In my 7/28/14 (click on link and scroll down) post I mentioned experimenting with transplanting carrots and promised an update.
This past week I harvested the transplanted carrots.
Below are the results, my observations and what I plan to do next year as I am determined to learn if carrots can be successfully transplanted.
As you can see from the above photo, both varieties of carrots are short and stubby instead of long and tapered. About half of the harvest were crocked instead of long and straight. All are still usable though.
In the past, I have successfully transplanted carrots at LGHVG and my home garden. So why are the above transplanted carrots short, stubby and crocked? After mulling over this mystery for days, I have come to the following conclusions, of course I will need to prove my theory and that is one of the garden project for next year.
The differences were:
∗ The carrots I transplanted at LGHVG and my home garden were thinnings from direct sown seeds. The leaves were about 4-5 inches tall and the roots had formed long skinny carrots. These thinnings were sturdy and easy to handle. All I need to do was to make a deep hole using a narrow trowel and set the seedling into the hole, making sure the root went in straight (this was easy to accomplish).
∗ The leaves of the carrot seedlings from the cell packs were only 2-3 inches tall. The roots were tangled, formed a mass and sections broke off when I tried to pull apart the seedlings (reason for the short and stubby carrots). Some of the roots had formed very tiny carrots others were more hairlike. I believe the roots with the tiny carrots are the straight fat ones, the roots that were hairlike are the crocked ones (roots were most likely bent).
Solutions (I hope)
1. Use a larger and deeper container to start the seedlings.
Thinking: a gallon-size plastic milk container (or something similar that is at least 6 inches deep and has straight sides) instead of the cell packs that I used this year.
2. Thin the seedlings a bit (the ones in the cell pack were one solid mass).
3. Allow tiny carrots to form before transplanting seedlings or transplant the seedlings with tiny carrots only.
I am anxious to prove my theory so will do a spring experiment as well as a fall one. Stay tuned, I will bring you up-to-date from beginning to end (may be more than you care to know).
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Did not check the weather daily this past week. Had one bad frosty night and my container Okinawan sweet potato was frost bitten (above photo).
Figured it was as good a time as any to find out if any tubers had formed.
Tried to pull the whole plant out of the container but could not get it to budge. Had to break the container apart. As you can see from the above photo, the roots were dense, had matted together and tightly jammed in the container.
You can see from the above photos that sweet potato had began to form. The largest one is about the size of my thumb the others are about the size of my fingers. Would I have larger tuber if the original sweet potato slip was planted in the ground where the roots could roam freely and the tubers had room to expand (instead of being restricted in the container)? I do think so. Which means I could successfully grow Okinawan sweet potato in the Hudson Valley. Yes????? Another garden experiment for 2015.
Dave, Our Happy Acre, USDA zone 6b, grew Okinawan sweet potato this year and was successful, click here to see his results. I don’t think mine is the same variety as his. The leaves are similar but the skin colors are different. My Okinawan sweet potato slips were gifts from Angie, The Novice Gardener, click on link to visit her blog.
I am saving the thumb-size sweet potato to grow slips next year, but just in case the tuber does not make it to next February/March, I am rooting a few cuttings to grow as house plant and I will be able to get slips for planting.
My challenge now is where to plant it next year? My fenced in garden area is very limited, I have an ideal spot on my property but it is very close to where my neighbor’s woodchuck resides and I really do not wish to invite it to come any closer to my property (it and the deer love sweet potato vines). Will figure something out, have the whole winter to think about it.
Needed to know what the Okinawan sweet potato tasted like so steamed a few of the tubers/roots. Though skinny and not yet fully formed, the tubers, a bit stringy, were tasty and slightly sweet. The texture is drier than the purple sweet potato I currently grow. The flesh is a deep purple color (the one in the middle of the photo is peeled). The long arched root actually was edible (a pain to peel). Can you imagine the size of the tuber if that root (about 10 inches long) had matured?
Continuing with garden clean up this week, weather should be nice, 60’s today and tomorrow and no snow yet, who knows, I may get all my outdoor chores completed before the ground freezes and before it becomes too cold to be outdoor, that would be excellent.
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