SpadeRunner

Baby carrot harvest; using thinnings

As my rows of carrots grow I occasionally remember to thin some out to make room for the main crop. The thinnings make a handy baby carrot crop for the kitchen.

Baby carrot bunch, close

baby carrots fresh from the garden

Growing up I learned that you could tell when carrots were ready by feeling for a shoulder just under the soil surface. That’s certainly how to tell if they’re mature, but it doesn’t mean that the smaller ones are somehow ‘unripe’ for eating. It makes sense to leave the main crop to get to full size, but it also makes sense to collect the thinnings as baby carrot bunches for eating.

There are some carrot cultivars that are more suited to use as baby carrots, such as one that I have, called ‘Little Finger’, but these ones today are just from my home-saved seeds from an ‘All Seasons’ plant.

As sowing carrot seeds tends to involve a bit of luck with the weather for me, I tend to sow fairly thickly. If we have a run of rainy days after sowing then I’m likely to get thick rows of seedlings that need thinning.

I was weeding this morning and noticed that it was time for a second thinning of the carrot rows. As usual, thinking I’d pull just a few carrots, there turned out to be quite a bunch.  Some of the resulting carrots were getting to a good size, too.

We tend to use carrots as an ingredient in the kitchen, rather than as a vegetable on its own, but really the best use for baby carrots, I think, is just to boil them lightly and serve with butter and honey. It’s salmon for dinner tonight, so they will be perfect.