Tuesday, April 26, 2011

An Ephiphany About Those Carrots

Okay, I intend to write later about Holy Week, and Easter, and to share some cute pictures of my adorable little baby. But it's already past midnight, and I can't afford to stay up that late!

But I needed to share a thrilling discovery I made while tutoring one of my biology students today. So remember how surprised I was last month to discover perfectly good, fresh carrots growing in my garden, even though they had been sitting in the ground all fall and winter? I figured they had preserved by being frozen in the ground instead of dying, or getting eaten by bugs like they should have.

Well, tonight, I was going over some plant chapters with my student. And we were discussing the difference between plant lifecycles - annuals, perennials, and the little-discussed biennial plants. The book noted that carrots and beets are both examples of biennial plants. The first year of life is focused on root growth, and the second year is for flowering. It all makes sense now! My carrots were supposed to stay alive all winter, because they were only through year one of their life cycle!

This is interesting news, because it means that of I were to plant a bunch of carrots at the beginning of one summer, I could continue to harvest fresh ones all through the following winter and spring. No need for canning or refrigeration. But - it should be noted - once the carrot starts its flowering phase in year two, it uses up all the lovely sugars that have been stored in the edible parts.

I just had to share this exciting realization with my student tonight. I think she maybe found it mildly interesting...or perhaps she was just humoring me...

No comments:

Post a Comment