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Chris's Carrots

How to Grow a Freakish Crop of Halloween Scare-rots

This Franken-mangled carrot crop was the result of my totally green gardening skills.

By Chris Dunmire

Okay, so you know how they say you have to "thin the carrots" when you're gardening? Well, that's one step you can't ignore because when you don't thin the carrots, you'll end up with freakish twisted orange root matter things resembling the above (although they are cool-looking the first time you see them, and my crop naturally lent themselves well to my next best gardening joke just in time for Halloween. I present for your amusement, the most authentic looking Scare-rots Garden Seed Packet.

Yes, "thinning" in garden jargon means after you sow your seeds and start getting clumps of carrot plants growing too close together, you have to "thin" them, or pull some out and discard so the one plant left has enough soil space and nutrients devoted to it to expand and get properly nourished and become a normal-looking carrot root just like the ones that fill the blue and orange bags in the produce section at your favorite grocery store.

Chris's Carrot ClumpsShould things be so easy for me? Well, being a first-year carrot grower, here's what I did instead: I started my carrot plants in biodegradable Jiffy Pots® back in May along with my sunflower children. I followed the package directions... well, maybe I improvised a little bit and added more seeds in each dirt hole than I should have (mistake #1), but I thought I was on track when the carrots started growing. Those cute little green tops just tickled the mother carrot in me, but when I started seeing multiple carrot tops growing out of the same soil spot I should have thinned them out properly.

Not one to waste, I thought I could creatively handle the situation (mistake #2) and pull the entire clump of carrots out, separate each growing carrot plant, and replant them straight back into the garden soil (mistake #3, and a lot of work to boot!). In theory this should have worked. However, I must have replanted the single carrots too close together, and so as they began to grow, some of them fused into one plant, resulting in my multi-limbed, twisted, and deformed carrots (yeah, yeah, I know there's a naughty one in there too <blushes a deep shade of orange >, but let's not root into the topic of carrot-envy, shall we? •

Next: Print the Fake Joke Scare-rots Seed Packet »

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