Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Carrot Planting Tip

It feels like our long winter has finally ended when we can enjoy fresh food from our garden again.

I had not got my cold frame started early like usual. (How long can I keep using the baby as my excuse for everything I am not getting done?)

But this past week or two, the warm sunshine has brought new growth. I love walking out to the garden at this time of year because every day brings changes.


And bigger weeds - but I'm working on that problem. A few days ago, the strawberry patch in the photo above could hardly be found because of the huge weeds. But an evening spent pulling weeds and throwing down some straw for mulch did wonders. Now to tackle the raspberries.

Today I realized that I could actually choose between asparagus, broccoli, lettuce, or rhubarb. Wow! Options! Maybe I'll just decide to have all of them!


We've already enjoyed several meals of quiche. My family loves quiche and I love how it will change throughout the year as various vegetables ripen.

I still haven't planted our whole garden. Didn't even get any beans in yet. But what I really wanted to write about is carrots.

I think I finally figured out how to get carrots to sprout in our heavy clay soil. For years I was discouraged about growing carrots. Even when sown heavily, very few of the carrot seeds would push through the soil crust.

A couple years ago I decided to try covering the seed with sand. It worked wonderfully. I tried again last year and again had success. I decided to try one more year to make sure that it wasn't just an accident before sharing it with you. And yesterday I spotted these tiny little sprouts - so it worked again!

First I rake a smooth level bed of soil. I make a row as wide as my garden rake. (About a foot.) Then I broadcast the seeds into this row. I don't make straight lines - just try to toss them out somewhat evenly. I try to be generous and plan to do some thinning after they grow. Then I cover the seeds lightly with sand (which I steal from my children's sandbox.)

The sand is much easier for the tiny carrot seeds to push through then heavy soil, especially if you get the pounding spring rains like we've had recently. My germination rate has been much higher.

Do you have any hints on growing carrots?


  1. I used to spend way too much time weeding strawberries. I finally pulled them out and planted mulberry trees. Now we get gallons of berries without work. Bonus: they stain the kids purple!

  2. Good idea, Gina. Logan was just wondering why none of the carrots that he planted came up. And that was the only thing that got planted yet... I'm starting to get ready for the garden now, I guess getting these school subjects finished up and being done painting gives me a little more time.

  3. I had my husband build me a raised bed that was 12 inches deep. I filled it with garden soil from Lowes. I would say 97-98% of my carrots have sprouted.

  4. Hello Gina,

    I have fallen in love with your blog. You are so fresh and honest and have such good ideas. I wanted to say thank you for your efforts. In regards to your soil, why are you not using compost to help your soil become something other than clay? We have the same issue with our soil, VERY heavy clay but over the years of composting and turning it in, the soil is now black gold. So rich that we can grow anything. My husband needs the credit here, he is amazing. I wish you and your family well. Once again, thank you for your blog and sharing it.

    Alice Lucius

    P.S. I'm looking forward to trying your sour dough...I love making my own bread. :)

    1. Alice -
      We are working at amending our soil but with a garden our size it takes time. Our garden soil is much better than it was a few years ago. Maybe eventually it will be lovely soil. But until then, I'm trying to make things grow anyway!

  5. We actually make homemade seed tape in the winter. I use toilet paper, which is pretty cheap and put black dots, and then a little drop of elmers glue 3 inches apart, and then put in the carrot seed. No thinning, no wasting of seeds. Worked so perfectly we are going to do it with other veggies this year. You can actually fit 3 rows on a strip of toilet paper and cut it. Would be a great winter project for the kids.

  6. thanks for the tip. I just kind of gave up on carrots around here. I want to try sand now!

  7. When I had a garden, I also had that issue, so I read to sprinkle light soil on top or peat moss. Sand would be very similar! It worked for me to use the peat moss. Also they need to be kept very moist until sprouting, but the clayish soil dried out so fast, so I used a row cover (that thin white fabric used to keep bugs off stuff but it still lets sun and water through, but I did remove to water them).


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