This spring I had a little bit of trouble growing carrots, and I am not sure why. Last year I grew them for the first time, and I loved how flavorful they were straight out of the garden. But some of my carrots grew well, and some did not, and I did not know why either. Sprouting is the issue – once they sprouted, they grew into edible carrots. I have been reading the Backyard Homestead, and a technique it suggested jumped out at me and gave me a huge “Aha!” moment.
From what I have read, carrot seeds need lots of water. That may have been the difference between the different plots of carrots I grew last year. To help the seeds stay wet, the book suggests making a trench, filling it with peat moss, seed the carrots, then cover with more peat moss, then cover with soaked burlap. I think the peat moss is key, as it will hold onto moisture around the seeds. It makes a lot of sense!
This was a spot where I had grown peas, and tilled and cultivated the soil very thoroughly to make sure the carrots can grow well. I have some poblano peppers growing in there, as well as some calendula flowers.
I chose to plant Muscade carrots from Baker’s Creek. It is a variety from North Africa, and it says it is slow bolting. I am hoping it will be ok in the heat of summer. Some growers commented that it is very sweet and their favorite carrot, so I hope I have success with it!
As far as watering goes, I plan to water the burlap every morning and evening. It will soak through to the peat moss and will keep the seeds moist. I am not sure how much water the burlap will hold, but I think having it dark and possibly cooler under it will help the carrots sprout. Mid-July through the end of August is when will start seeding carrots for the fall, so I should know by then the success rate of this technique.