of large containers does the trick. I haven't been doing this for long enough to be sure it will continue to work, but essentially you get the benefits of growing in compost but rather than buy new each year you can just put a little layer of garden compost on top of each bed.

Charles Dowding has been testing the no-dig, raised bed approach (where all you do is add a couple of inches of garden compost to the top each year). He claims that after years, even without rotation of crops, he gets good results with no other supplements needed.

I don't see why it would work any less well if you turn containers into raised beds by cutting the bottoms off?

Charles Dowding lives in a cold place in relative to me terms. This impacts the speed at which his compost dissappears in relative to me terms. It is the internet famous question of "If Eskimos can grow icicles' then why can't I?" You may need double the quantity for example, if the temps and moisture is high
Temperature-moisture-content-and-water-activity-of-compost-at-80-cm-depth-and-daily.png
 

Meadowlark

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About the above chart...

So, the above chart is saying that the amount % of dry matter disappearance for alfalfa leaves, for example, is more at 14 days than at 112 days?

Interesting, but how is it that even possible?

By the way, I can grow icicles in July in Texas, but it isn't worth the effort.
 
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Charles Dowding lives in a cold place in relative to me terms. This impacts the speed at which his compost dissappears in relative to me terms. It is the internet famous question of "If Eskimos can grow icicles' then why can't I?" You may need double the quantity for example, if the temps and moisture is high View attachment 93147
I get the impression that in warmer climates people do the same thing, but rather than compost they just 'chop and drop'?

I think the main reason we use compost in the UK is because we have so many slugs!
 
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Have you considered raised beds? Even cutting the bottom off of large containers does the trick. I haven't been doing this for long enough to be sure it will continue to work, but essentially you get the benefits of growing in compost but rather than buy new each year you can just put a little layer of garden compost on top of each bed.

Charles Dowding has been testing the no-dig, raised bed approach (where all you do is add a couple of inches of garden compost to the top each year). He claims that after years, even without rotation of crops, he gets good results with no other supplements needed.

I don't see why it would work any less well if you turn containers into raised beds by cutting the bottoms off?

Yes I have considered raised beds but if I put my native soil back in it, I'm no better off. I would cost too much to fill up a bed with potting soil. I can get alot of carrots from that pot, more than I need, so that is the simplest and cheapest method for me to grow carrots. If the potting soil gets crappy from over doing it with carrots then I can just dump it out and start over.
 
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Yes I have considered raised beds but if I put my native soil back in it, I'm no better off. I would cost too much to fill up a bed with potting soil. I can get alot of carrots from that pot, more than I need, so that is the simplest and cheapest method for me to grow carrots. If the potting soil gets crappy from over doing it with carrots then I can just dump it out and start over.
The suggestion I'm making tho' (and it's something that I've started doing for the reasons you describe) is to just cut the bottoms off the pots. Then they become raised beds. I'm only a couple of years into doing this, but in my climate at least, cutting the bottoms off the pots and standing them on soil (any old crappy soil) makes the world of difference. I don't know why.

It could be because they are able to wick up the water they need; it could be because worms etc can easily get in and out of the pots. Some even talk of strands of fungus that connects everything in the garden.
 
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The suggestion I'm making tho' (and it's something that I've started doing for the reasons you describe) is to just cut the bottoms off the pots. Then they become raised beds. I'm only a couple of years into doing this, but in my climate at least, cutting the bottoms off the pots and standing them on soil (any old crappy soil) makes the world of difference. I don't know why.

It could be because they are able to wick up the water they need; it could be because worms etc can easily get in and out of the pots. Some even talk of strands of fungus that connects everything in the garden.

Oh. I didn't catch that. Thanks.
 

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Source?

Reference please.

I would like to understand how alfalfa, canola, and pelleted diet (whatever that is to be composted) all show higher disappearance at 14 days than at 112 days. Please explain how that is even possible. The longer it goes the less disappearance after 14 days?

Must be a phenom of some magnitude. More composting days = less dry matter disappearance.... a true miracle.
 
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Source?

Reference please.

I would like to understand how alfalfa, canola, and pelleted diet (whatever that is to be composted) all show higher disappearance at 14 days than at 112 days. Please explain how that is even possible. The longer it goes the less disappearance after 14 days?

Must be a phenom of some magnitude. More composting days = less dry matter disappearance.... a true miracle.

For clarity purposes I think the chart is upside down. I think the pictures below are simpler views. That first chart measuring disappearance starts at 0,0 so the more compost lost the higher the line.

3-s2.0-B9780120884490500054-f03-04-9780120884490.jpg

Typical-temperature-curves-for-static-composting-and-aerated-composting.png
 

Meadowlark

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I submit the chart is wrong.

Claiming that disappearance actually decreases over time is full of...well my compost. It is physically impossible for alfalfa disappearance at 14 days, roughly 70% on the chart...to go to 65% at 112 days on the chart.

The disappearance cannot drop...impossible... That would imply somehow the material is regenerating itself. Rather than simpler views, I'd would like to see a valid explanation of the original chart. IMO it is flat wrong. I assume you read it and agreed with it before posting?

Now, the rate of disappearance would drop over time.

Checking the reference provided, it appears that indeed the chart is wrong. The wrong variable is labeled on the horizontal axis. " DM disappearances reached a plateau and increased at a slower rate up to day 230. "

The change in the rate of disappearance is actually a second derivative we call acceleration in physics. It appears they are actually plotting the rate of change of disappearance and claiming that the rate slows down over time...not exactly Earth shaking. Wrong variable labeled and wrong units stated.

What point were you making with the chart originally?
 
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I submit the chart is wrong.

Claiming that disappearance actually decreases over time is full of...well my compost. It is physically impossible for alfalfa disappearance at 14 days, roughly 70% on the chart...to go to 65% at 112 days on the chart.

The disappearance cannot drop...impossible... That would imply somehow the material is regenerating itself. Rather than simpler views, I'd would like to see a valid explanation of the original chart. IMO it is flat wrong. I assume you read it and agreed with it before posting?

Now, the rate of disappearance would drop over time.

Checking the reference provided, it appears that indeed the chart is wrong. The wrong variable is labeled on the horizontal axis. " DM disappearances reached a plateau and increased at a slower rate up to day 230. "

The change in the rate of disappearance is actually a second derivative we call acceleration in physics. It appears they are actually plotting the rate of change of disappearance and claiming that the rate slows down over time...not exactly Earth shaking. Wrong variable labeled and wrong units stated.

What point were you making with the chart originally?
Time and Temperature impact the sheer quantity of compost needed in my garden. Between my area and someone in a cooler or drier clime like UK there are differences that can lead to supply problems here because it can leave pretty quickly.
 
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Time and Temperature impact the sheer quantity of compost needed in my garden. Between my area and someone in a cooler or drier clime like UK there are differences that can lead to supply problems here because it can leave pretty quickly.
For what it's worth, UK gardeners that promote 'no dig' approach admit that you need to buy in compost. Even bringing in begged and borrowed materials to compost you can't create enough.

From reading between the lines I think the real difference between UK and warmer climates is that we have a massive slug problem. In warm climates composting in place you can just follow nature and drop leaves, cover crops etc on the ground. But in the UK we NEED to use compost else we'll breed millions of slugs.

Meadowlark is growing his own compost (essentially) and composting it in situ. Again, difference in UK is that we tend not to have much land so can't afford to set aside beds in rotation for a cover crop that we can't eat.

I THINK the main difference between what Charles Dowding does and Meadowlark comes down to the UK need to compost first to keep slug numbers down, and lack of available land to grow crops specifically for composting.

Dowding doesn't rotate - he's experimented for several years and found no problems. HOWEVER, he's putting a layer of fresh compost on his beds every year. Also he doesn't think it beneficial to dig in - his experiments show no dig works best than identical amounts of compost dug in.
 

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