I planted my winter vegetables exactly 70 days ago. According to the seed package, the carrots should be ready … today. When I pulled one out of the ground, I had in my hand what you see above – quite possibly the saddest-looking carrot ever. Pitiful is the only way to describe it.
And I had pulled up one of the larger carrot tops. As you can see from the photo at left, about half of the outer ring of carrots has greens that are only a few inches high. I am having slow and uneven growth, and the problem isn’t just with the carrots.
I planted another crop of radishes after I harvested my first round. Those radishes grew quickly. These, not so much. I planted the radish seeds shown at right in the first week of December; I should be harvesting radishes again by now. Instead, the plants have barely grown past seedling status. The uneven growth is evident in the radishes, too. The radishes with the largest leaves are on the far side of the barrel, just like the carrots.
I think I know why my veggies are growing slowly and unevenly.
They aren’t getting the same amount of sun. There’s a surprising range of time in the sun, even with plants in the same barrel. The tallest plants get stronger light earlier. In the summer the sunlight was pretty even, but the weaker winter sun is making a big difference.
They need more fertilizer. I put fertilizer in the barrels when I planted in late October, and I sprayed them once with fish emulsion about two weeks later. I haven’t done anything for my plants since then. Nutrients aren’t stored in the barrels, they only get washed away by watering. That’s one of the big differences between planting above ground and in the ground. I knew I needed to fertilize more often, and now I’m learning what happens when I don’t.
Starting today I’m going to spray with fish emulsion once a week. Hopefully that gets my vegetables growing once again.