Planting Carrots

| 5/30/2017 2:04:00 PM

I love carrots. Pulled from the ground and washed, they can be eaten as is or served up with dip. Steamed, they are a perfect vegetable to serve with chicken or turkey. Little rounds can be cut and tossed into soups. Grated, they are a delightful addition to sauerkraut. Having a root cellar, they are also super-easy to keep.

Carrots, however, are not easy to grow. Fresh fertilizer in the spring causes them to split so they have to be dosed in the fall. The main problem, though, is getting them to germinate. Carrots take from ten to fourteen days to come up out of the ground and, during this entire period, they are living in the top ¼ to ½ inch of soil. That means that this very top part of the soil needs to be kept moist the entire time. On warm, sunny, windy days these beds may need to be watered four or five times. If you have raised beds like I do, this is critical.

I only plant my carrots when I know that I am not going anywhere for the next ten to fourteen days. No trips, no visits to the seacoast, no kayaking and no journeys to see friends. I may be able to sneak in a lunch out or a visit to the local store, but I generally water the carrot bed both before I go and after I get back.. It can be helpful if there is a rainy period coming up.

So this year, I decided to try something different. I had bought some coconut coir to put on my icy patches (will write about that this fall) and I had quite a bit left over. This coconut coir is ground up coconut shells—it's completely natural and organic and it used to be pure waste. And it's super-absorbant and holds onto moisture quite well. So I decided to put a layer of coir just under the carrot seeds to see if that would help the watering issue.

I prepared my bed as usual adding soil amendments and loosening the soil with a broad fork although instead of adding fresh compost, I took a couple of half buckets of soil off of the top of the carrot bed.


6/19/2018 5:30:51 AM

Thank you Celeste for the multiple daily watering tip. Do you cover the seed bed with plastic or paper to keep them moist? Carrots have been a challenge to me and it's one of my goals to get successful crops of them this season. I started early but now have only a few surviving plants. I just tried again, both directly in the garden and in deep styrophome cups to be transplanted. fingers crossed. šŸ˜³ Thanks, Phil

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