Saturday, March 01, 2008

Crispy, Crunchy, Carrots

I live in a one horse town. That, of course, is just a silly figure of speech.

There must be at least 100 horses living in this town and last summer I got to know a few of them up close and personal.

I pretty much had to. I couldn't talk anyone else into mowing the lawn.

Meg, Dolly and the rest of the horses at Almosta Ranch have been lobbying hard for me to abandon the herd of heirloom tomato growers and plant lots more crispy, crunchy carrots.

Since my New Year's resolution is to plant with a purpose I intend to do just that.

Fun facts to know & tell:
  • Some carrots actually prefer my alkaline soils.
  • Many varieties are fast, fast growers: 50-70 days to maturity.
  • They come in designer colors, from lily white to cosmic purple.
  • The odds of producing a slender, lovely, perfectly-formed carrot in a Rocky Mountain garden is about equal to me winning the lottery. (Though I still hold out hope.)
Carrots have a tough time in my dense, clay soil. When they bump into underground rocks, they morph into strangely shaped monsters. Seeing as how I'm allegedly a master gardener, I feel foolish serving these mutants to my people-friends at the 4th of July picnic.

As prep for seed shopping weekend, I held a big, group meeting at the corral. The girls unanimously decided on the Parisiens. That's the fancy name for the carrot variety, Parmex. Fat golf ball size carrot nuggets easily handle rocky soil and cool mountain temperatures. Bonus! They mature in 2 short months.

Tip: If your friends are of the two-legged variety you may want to plant Sugarsnax. These picture-perfect carrots are tender and sweet and you don't even have to peel 'em!

* Carrots are underrated. They are one of the world's healthiest foods and if you believe everything you read, they also help you see in the dark.

* Parmex variety freezes very well. This will help the budget since the price of carrots went through the roof, this winter.

Now I buy carrots in bulk. (Finally! A legitimate excuse for a single woman to have a membership to Costco!)

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