Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How We Plant Carrots

Beautiful, delicious carrots.  If we had to choose our favourite veggie, we'd probably vote for carrots. There is nothing like pulling out a fresh carrot, wiping the soil on your pants and crunching away.
Last year, we had an amazing crop of carrots, but the years before that were a little sparse.  So, we're trying to replicate what we did last year.  

Carrots are a cool weather crop, so it's fine to plant them before the May long weekend (our first average frost free day).  They take about 10-14 days to germinate, which seems really long compared to peas, beans or lettuce.  They need even soil moisture (damp not puddling) throughout germination and the early growing stage.  They also prefer lighter soil so the roots can grow long and straight.

Knowing this little bit of carrot trivia, here's how we plant carrots.

Because the soil down by the river is such heavy clay, we add as much compost and top soil as we can to give those roots some nice soft soil to grow in.  We made a long 2 foot wide bed of compost and 4 way soil mix.  The bed is slightly raised (1 to 2 inches) from the surrounding area.  Once we had the bed where we wanted it, we sprinkled the carrot seed on top of the bed.  Carrot seed is fairly small, so spacing them according to what the package says can be tricky.  I've heard that mixing it with sand may help.  We just pinched a few seeds in our fingers and sprinkled away.  We'll definitely have to thin them out later.  Instead of planting in single rows, we planted a 2 foot wide by 12 foot long bed.
Adding compost from home.
After seeding, we covered the seeds with a light layer of compost.  Then we watered the bed and covered the whole thing with a light layer of straw/hay.  The straw should help keep the bed moist, as long as we keep watering it, that is.
Covering the seed with  a light layer of compost.
Covering with a layer of straw/hay to keep in moisture.
We planted three varieties (from south to north):

  • Scarlet Nantes from Heritage Harvest Seed
  • Purple Haze from McKenzie Seed
  • Red Cored Danvers from McKenzie Seed

Good luck!


WolfSong said...

I have a 4x6' space that I simply broadcast my carrot seeds into. I gave up on rows for carrots, beets and lettuce many years ago. I have found they grow better scattered, and, the Kid has a great time doing it!

WolfSong said...

That would be a 4' x 6' space... ;)