I am a struggling carrot farmer. Packets of seeds. Different locations within the space. Different weather patterns, sowing dates, and groups of planting hands. Gorilla planting at random when watering. Watering frequently. Pre-sprouting. Row covers. Gleaning scraps of information from the successful carrot farmers I know. They’ve all been attempted.
Let me explain. I coordinate a school garden. I plan the crops, the rotations, the amendment schedule and IPM techniques and timing. I coordinate the students, the teachers, the garden club, and the irrigation. Somehow, I can’t quite coordinate the soil to grow a substantial crop of carrots.
The carrots we’ve managed to grow were fat and tasty, and there is a meager amount of later-planted carrotlings still pushing their way through their sparsely sprouted rows. There’s progress. But carrot farmer, I currently am not.
I see this carrot-failure as a small metaphor for the general way of things lately. I’ve been in a real mental funk, feeling like no matter the new tools I gather and employ, the result is still the same. Lackluster. Not the success I had envisioned.
In light of the set-backs and failures, both personal and carrot-related, I’ve been taking stock of the situation(s). I have a few more tools up my sleeve, a little more determination and knowledge with each new attempt. I tend to not give up easily. In fact, I’m more likely to summon the kind of rage orange-haired people are known for and use it to my full advantage.
Those carrots will grow in that garden. They’ve got great soil and an ideal microclimate. If they’re willing to grow in my home garden with its frequently neglected and weed-infested clay beds, those carrots must grow in the school’s garden. I’m insistent.
Harvesting at least one substantial row of carrots is my personal gardening mission for the season. We will have a good and healthy carrot crop come autumn. I’ve the rage on my side. :)
Carrot + Zucchini Oat Bran Muffins, makes 6 jumbo or 12 regular muffins
Recipe updated: 10/5/21 These muffins are heavily adapted from a recipe in The Sprouted Kitchen that I slowly adapted over months and years. We keep coming back to them and each time the muffins turn out better. They are a perfect way to begin a laidback summer breakfast AND they use up summer squash or zucchini and carrots–because let’s be real, I have five summer squash in my fridge from the last two days harvests, at least six more growing rapidly on the plant, and tons of squash blossoms and bees making more magic happen. I’ve EVEN managed to grow a successful crop of carrots in my home garden. If you’re a gardener, know one who shares, or have a CSA box, you too are probably trying to sneak veggies into anything and everything at this stage of summer! 1 cup non-dairy milk
1 tsp. raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup / 56 gr coconut oil
1 egg or 1 flax egg (1 Tbs. ground flax seed + 3 Tbs. hot water)
1 Tbs. blackstrap molasses
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped pitted dates
3/4 cup grated carrots (about 1 large carrot)
3/4 cup grated zucchini or yellow summer squash (about one small squash)
1 1/2 cups / 180 gr gluten-free flour mix
3/4 cup oat bran
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
- In a large bowl, pour in the non-dairy milk and vinegar. Whisk and let sit for a couple minutes. Then measure in the oil, egg, molasses, and vanilla. Stir in the carrots, zucchini, and chopped dates.
- In a small bowl, mix together the flour, bran, sugar, baking powder, soda, xanthan gum, salt and spices. Then pour into the wet mixture. Miix gently until all the ingredients just come together.
- Scoop out the batter evenly into a prepared muffin pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees F.