Last Chance to Plant Carrots

by Karen Dunn

A Karen’s Corner Blogette

June 24 is carrot planting day for this gal.  In my garden I find this date works well to get a good size carrot for my winter crop.  Linda Gilkeson plants her final rows of carrots on July 1 every year and recommends all carrots be sown by July 10th.

When I plant my carrots I like to space them while planting, at just under an inch between seeds.  I use tweezers and this guide while planting my seeds.  I know…it sounds like a bit much…but trust me, it saves time and money in the long run.  I would much rather spend a little more time planting than thinning out babies later.  It also makes your expensive package of seeds go a lot further.

In hot weather I cover the newly planted seeds with old denim jeans to keep the bed moist while the seeds are sprouting.  As soon as I see sprouted seeds I remove the denim and replace with a shade of some sort…especially if the weather is hot.

We will probably start eating these carrots in December…depending on how soon we finish eating the carrots planted earlier this year.

My favourite variety is called YaYa, available from William Damm and West Coast Seeds.  In my garden they do well as a summer or winter variety.  I used to grow a few different varieties including some winter keepers.  YaYa seems to fit the bill for both seasons and simplifies my seed box.

As soon as my seeds are in the ground I immediately cover them with plastic mesh netting laid flat on the ground (available here on Quadra at On Root Greenhouse).  This prevents the carrot rust fly from laying eggs in freshly planted areas.  I’ve had my netting for over 5 years now.  In this photo you can see the netting peeking out from under the cardboard.  I added a layer of cardboard to help keep the ground cool and moist while seeds germinate.  (You can often find good cardboard at Quadra Island Builders.)

When the carrot seeds have germinated I will remove the layers of fabric, cardboard and netting.  At this time I’ll give it a quick weeding if necessary and add a sprinkle of mulch to help keep the soil from drying out.  My favourite mulch for this is grass clippings which I’ve dried out in the sun.  When all this is done I erect a mini hoop house using PVC pipe and re-bar to support the mesh netting.

I leave the netting on the entire time except for when I’m weeding.

For my winter carrots I take the netting off before freezing time.  I then clip the carrot tops off, leaving a couple of inches, and then cover the row with a sheet of plastic or landscape fabric and a 10″ layer of maple leaves.  This protects the shoulders of the carrots from freezing and also makes it easier to dig carrots in winter when the ground is frozen.  More on this topic to come in the fall.

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