The great carrot experiment

Every year, I have planted carrots, and every year I harvest some, but not enough. Carrot seeds take a long time to germinate and need moist soil, and struggle with my heavy clay soil. But they are so good! This year, I thought I’d try them in the raised bed that formerly held the mint.

Dan cleaned out all the mint earlier this spring, and we’ve kept it weeded waiting to see if any mint or windflowers returned. The bed has sandy, rock-free soil, recently worked, perfect for carrots. But still, how to get them to sprout in the hot weather? I’ve frequently read that you should use a board atop the row to conserve moisture until germination, but that didn’t work for me. Then I read a post on the Tiny Farm Blog about using burlap over the carrot seeds to keep them moist and suppress the weeds until germination. Now that seemed like an idea I could use. I dimly remember my mother doing something similar, and then El posted about it on her blog. Burlap is re-useable and readily available for a reasonable price, and could be used in the winter to protect favored shrubs like my holly bushes.

So, I gave it a try. I picked up 8 yards of 44″ wide burlap , enough to cover the raised bed and overlap a bit in the middle. In a perfect world I would have used 2 layers but I’m around enough right now to keep it damp by watering daily if needed. And because one experiment isn’t enough, I tried a second experiment. Who needs a control group, I’ll just add variables galore.

To reduce the need for later thinning, I tried making homemade seed tape with toilet paper. I rolled out enough toilet paper to make a row across the short side of the bed, and misted it with water. I carefully spaced out my carrot seeds, about 2″ apart, placed the seeds down the center of the paper, then carefully folded the paper in thirds over the seeds, and misted again. Once they were dry, I folded them loosely and took them out to the garden to transplant. It was a little windy, which was a bit troublesome and the paper blew a bit, but I hope I’ll have 18 rows of well spaced carrots sprouting in a couple of weeks, and carrots to eat by the end of July.

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4 Responses to “The great carrot experiment”

  1. Kelly Says:

    Your seed tape idea is effing brilliant! I can’t wait to give it a go. Thanks.

  2. deb Says:

    I agree with Kelly, how did you think of that? Great idea.

  3. sugarcampny Says:

    Your idea is fantastic. I will give it a try. Thinning carrots is not fun.

  4. Twinville2 Says:

    So was it ‘organic toilet paper’? hahah Just kidding. I think your sedd tape idea is ver clever. Have you tried this before? What were the results?

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