Analysing our 2022 garden: carrots, turnips and beets

Okay, it’s that time! I’ll be working on a serious of posts, going over how our 2022 garden went, what worked, what didn’t, and what didn’t even happen at all. This is help give us an idea of what we want to do in the future, what we don’t want to do in the future, and what changes need to be made.

This year was quite a mixed bag, when it came to our root vegetables!

Let’s start with the ones we had more success with. Carrots.

We planted 4 varieties of carrots in 2022. Two varieties were seeds left over from the year before, and one was included in a seed order as our free gift. The older seed got planted between tomatoes and onions/shallots in the low raised bed by the chain link fence. The new seeds were planted in a low raised bed in the main garden area, along with a couple of varieties of turnips.

The Results:

The old seed – Kyoto Red and Napoli – seemed to start out well enough, but like so many other things planted in this bed, they were affected by the flooding. Especially at the end near the vehicle gate, which is the lowest area.

Still, we did manage to get a small harvest of both. A couple of Kyoto Red (the darker carrots on the right) bolted, so I left them to go to seed, but they never finished blooming before it got too cold.

Then there were the Uzbek Golden carrots (the free seeds) and the Black Nebula carrots.

It’s hard to tell in the above photo, but we got a lot of Black Nebula carrots – and a surprising amount of Uzbek Golden carrots! The free seeds didn’t have a lot in the packages, so I was pleasantly surprised by the quantity that we harvested.


As you can also see in the above photo, the turnips didn’t do so well!

We planted three varieties of turnips. Gold Ball, Purple Prince and Tokyo Silky Sweet. One variety we got as free seeds, Gold Ball, were planted near the Uzbek Golden carrots, and then the Purple Prince you see in the photo were planted at the end of the same bed.

More of those, plus the Tokyo Silky Sweet, were planted in other beds, shared with onions, spinach, and peppers.

Those were a total loss!

The Gold Ball turnips germinated quickly – and were just as quickly completely destroyed! Something completely decimated their leaves. The Purple Prince also were badly eaten, but enough survived to get that tiny little crop you see in the picture.

In the other beds, I know I saw some start to germinate but they, too, promptly disappeared! A total and complete fail.


Finally, there were the beets. We had four varieties to plant. They went into a small bed in the old kitchen garden, protected by netting.

They, too, were a complete loss!

The Results:

They had a decent germination rate, but that’s about it. They barely grew at all. Eventually, we took the netting off and pretty much abandoned the bed, other than watering them and occasionally weeding out the mint that kept trying to take the bed over again.

When it was time to clean up the bed for next year, however, we did find a tiny, sad little crop!

That’s all we got.

This is the third year we’ve grown beets and have never had a really good crop, but this was by far the worst year. We can’t even blame it on things like deer and groundhogs eating them! Nor can we blame the flooding we had, because this garden is next to the house, and slightly elevated. There was no flooding in that garden, even with the sump pump’s hose ejecting into one of the paths. Everything drains away from the house. Even one of the bottom corners, which was near where water collected and formed a moat around the storage house, is elevated enough to not be affected by the flooding.


Conclusion:

With the carrots, things went pretty good, all things considered. For 2023, we will be trying a different variety of orange carrot, mostly because of how much the Napoli carrot seeds increased in cost. We enjoyed the flavour of all the carrots we grew, and I’ve ordered more Uzbek Golden carrots as well. I really like their nice, crisp texture.

As for the Black Nebula carrots, they are good, and I’m glad we tried them, but we won’t be growing them again; at least not any time soon. These are a very long carrot, and our soil compacts very quickly, which made thinning by harvesting pretty much impossible to do. When cooked on their own, their colour is very dramatic, but when cooked with something else, like in a soup or stew, their intense colour can make things look very… unappetizing! We still have lots, stored in a bin in a chilled location, and have discovered they very quickly become white, with capillary roots! It makes them look moldy. 😄 This isn’t a bad thing. Those little roots are collecting just enough moisture to keep the carrots firm and crisp, but they have SO MANY of these little roots, it actually makes it hard to clean the carrots in preparation for cooking.

So for 2023, we will still be growing carrots, but just two varieties.

As for the turnips… I don’t know that we’ll bother growing them again in 2023. When we do try them again, we will have to make sure that they are under floating row covers, as soon as the seeds have been sown. Turnip greens are supposed to be good for salads, too, but we never had a chance to find out if we liked them or not. I would have loved to try the Gold Ball variety. The main reason we wanted to grow turnips in the first place is because their bulbs are a good storage crop, making them something we want to include in our goals of self sufficiency. So we will definitely be trying them again. Just maybe not in 2023.

Finally, there are the beets.

I don’t know what went wrong with those. They should have done well, where they were. My daughters like beets, however, so we did order one variety to grow in 2023. I think we’ll have to be more selective on where we plant them.

Root vegetables are definitely going to continue to be a challenge for us, given what the soil it like here. It will take time – and more raised beds! – for us to amend the soil until root vegetables can reach their full potential. Which is something we’ve already been working on, and have long term plans for.

The Re-Farmer

3 thoughts on “Analysing our 2022 garden: carrots, turnips and beets

  1. If it makes you feel any better, I have never had any luck with root vegetables, either. My problem is the gophers and root knot nematodes (RKN). RKN get into everything and destroy the roots so that the roots no longer take up water and nutrients, eventually killing the plant. I have had gophers take off with a whole 2 1/2 foot tomato plant underground–nothing left but four top leaves in the sinkhole! Evidently, they like sandy soil–probably easier for them to dig in. The quash bugs and vine borers get what the gophers don’t of my squash. I can usually grow tomatoes and eggplant for a while until the RKN kill the roots. Whiteflies get my beans and peas. I haven’t had a garden over the past three years because I have been going to school full-time while working full-time, but I can’t wait to get out there again!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, my goodness!!! That’s insane!

      We had groundhogs devastate our garden the year before, but we don’t have gophers. What a horrible pest!

      Nematodes are something I’m just learning about. How do you find out if you have them (aside from the damage they do)?

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      • Unfortunately, RKN are microscopic, so they can’t be seen. I don’t have groundhogs, but I have gophers, moles, and even some rabbits here at the edge of town in an old housing development (at least 50 years old). I have a section in the backyard that was fenced off with chain link when we purchased the home–perfect to keep the dogs out of the garden! However, I am trying to work more toward self-sufficiency with herbs and vegetables rather than the flowers that I have had for years (unless they are edible/medicinal flowers). I will never be able to accomplish that until I get all raised beds with bottoms that prevent the rodents from burrowing into them. I thought about putting chicken wire over black plastic (for the RKN), but I need filler that won’t cost me an arm and a leg. I have some ideas from my research depending on how deep I want them.

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