"Dearest Good and Hopeful Gardeners of the Limestone regions of Guelph and environs!
One of our strongest dreams is to help one another to succeed in the smaller dreams we all have --like growing and eating fresh carrots --and to do so with a massive reduction in plastic use, cost, corporate dependency bullshit, and anxiety. There are ways to do everything.... secret small lovely local ways that cost us nothing... but they are not visible because corporate giants like Nestleand Monsanto and Costco have sort of gotten up in our faces and we can't see the ways that we are, and can be, in harmony and flow with where we already are, and do all the small lovely things we want to do --and really well --without having to take a gas-powered drive in our minivan to Canadian Tire for a plastic bag full of plastic shizzle to get that result.
Shorthand: learn to be where we already are and use with wisdom what we already have.
Carrots. Carrots love lots of things. They actually do. They are notoriously friendly in the vegetable world. One thing they love is calcium. (Just like you, Missy Human with your strong, long bones-of-white!). If you are a newbie urban gardener with a small raised bed or you are an old crusty farm-hand, you might know, or have learned from your desperate Google searches, that "carrots like a sweet soil." What the hell does that mean? Candy? Honey? Pouring brown sugar onto the seeds? Have I got "savory soil"? Confusion reigns.
It's pretty simple. Has to do with pH. (Don't confuse this with needing a PhD, which is just not true no matter what OAC says!)
It's soil chemistry. All soil has a chemistry. Whatever you try to grow plants in: sand, potting soil, African violet soil, clay, your front lawn. Everything. One aspect of that soil chemistry is the pH. Do you remember: Water is neutral. They give that a number: 7.0. Soils can be neutral too. Lots of plants grow best in water or soil that is pH neutral. Some soils are more acidic. Some soils are more basic ("alkaline"). They get that way from a million years of the plants that grow in them breaking down into molecules... and also from the rocks that break down into minerals that then make up the soil in that spot. And also from what is in the air, that gets rainedand snowed down into that soil. It's very beautiful, isn't it?
Some plants grow better in acidic soil. Blueberries need to be mentioned here because we are from the North. But some of you will be happier if you hear that that is true of Rhododendrons.
Some plants grow better in alkaline soils. Carrots happen to be one of those.
So there you are, at the Stephanie Drive Community Garden or up in College Heights or way out in the new East end, trying to grow little humble carrots for your dinner plate orpet rabbit named Rosie. "Oh my," you say. "Do I now need to worry about the soil that I have seeded those puny carrot seeds in??!!"Yes and no. The "yes" part is that you'll get better tasting lovely carroty carrots if your soil is a little bit basic. (Isn't that the point? Who doesn't want that? Keep reading)