From The Desk Of Finn’s Motel: A Walk In The Garden Part 3 (Chantenay Red Core Carrots)

Finn’s Motel mastermind/auteur Joe Thebeau gifted us in late 2006 with the amazing, out-of-nowhere Escape Velocity debut, a concept album about leaving behind the drudgery of cubicle life and suburban malaise for some greater, unknown existence. Even with the help (cough) of a January 2007 MAGNET profile, it took Thebeau nearly 11 years to finally follow it up with the outstanding new Jupiter Rex (Victory Over Gravity). Thebeau will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new Finn’s Motel feature.

Thebeau: I’ve only had one year where I had success with carrots. That year, we dug up a wheelbarrow full on the same day we were playing our wiffle ball final series (I’ve since retired from wiffle ball; a story for another day). Every year since then, I’ve either dug them up too soon, planted them too close together, had them eaten by some unknown animal or just skipped it entirely. When we did have luck with them, they were a bit on the bitter side. I don’t know if it’s because I dug them up too soon or because of the variety I planted. If we don’t have good luck this year I may put an end to the entire enterprise of raising carrots.

One theory for why we haven’t had good luck with carrots is that maybe our soil is too compacted for them to really take root. So, I switched to a new location this year in a slightly raised bed and really dug down deep while tilling ahead of planting. I chose Chantenay Red Core carrots in part because they are stump-rooted, meaning they aren’t supposed to grow as deep as the normal types. And how can you say no to a name as fine as Chantenay Red? Should we make wine from these? Where are we? Paris? Napa Valley?

The wiffle ball final series was almost always in September, though sometimes we tried to get it scheduled before school starts in late August. So, I guess I’ll mark the calendar this year for early September and cross my fingers that nothing eats these carrots before I get to them. Last year, I got the distinct impression that something was either digging down from above or coming up from below (do moles/voles eat carrots?) and taking bites out of the ripe ones. I dug them up early to try and beat them to the punch but by then the bigger ones all had bites out of them and the rest were too small for human consumption. I wonder if Elmer J. Fudd is available to keep watch?

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