carrotsWhat’s with the carrots? I dug them up from our very modest kitchen garden – tiny, really –  and was amazed at their shape – not at all what one expects based on the carrots available in shops. Mine have very convoluted shapes, tortured ones, even. What inspires the carrot to go for twist? It reminded me of a gardening book that’s very high on my lists of favorites: Second Nature by Michael Pollan. If I remember correctly, he solved the puzzle above by thinking like a carrot. “What would matter most to a carrot as it struggled to get past the pinkie stage? And it came to me: shoulder room. I pictured a cross section of the first few inches of my soil and it was a Number 6 train at rush hour, jammed with cramped orange commuters. My carrots stood too close together; I had been insufficiently ruthless when it came to thinning the seedlings.” “And I imagined something else, too: that a carrot, aspiring to drive its taproot straigth down into the earth, would want an airy soil, no hard clumps or stones to impede its thrust.”  page 119

I gave these carrots plenty of shoulder room, but cannot vouch for the airiness of my soil. My garden keeps throwing up bricks,  shards of pottery, pipe stems even. All from way long ago – we used to be part of a nunnery – all travelling to the light of day through the joint efforts of spade, rain and frost.


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