The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Effects of broadforking on carrots

Summer harvest

Wednesday's carrot harvest put Monday's and Tuesday's to shame. These are Bolero carrots, which get much bigger (although not as tasty) compared to the Sugarsnax I harvested earlier in the week. The Bolero also seem much less affected by carrot flies, which is a good thing given this year's infestation.

Without the carrot-fly depredations, I was able to get a better feel for the difference between broadforked soil and unbroadforked soil. You may recall that I broadforked half of each carrot bed before planting in an effort to see what effect this soil-loosening step would have on the root crop. Overall yields seemed roughly comparable on the two halves of the bed, but I thought the carrots in the broadforked side averaged a bit larger and they were definitely easier to pull up. I'll get Kayla's unbiased conclusions on the last carrot bed tomorrow...if I can think of somewhere to store another near-bushel of carrots.

Rinsing carrots

Speaking of storage, upgrading the quantity of carrots we're growing so we can feed some to the goats means changes in our harvesting habits. In the past, I've sometimes stored carrots unwashed, but our heavy soil tends to really stick to the vegetables if I dig them during a rainy spell as I'm doing this year. Mark had the bright idea of filling up our huge sink with water, pouring in the carrots, then swishing them around. After draining out the muddy water, I then sprayed the carrots down well. The combination of quick-and-dirty cleaning techniques probably removed about 95% of the soil, which is pretty good for ten minutes of work! Now if my inventive husband can just put his mind to work figuring out where to put excess carrots when the weather is too hot to use our refrigerator root cellar....

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Anna, where'd you get your broadfork? I've been thinking about getting one for a while, but haven't pulled the trigger yet. Do you have a recommendation?
Comment by Stephen Thu Jul 9 09:38:50 2015
Stephen --- Good question! We begged a review broadfork from Meadow Creature. I'll admit that their tools are pretty pricey, but they're also much more solid than other broadforks. So, if you're sure you want to use a broadfork a lot, they're probably the way to go.
Comment by anna Thu Jul 9 14:11:47 2015

I tried using the drill brush technique to peel my potatoes earlier this year, and only succeeded in getting Really clean potatoes Really quickly. Which, hey, was still pretty awesome (and we usually like eating the peels anyway). I've been thinking about trying to clean other veggies, like carrots, the same way. It might work great, since agitation seems to be the key force at work, but I don't know how much the shape of the potatoes made a difference. I don't have enough carrots right now to give it a try, but it might be something that would be worth trying for y'all.

Here's a video on how it works:

Comment by Rae Thu Jul 9 14:46:03 2015

Hi Anna and Mark and all,

Broadfork is from Meadow Creature. I just bought one. Pricey $200 plus, but well worth it :). I got the same one Anna and Mark did, 12 inch. Fun to use. Works great. Much kinder on my body than rotiller.

Really rugged and it fits in my car where it is right now!


Comment by John Thu Jul 9 17:11:42 2015

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