Using Natural Burlap for Carrot Germination
Carrots can be a big early spring headache. In cool weather, they take forever to germinate, 2 or 3 weeks, and by that time, the chance of weed competition is pretty good, and just about anything growing around the tiny seedlings makes excruciatingly time-consuming surgical hand weeding a necessity. What to do? Many people use woven landscape fabric. The fabric will heat up the soil and speed up germination while keeping weeds down. The problem is the germination window is very tiny. If you get busy and wait a few hours or a day too long the little seedlings emerge and get toasted from the very same heat that gave them life. If you don’t enjoy this game of roulette then you should try using natural burlap. The burlap will heat up the soil and speed up germination as soon as 7 days. It also retains the perfect amount of moisture in its fibers and feeds it to the soil all day long. The Fabric is very permeable and will let in just the right amount of light and air while releasing excess heat.
Now, all you have to do is get to work! Here is how to plant carrots in 10 easy steps:
1. Go to www.americannettings.com and buy a roll of Natural Burlap.While you’re at it, check out the Trellis Netting. I love growing everything on trellis as you can guess from my previous blog posts. You will get your order in about 4 days.
2. Choose a site that gets full sun (carrots will tolerate light shade but won’t do as well). Soil should be light, with a pH of 5.8 to 6.8
3. Dig to a depth of at least 12 inches, and remove all traces of rocks and other debris – even a small twig could injure a carrot growing tip, stunting the root or making it fork.
4. Add plenty of organic matter; it will lighten heavy soils and increase the moisture retention of sandy ones. Carrots grow sweeter and less fibrous in soil that remains moist.
5. Sow carrot seeds directly about two to three weeks before the last expected frost in cool regions; in warm climates, you can plant in fall, winter or spring.
6. Make early sowings shallow to capture warmth from the sun; sprinkle the seeds on the soil surface, tamp them gently and cover them with a thin layer of finely sifted compost. If planting later, when the soil has warmed up, plant seeds between 1/4 and 1/2 inch deep.
7. Now roll out two layers of natural burlap over the seeds and gently water down the burlap.
8. When the seeds germinate you can gently roll off the burlap and let them bask in the sun. If you wait too long to take the burlap off, the seedlings will begin to come up though the burlap. Don’t be alarmed. Gently lift the fabric off and the seedlings should pop out the bottom. However, weeds that have begun to grow will be pulled out. Yay!
9. Thin seedlings before the tops become entwined: Either clip off the greens with scissors, or pull the roots very gently from the ground so you don’t disturb the remaining plants. Allow 3 to 4 inches between carrots, depending on the variety (check the seed packet for details).
10. Begin harvesting carrots when they’ve turned deep orange.
One of my fondest memories, as a child, is picking carrots out of my mom’s beautiful garden. I was only about 3 or 4 so I don’t remember much. But, I have a clear recollection of pushing my big Yellow Tonka Dump truck (big to a toddler) from the front porch all the way around the house and into this giant jungle of a garden. While, she was picking tomatoes, I was pulling gigantic carrots out of the ground and filling my dump truck with them. I felt so helpful. I would then take a load around the house to the porch and come back for another. Best Day Ever!