Saturday, April 23, 2011

Gardening 101: How to plant carrots from seed?

Carrots is another one of these wonderful vegetables that you can plant early spring before the last frost date. In fact, they actually get sweeter if they get a little frost on them! Carrots are best planted from seed as they are a root vegetable (you eat the root!).

Planting them is very easy in the square foot garden. You just need to make sure of a few things before your plant. If you want to grow long carrots, you need to make sure that your soil is loose, so it needs to be worked well before the seeds go in. Carrots will find it hard to grow in heavy clay soil. Our soil in Illinois is very clay heavy, so I have been adding sand and a lot of compost through the years on my beds to soften it down. Although, if you do not mind if your carrots have funny shapes, you can always try carrots in not so loose soil. The root will always grow on the path of least resistance!! Last year I planted my carrots in a spot that was not as loose as it should have been and we got the most delicious “two legged” carrots. The kids loved them! If you are planting a short carrot variety you should be good with only working and loosening 6 inches of soil.

The other thing you need to do (or try to do) is not to grow carrots in the same spot for 2 years in a row. This is called rotation and it is to prevent pest and diseases that affect the same crops and also to allow the soil to replenish (as different crops take different nutrients from the ground).

Now once you have selected a nice sunny spot and have worked the soil, you are ready to go. I have a middle length carrot.

Select your square and with a pencil make 16 holes in 4 rows of 4 holes. Do not make the holes too deep, just a slight indentation.

Do you like my fading henna tattoo? I did it myself!

Put 2 seeds in each hole, cover lightly with soil. Water and you are done.

You need to protect your carrots from rabbits – in here I have them surrounded by Spring Onions and Sweet Georgia Onions – a nice natural barrier for rabbits.

Additionally, I have my friend the plastic snake! Believe it or not, the rabbits think it is real and they do know to stay away!!! I remember last year, my mother was helping me harvest some carrots and noticed the snake, I could hear her screams a mile away!! I guess she also though it was real too!

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