Monday Recap: Getting Our Yayas Out

As I was down on my knees last week digging up the last of the spring carrots, I realized I was literally “getting my Yayas out” of the ground. I was also getting the Nelson carrots out, but it was the Yaya carrots that had Rolling Stones songs playing in my head. It is also possible that I had spent too much time working in the hot sun that day!

harvest of Yaya carrots

harvest of Yaya carrots

This spring I planted six different carrot varieties in short rows in a four foot square raised bed. Four of them (Yaya, Nelson, Baby Babette and Cordoba) had their own row, while the two purple varieties (Purple Haze and Purple Dragon) shared a row.

harvest of Nelson carrots

harvest of Nelson carrots

The Yaya and Cordoba varieties each yielded right at four pounds each. Purple Haze and Purple Dragon each yielded about two pounds, which means all these varieties produced at the rate of about one pound per lineal foot of row. This is in line with expected yields of 7 to 10 pounds per 10 foot row, as outlined in the document from the Virginia Cooperative Extension titled Root Crops. Since I dug the carrots at different times, and many have already been eaten, I don’t have any photos to compare them all at once.  Below is an image of the purple carrots that I dug a couple of weeks ago.

Purple Dragon and Purple Haze carrots

Purple Dragon and Purple Haze carrots

The Baby Babette is a French finger carrot that is meant to make small, uniform ‘baby’ carrots, so it isn’t fair to compare its yield with that of the other full sized varieties. It yielded right at two pounds, or half as much as the above varieties. The smaller carrots were nicely shaped and tasted good, but I doubt that I will plant this variety again because it just doesn’t make very good use of our limited space to grow carrots.

Baby Babette carrot compared to larger Nelson

Baby Babette carrot compared to larger Nelson

Nelson was the standout of the spring carrots, yielding a whopping 88 ounces/5.5 lb. The below photo shows the Yaya and Nelson carrots that I dug last week, and you can see the difference in the size of the pile of Nelsons on the left. While size isn’t everything, it is something, and Nelson has been a great performer here the last couple of years.

Nelson(L) and Yaya(R) carrots

Nelson(L) and Yaya(R) carrots

It’s hard for me to describe any taste differences in the varieties I grew this spring. They all tasted pretty good to me, but the spring carrots are generally not as tasty as ones that mature in the cooler weather of fall. My wife and I have been enjoying them all, and some of the Purple Haze went into a lentil salad my wife made last week. It is my turn to cook for the next two weeks and I am sure carrots will be on the menu several times.

lentil salad with Purple Haze carrots

lentil salad with Purple Haze carrots

In other carrot news, I got the fall crop planted last week. It’s in the bed where onions grew earlier, which is a tad bigger than the bed the spring carrots occupied, but not by much. I sowed five short rows of Bolero, Cordoba, Nelson, Purple Haze and Yaya, and I spaced these rows about 8″ apart. I could probably get another row or two in there if I spaced the rows a bit closer but for now I am happy with this arrangement. Bolero is a Nantes type storage type carrot that is supposed to improve in taste in storage. I got the seeds from Johnny’s. After sowing I covered the bed with doubled up Agribon row cover material, which I will keep in place until the carrot seeds have sprouted.

row cover material over bed of carrot seed

row cover material over bed of carrot seed

Carrots aren’t the only game in town around here. The summer lettuce is holding on, no doubt helped by the cooler than normal summer weather we are having lately. That’s Sierra in the below photo, a Batavian/crisphead type. It’s been nice for salads and sandwiches. Which reminds me I need to get some more lettuce planted and sown for fall.

Sierra lettuce

Sierra lettuce

The paste tomatoes are coming in now. A mix of Big Mama, Viva Italia and Juliet went into a batch of Homemade Tomato Ketchup my wife cooked up last week. It’s a good way to make about 10 pounds of tomatoes disappear, but it does take a lot of stirring and time to cook it down to the right consistency. We use a lot of this ketchup so we will try and make at least three batches of it this year. It’s tasty on a burger or fries, and it also makes a great base for BBQ sauce and other things like cocktail sauce for shrimp or my wife’s Cherry Chicken recipe.

homemade ketchup simmering

homemade ketchup simmering

A new paste tomato I’m growing this year is called Quadro. It’s an open-pollinated indeterminate type with medium sized blocky fruit, and so far it looks like a good performer here. If so it will join Ludmilla’s Red Plum as another o/p paste tomato that can stand our hot and humid growing conditions. Most don’t seem to cut it, but this one looks promising. I’ll continue to plant a lot of hybrid paste types too, since I have found a reliable group to grow here (Viva Italia, Health Kick, Rio Grande, Big Mama, and Super Marzano).

Quadro paste tomatoes

Quadro paste tomatoes

I made a Green Bean and Bulgur Salad with Walnuts yesterday with Fortex and Musica beans, plus some Sun Gold and Super Sweet 100 tomatoes. The pole beans are starting to slow down, but there are new blooms coming on and I think they are getting their second wind. It has been a great year for beans so far.

Green Bean and Bulgur Salad with Walnuts

Green Bean and Bulgur Salad with Walnuts

The greenhouse shelves are full of seedlings for fall veggies. I hope to begin getting some of those planted this week. I have the ground prepared here, and I hope to get the area at the Impact Community Garden tilled up tomorrow. These seedlings are all potted up in 3.5″ pots so they should really take off once they are in the ground. I also find that the birds are less likely to peck at the larger seedlings.

fall veggies fill the greenhouse shelves

fall veggies fill the greenhouse shelves

I also planted another round of cucumbers in the greenhouse bed, to replace the spring planted ones that got infested with spider mites. I will be using some insecticidal soap on these to hopefully keep the mites in check. I also hung some new yellow sticky traps up which should help. You can see them hanging down below the shelves in the above photo. The cucumber seedlings look tiny compared to the remesh cages, but they will take off and quickly reach the top of the cages. At that point I pinch out the growing point to force them to branch out, and to concentrate on growing nice big cucumbers.

Tasty Jade cucumber seedling in greenhouse

Tasty Jade cucumber seedling in greenhouse

I hope you have enjoyed this recap of what’s happening here in early August. To see what other gardeners are digging, drying, harvesting and cooking up, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays.

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28 Responses to Monday Recap: Getting Our Yayas Out

  1. Daphne says:

    Was the taste of Nelson as good as the Yayas? I grew Yaya and Mokum this year as my spring/summer carrot, with Mokum having the best taste. Their taste holds up pretty well to the heat, but you are right. The fall carrots will taste so much better. It is interesting that your Yayas and purple carrots produce the same. I find the purple ones don’t produce nearly as well. And since in past years I’ve always been short on carrots, I decided not to grow them. But I love their color. I’ve not tried Purple Dragon, but I did try Purple Haze.
    Daphne recently posted…Garden Share Collective – August 2014My Profile

    • Dave says:

      I think the Nelson had a somewhat milder flavor raw than the Yaya, but both were fine for my tastes. It was my first ever try at growing Purple Haze so we will see how they do this fall.

  2. Jenny says:

    That’s a LOT of carrots! So jealous 🙂 And very lovely tomatoes and home made sauce. Never tried Siera lettuce, it looks very pretty. I seeded a handful of veggies for winter garden and they’ll be hardened off in next few days before going to the garden as well.
    Jenny recently posted…First week of August HarvestMy Profile

    • Dave says:

      Thanks Jenny! I think I am finally figuring out how to grow carrots. Now I just need to find the ones that do well in our area.

  3. Norma Chang says:

    I have read a lot about yaya carrots but never grew them, should do so next year. Don’t plant much spring carrots due to limited space. Prefer the taste of fall carrots. The Sierra is a pretty lettuce.
    Norma Chang recently posted…Harvest Monday, August 4, 2014 – A Few First Harvests + Sugar Pod Peas TransplantMy Profile

  4. Dave's SFG says:

    Great haul of carrots. The onions are out of the beds so I have to get my carrots (Yaya and Mokum) planted. I will try covering them with row cover like you and Daphne and hope that helps with germination.
    Dave’s SFG recently posted…Harvest Monday 4 August 2014My Profile

  5. Will - Eight Gate Farm - NH says:

    What an abundance of carrots! Lucky (or skillful) you. I grew Nelson last year and it did well, but I ran out of seeds. This year was Mokum and Danvers, the latter of which is still maturing. And that Quadro paste tomato looks good. I’d like to try it, but by-and-large I grow determinates for paste since by definition they tend to come in at once. What’s your preference?

    • Dave says:

      I grow both determinate and indet. for the paste tomatoes. We tend to process the tomatoes several times, and it is nice to have them over an extended period. For that matter, the three det. types I grow (Viva Italia, Health Kick and Rio Grande) tend to ripen in succession, so even they provide for a longer harvest period.

  6. Michelle says:

    Oh, it’s a good thing that you aren’t close by, my Dave would be raiding your carrot stash and they would be gone in a flash! I can’t possibly grow enough carrots to keep him happy so I don’t even try. But I’ll have to try to get a fall/winter bunch going, there’s one yellow carrot I grew last year (it was in Renee’s three carrot mix) that he loves and I can’t buy it at the market, so I’ll try to grow some as a special treat for him.
    Michelle recently posted…Harvest Monday – August 4, 2014My Profile

    • Dave says:

      I’ve eaten the yellow carrots before but never grown them. We can eat all the carrot I grow too, though they last for several months before they disappear.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Wow, those carrots are impressive! I didn’t bother with carrots this spring because we seem to go from 70 degrees to 100 degrees within a week, but this is a great reminder that I should sow for fall carrots. And that’s a great tip about using a row cover to aid germination!
    Jennifer recently posted…harvest monday: August 4th 2014My Profile

  8. Margaret says:

    Beautiful carrots & so large! According to the calculations you gave, my carrots were basically 1/2 the size they should have been…I had a sneaky suspicion that this may be the case. Hopefully the fall ones will do better – I purchased a couple of really quick maturing varieties so we shall see.

    I’m growing Sierra lettuce right now as well, my 2nd round since the spring. I really love it in almost every respect – taste, texture and how well it keeps in the fridge.
    Margaret recently posted…Harvest Monday – August 4, 2014My Profile

  9. mac says:

    Pretty lettuce and beautiful carrots, I don’t have enough space for carrots but always grow some small varieties in containers for fall harvest.
    Your bean salad looks delicious.

  10. Mike R says:

    My tomatoes have been hit hard by leaf blight this year and it doesn’t look like they will last beyond month’s end. I’m still looking for a good disease-resistant indeterminate sauce tomato. This year I’m growing Pompeii from Renee’s seeds. Next year I may try Super Marzano and Juliet.
    Mike R recently posted…Monday August 4My Profile

    • Dave says:

      I tried Pompeii and I think it was just average here. I like Big Mama, Super Marzano and Juliet, plus Golden Rave is a nice indet. pale yellow paste tomato. I mix it in with the reds for sauces and such.

  11. Julie says:

    That’s a lot of carrots! I need to explore some carrot varieties for spring, the ones I grew definitely aren’t very sweet (or straight!). I definitely need to work on our clay soil much more to get decent carrots here. I’ve never thought of making ketchup. I might have to try that. I also need to grow more hybrid tomatoes next year. Early blight has taken a toll on all of my heirlooms this year.
    Julie recently posted…Harvest Monday 8/4/14My Profile

    • Dave says:

      I worked a bit of sand and a lot of compost in the beds where I grow carrots. I try and add compost every year, and work a fork in as far as I can to loosen the soil. It all seems to work, but then our soil is silty loam to begin with.

      I always grow heirloom tomatoes, but I also grow hybrids because I can depend on them to produce every year.

  12. Hsin says:

    Are you using shredded newspaper as mulch? How do you find it? I wanted to try it but thought I read somewhere that is didn’t work well…

    • Dave says:

      It’s actually shredded paper, from junk mail, printer paper, etc. It works well for me here. So does shredded newspaper, for that matter. Shredded paper makes a great mulch and it seems to break down nicely after the season is over. If I don’t need it for mulch then I put it on the compost pile and compost it.

  13. Autumn says:

    If my carrot harvest was what the Virginia extension says it could be, I would have a lot of preserving to do! I know that I didn’t thin them well enough and then pulled them too early though. Your green bean bulgur salad looks great. Since we have beans, tomatoes, and parsley growing in the garden right now, I should make the recipe.
    Autumn recently posted…Harvest MondayMy Profile

    • Dave says:

      I am still learning how to grow carrots, that’s for sure. Thinning is always hard for me, and I’m not sure if I thin them enough or not. They are producing pretty well, so I guess my thinning isn’t too far off the mark.

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Nelson is my favorite, it always does well for me.
    Thanks for the bulgur salad recipe, I’ll try it soon.

  15. Financial forager says:

    Those carrots look great. I got a late start on mine. I am hoping to get a good harvest this fall. Great idea for mulch, shredded paper. I am going to have to try that one. Thanks.

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