You may remember that one of my gardening resolutions for the year was to grow better carrots. Last year's carrots were pretty much pathetic: stunted, forked, riddled with black lines. Ick. We ate some, but it wasn't the pleasure it should have been.
Today I turned a corner in my development as a gardener: I pulled the first two carrots from this year's garden and they are perfect! Even though I picked them early, they are long, beautifully tapered, and completely unblemished. Of course now that I write that, an infestation of some weird bug will descend tomorrow and turn them all into the mutant carrots I had last year....
But for now they are wonderful, and I am feeling quite tickled with myself.
The secret? Using row covers from the time I seeded until the greens were about 8 inches high (I would have left the cover on longer, but it was needed elsewhere). And I think planting in a bed where I grew potatoes last year helped, too - all the digging and re-digging and digging again for all the little AWOL potatoes meant the soil was deeply dug and beautifully loose, perfect for growing long, straight carrots.