Harvest Monday, November 10, 2014 – Experiments Update (Carrots Transplant & Okinawan Sweet Potato)

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.

transplanted carrots (07006)

Carrots from transplants

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).

◊ ◊ ◊

container Okinawan sweet potato (07009)

Frosted Okinawan Sweet Potato plant in foam ice chest

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.

Okinawan sweet potato (07017)

Mass of Okinawan Sweet Potato Roots

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.

Okinawan sweet potato (07019)Okinawan sweet potatoOkinawan sweet potatoYou 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.

Okinawan sweet potato slips (07052)

Okinawan Sweet Potato Cuttings Rooting in Water

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.

Okinawan sweet potato (07038)

Steamed Okinawan Sweet Potato Tubers/Roots

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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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

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About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
This entry was posted in Gardening, Harvest Monday, Heritage vegetable garden, Husdon Valley, Locust Grove, New York, Uncategorized, Vegetables and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to Harvest Monday, November 10, 2014 – Experiments Update (Carrots Transplant & Okinawan Sweet Potato)

  1. daphnegould says:

    I hope your carrot experiment works next year. It would be lovely to have early carrots.

  2. Angie@Angie's Recipes says:

    When it comes to gardening, I have so much to learn from you. I tried once growing sweet potatoes, but again no success. I guess it’s just too cold over here to grow them.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Angie,
      Try growing a short season, also known as early, variety. It is cold where I am also, that’s why I was so surprised that the Okinawan sweet potato actually formed little tubers.

  3. Elisa says:

    Norma, Love to follow your garden experiments, have learned so much.

  4. Norma, I commend your continued dedication. I learn so much each Monday.
    Have a wonderful week ahead.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  5. Judy K. says:

    Hi Norma,
    I too love your experiments and all your follow up information!!! Love your blog.

  6. It is interesting to hear about your carrot experiments. I never knew carrots could be successfully transplanted, and you have documented what it takes. I makes sense that the larger ones with carrots forming would make straighter carrots. I hope the spring planting works out well for you.

    Those Okinawa roots do look different from what I grew, and what I bought in Hawaii. Though the leaves look very much alike. I will be interesting to see how it does in garden soil. I hope you figure out how to keep the deer away! Bird netting might do the trick, if you can keep it over the vines.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Dave,
      Bird netting over the sweet potato vines will keep the deer away but not the woodchuck, have to give this matter some serious thoughts. I am looking forward to reading about the color, taste and texture of your Okinawan SP. Do post a cross section.

  7. Margaret says:

    Well, even short, curvy carrots are better than none! I’m really looking forward to your experiments next year.

    I’m hoping to grow some sweet potatoes in pots next year too – like Daphne did this past summer on her front porch. I’m really going to have to read up on which varieties to try this out on as I am a complete sweet potato growing novice…didn’t even know what slips were until last year!

  8. Michelle says:

    You do always have some interesting experiments. Good luck!

  9. dvelten says:

    Will be following your carrot experiment, maybe it’s something I can use. And how many slips did you plant in the tub? Maybe fewer slips might yield more potatoes? But certainly if they were in-ground with room to roam, that should increase the yield.

  10. Kristy says:

    I love all of your experiments in gardening Norma. How do you keep track of everything? Do you have journals or calendars? You have so many experiments and such a successful garden, I can’t even imagine keeping track of everything. 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Kristy,
      Thanks, glad you enjoy my experiments. I have neither a journal nor a calendar but do have a spreadsheet that my son-in-law created for me also my camera dates my photos and that is a great help.

  11. thank you for updating! i was wondering! i will definitely be transplanting while weeding from now on — that thought had never really occurred to me 🙂

  12. Susie says:

    I guess I’ve been lucky and never had a problem with carrots germinating – I had no idea markets sold carrot transplants. I have wanted to try sweet potatoes for a few years now, I really need to stop wanting and just do it!!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Susie,
      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. You will find growing sweet potatoes a lot of fun and am looking forward to reading about your success.

  13. That’s interesting that you got purple-skinned tubers from the Okinawan SP. I brought my original tuber from Hawaii and the skin/peel was cream-colored while the flesh deep purple. The one year I managed to get good-sized tubers, they were all cream-colored. Maybe they somehow mutated. That’s pretty cool! :D. I actually never even harvested my SP this year. They grew in the ground but I figured I wasn’t going to get anything since I planted them so late and the groundhog kept “harvesting” the leaves. Maybe I should take a look and dig up what’s left to see what happened. Thanks for the update, Norma! XO

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Angie,
      The Okinawan SP that Dave of Our Happy Acres grew also has cream colored skin. Do you think the skin color of mine would get lighter if the tuber grew to edible size? Hope you are getting a harvest this year and would love to know if you got cream-colored skin.

  14. Juliana says:

    I love seeing your harvest Monday…so interesting these Okinawan potatoes…so cute…I hope giving them more space next year you will be able to harvest larger ones…although I find these very cute.
    Have a wonderful week ahead Norma 🙂

  15. My grandparents have also transplanted carrots before with the same results – they still look healthy, just a different shape no?
    They look very cute though, but fingers crossed next time they are larger and tapered as you want!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  16. ChgoJohn says:

    This is great, Norma. You’re so dedicated in searching for the reason behind things. I hope you’re right about the carrots and, frankly, I cannot wait to see the results once you use deeper containers. Good news, too, about the sweet potatoes. I hope you can find a spot for them in next year’s garden. It would be a shame for your experimentation to be for naught.

  17. I kind of like the stubby carrots! Your reasons behind the misshape sure makes sense to me! You are so good about going back tot he drawing board to make next season even better!!

  18. Ms. Norma, if I had a garden, you would definitely be the woman I would follow to make my garden as great as yours. You are a master at finding the solutions to gardening issues and your produce is always amazing

  19. I tried and tried to transplant carrots when I lived in Florida. I thought the sandy soil would work well but I was never successful. If you learn the trick I hope you’ll share. 🙂

  20. The weather has been unseaonsably warm here–75, can you believe it? I’m still admiring the beautiful color of your carrots, Norma–beautiful!

  21. i thought that we’re all physician who only did the transplant, lol
    your work with your plants is awesome my friend….

  22. cheri says:

    Hi Norma, I am growing sweet potatoes to in a large pot, now I’m thinking that my pot may not be large enough. Hope your carrot experiment works!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Cheri,
      Depends on the SP variety. I have grown the variety purple (a short season/early variety) successfully in a large container, one plant in a container yielded about 3 pounds.

  23. Goodmorning Norma! I am in astonishment of what the Okinawa sweet potato leaves did when faced with cramped quarters. Nature always has a way of adapting. I bet they were super sweet and delicious. You have to love the root vegetable season so many delights. Have a super day! BAM

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Bam,
      The Okinawan SP was sweet and delicious. Wish I knew the root system was so robust and needed lots of room to roam, next year, just need to find a good sunny spot for them.

  24. Lrong says:

    Hi Norma… I had also transplanted some carrots… I did last season too, and they all came out crooked… would be interesting to see how your experiment goes… as for the sweet potato, I would imagine that they will do better if planted on the ground…

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Lrong,
      I had successfully grown sweet potatoes in container before that’s why I decided to plant the Okinawan SP in container also, not realizing its root system was so robust, next year they are going into the ground.

  25. Sophie33 says:

    A good harvest from your garden! The red beets look great & your right parsnip looks huge!!!! MMMMMMM! Those special purple sweet potatoes & roots look yummy! 🙂

  26. I hope all is well with you, Norma. I’ve been under water with work, health and holidays until now, so have not been on top of the blogs I follow. I do hope you had wonderful holidays and that your new year has started off well.

  27. Pingback: Harvest Monday, March 9, 2015 – Indoor Seed Starting | Garden to Wok

  28. Pingback: Harvest Monday, February, 22, 2016 – Carrots Transplant Update | Garden to Wok

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