Gardening at 46 degrees N. Latitude

Introduction By Larry G. Field
Thursday, January 17, 2019
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Did you see the 4.75 pound carrot pictured on page 2 of “The Laurel Outlook,” Thursday Oct. 25? I saw it! In fact, I grew it. I am an experienced gardener whom “The Laurel Outlook” has agreed to let write a series of articles intended to help gardeners from beginners to experts produce more and better garden crops and yields with less effort.

The first topic I will address is the human nature of making assumptions and presumptions. Such actions can be detrimental to growing your best garden; you should test, research and verify any question that pops into your head. A very important part of improving a garden is to verify or sample everything & every technique. How many of you, when viewing the previously mentioned carrot photo immediately thought, “boy those carrots must be woody” or “I bet carrots of that size taste terrible.”

In fact, most root crops can be grown to large sizes and generally taste slightly different, better, than less mature specimens. Example: Which tastes better, a green less mature apple or a ripe mature apple? Large root crops, excluding radishes, are NEVER “woody.” I grow carrots like those pictured every year because they are my favorite of all carrots. I bake them as individuals, like a baked potato, or I add them to pot roasts & stews. For those prone to counting calories, these large carrots, baked and kept readily available in a refrigerator are great eaten as is, cool, no salt, no butter added, fewer calories and great flavor.

When participating in “Farmer’s Market” I would occasionally take a variety of sizes of beets ranging from baby beets to massive beets the size of cantaloupes. Nearly every customer would joke or scoff at these giants; however, when asked, none had ever eaten such a large beet. The taste & texture of large beets is nearly the same as other beets; the primary difference is that the larger a beet, the less the waste. A one pound beet will yield considerable more than four beets that total one pound. The labor is also reduced with size, for example, which would be easier to prepare, one carrot that weighs two pounds or an entire two pound package of the small slender carrots sold by grocers?

Author qualifications

I am strongly opposed to making one-self sound important. When I was in school Laurel employed an extremely knowledgeable math teacher, Mr. Raymond Kramer. He had a quote that I love, it went something to the effect of “Self Appraisal is not Recommendation.” Regardless, my readers might question why I feel qualified to write on gardening. I will provide some background but not nearly all. The following only touches on my qualifica- tions; it is not intended to sound like “bragging.” Hopefully my writings will verify my qualifications.

I read a good deal of miss-information that has been published. I find it offensive. It frustrates me with the author and publisher. I hope that I do not provide any!

I started gardening in 1952, when working my parent’s garden was a “chore” assigned to my siblings and me. I was farm raised where I spent my early life helping with, gaining experience with, plant and animal crops including vegetable gardens. I have grown my own garden since 1963. I have grown nearly everything that can be found in a seed catalog including most items that are generally grown in the deep-south. I have also helped my parents raise nearly all types of farm animals.

I have an extended degree in biology with a diversified lifetime of study which qualifies me to teach any science or math at any grade level. I have spent an entire lifetime learning and teaching both as a professional and hobbyist.

I started writing in 1972 and have written about every form of publication including studies of plants such as “edible wild plants.” As an employee, and after retirement, I have written technical papers for 40 years including industrial topics used on several continents and college courses used in the US and Canada. I have done a fair amount of grafting, pruning, breeding and growing. I have grown for Billings’ grocers, participated in farmers’ market, donated tons to charitable causes, advised commercial growers and much more.

I hope that you will find my writing interesting and useful in your gardens.

Next week: Using seeds and seed selection.


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