6) Sowing carrots in a small furrow

zomerwortels in 1 rij

In this tip there is general info (about):

  • Introduction
  • A)# Sowing time
  • B)# Soil and sowing distance
  • C)# Carrot flies and onion flies
  • D)# Loosing soil
  • E)# Making a \__/ shaped furrow
  • F)# Sowing
  • G)# What sowing procedure is easiest
  • H)# Strewing soil on
  • I)# Covering
  • J)# Thinning carrots
  • K)# Carrot fly
  • L)# Harvest and storage of winter carrots

Introduction

You can sow carrots in a shallow furrow or in a small plant bed. That’s useful because:

  • The soil in the furrow (plant bed) is less drying out. So less watering needed.
  • When watering in the furrow (plant bed), the soil next to it remains dry. So less weed growing there.
  • The furrow (plant bed) marks the seeding place.

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  • More info about sowing summer carrots in tip  34   and    37  .  Summer carrot seeds fall one by one out of a “shift fall tray” (seed drop tray) with 1 fall tube;
    • At tip 34, the seeds fall through mat holes on flat garden soil.
    • At tip 37, seeds fall through mat holes (or ruler holes) in sowing holes.
  • More info about sowing winter carrots in tip   38   . A nylon string with knots is used to mark the desired sowing positions;
    • Sow by hand 2 groups or a short row of seeds at each knot. This is the most handy procedure and works very well.
    • Or sow at 1,2 or 3 positions using a “shift fall tray” (seed drop tray) with 3 drop tubes.

To sow easily, you better follow the procedures described in tip    37    or  38  .

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For an very early harvest, sow on moist toilet paper and let grow mini carrots indoors. Replant the mini carrots in the garden soil under a tunnel (greenhouse). More info in    tip  20)    .

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A)# Sowing time

A1) Summer carrots. 

Sow summer carrots according to the info on the seed sachet.

When you want to harvest very early you can use    tip 20    .  Info from this tip in short:

zaadjes schuin 4

  • Sow indoors in a tray on moist toilet paper from January (mid winter) on.
  • Put the tray on its side on a warm spot (central heating unit).

wortels schuin kuipje 4

  • Pick straight grown mini carrots from the toilet paper and replant them in loose garden soil, under a mini greenhouse under a (tunnel) greenhouse.
  • Let the summer carrots grow bigger there.
  • Remove the mini greenhouse after a while. Remove the (tunnel) greenhouse later.
  • Repeat his procedure a few times in the late winter and/or early spring.

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In the following months, you can sow “normally in the garden soil”;

  • From March (early spring) on, sow summer carrots in a row or in a seed bed in the garden soil each week (or so).
  • In March and April (early spring) sow under a (tunnel) greenhouse.
  • Sow in the open air during the next months.
  • In August/September (late summer) sow under a tunnel greenhouse again.

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Garden bed or furrow

Early spring:

In early spring you can sow or plant in a furrow (row) or in a garden bed. Only few weed plants will grow between the carrots then.

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From mid spring on:

When sowing in a garden bed from mid spring on, there can be much weed:

zomerwortels in zaaibed

In summer many weed plants are growing in the garden bed between the carrots. Pulling out the weed plants while keeping the carrot plants in the soil is very hard to do (it is almost impossible).

zomerwortels in 1 rij

From mid spring on, you better sow or plant in a row (in a furrow). Weed plants that are growing there are very easily to remove, (to pull out).

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A2) Winter carrots. 

Sow in early to mid spring (March, April) 1 short row of winter carrots. At early sown carrots there is a higher risk of attack by the maggots of the carrot fly.

Sow the rest of the winter carrots at mid to late spring (May). My  experience: “later sown” carrot seeds give a good crop too.  See below.

These winter carrots have been sown in mid June (end of spring) and harvested at the end of October (mid fall). There are big and small carrots. They are not attacked by carrot flies or other plant diseases.

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B)# Soil and sowing distance

Carrots grow well in loose soil that “has been manured last year”. After last year’s crop, there is still enough nutrition left in the soil for carrots. But still you may mix compost through the soil just before sowing. In loose soil you get straight carrots (in trodden ground you get branched, forked carrots).

  • Winter carrots: sow in a furrow. Sow every 10 centimeters (4 inch) 1 group of seeds
  • Summer carrots: sow in a furrow. Sow every 3 centimeters (1.2 inch) 1 or 2 seeds.
  • Summer carrots: or sow in a small plant bed (sowing bed). Distance between seeds is 3 centimeters (1.2 inch).

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C)# Carrot flies and onion flies

In a row: You can sow alternately rows of carrots (C) next to rows of onions (o), like this:  oCoCoCoC. This can reduce the attack by carrot flies and/or onion flies. Instead of a row of carrots you can sow a row of beetroots. You can sow 2 rows of carrots next to each other (oCCoCCoCC) to harvest more carrots.

In a plant bed: You can plant onion sets or sow onions next to a small sowing bed with summer carrots.

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D)# Loosing soil (furrow)

  • Fix an elastic string or a nylon string with knots between 2 sticks to sow in a straight row. See tip 2  nrs 4 and 64.
  • (Make a shallow furrow under the string using a hoe).
  • Loose the soil deeply:
    • Put a handheld garden shovel deep in the soil and pull the shovel + soil aside (in lengthwise direction of the furrow).
    • Repeat this action about 2 inches further away in the furrow. Continue until the end of the furrow. 
    • Spread the earth over the furrow to get an equal depth in the furrow.

Remark: You can also use a garden fork or spade to loose the soil.

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E)# Making a \__/ shaped furrow

  • Make a \__/ shaped furrow using a furrow board. See in   Tip 2  , nr 2.
  • Or use a handheld garden shovel scoop or 2 empty margarine boxes on each other.
  • Water the soil in the furrow (use a watering can with a fine shower head).
  • Wait for the water to drop in the soil.

When you want to sow summer carrots in a small plant bed, see  tip 37   for more information.

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F)# Sowing

There are many ways of sowing carrots:

  • Spread the seeds by hand. Cover seeds with soil. Thin out later.
  • Strew the seeds in a tray. Use tweezers or the moist tip of a cocktail stick to pick each seed and lay it in the furrow. Cover seeds with soil. Thin out later.
  • Use a “sowing box” as described in tip 3. Cover seeds with soil. Thin out later.
  • Use a “seed shift tray” (seed slide tray) as described in tip 3. Cover seeds with soil. Thin out later.
  • Sow winter carrots using a “shift fall tray” (slide drop tray) with 3 tubes.    See tip   38   . Cover seeds with soil. Thin out later.
  • Sow summer carrots using a “shift fall tray” (slide drop tray) with 1 tube and a mat or a “spacing rule”.  See tip  34   and  37   . Cover seeds with soil. Thin out later.

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G)# What sowing procedure is easiest

G1) Winter carrots

The next procedure for sowing winter carrots works very well.

  • Tighten a rope with knots at fixed distances (one knot each 10 centimeters, 4 inch) above the furrow.
  • At each knot scatter winter carrot seeds by hand.

  • Or, even better, sow 2 groups of seeds at each knot. See photos above. The yellow circles indicate these groups.

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G2) Summer carrots

G2a) Using a mat or sowing ruler: 

Sowing summer carrots goes very well when using a shift fall tray (seed drop tray) with 1 tube.

 

  • Also use a sowing stick and a mat or a placemat or a ruler to make sowing holes before sowing.  Description in tip    37   .
  • Sow 1 or 2 summer carrot seeds per sowing spot;
    • 1 seed; you get many sowing spots without a carrot plant, thinning out not needed.
    • 2 seeds; you get many sowing spots with 1 or 2 carrot plants;
      • at each sowing spot with 2 plants, you can pull out 1 plant.
      • or you do nothing (you don’t thin out).

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G2b) Using a seed drop tray with 1 “special” tube and a string with knots.

From mid spring on, you better sow summer carrots in 1 (or more) rows. Pulling out weed plants is very easy then.

groei 8a

Sowing can be done using a seed drop tray with an extra tube over the drop tube (see red/white arrow). This extra tube prevents pieces of earth from plugging the drop tube.  Zie tip     37   .

  •  Tighten a string with knots (at fixed distances) over or next to the furrow.
  • Sow the carrot seeds:
    • Hold the tray in one hand with the opening of the extra tube on the soil.
    • Drop 1 or 2 carrot seeds at that sowing spot.
    • Put the tray a few centimeters (1 inch) further on the soil.
    • Drop 1 or 2 seeds at that spot too.
    • And so on.

groei 3a

Seed pattern; here 1 carrot seed has been sown at each spot. There is a row of circles (prints of the extra tube), each one with 1 carrot seed in it.

  • Scatter moist garden earth (or dry sieved sand) on the seeds.
  • Let the summer carrots appear and grow big.

zomerwortels in 1 rij

When you sow 2 seeds per spot, you have 0,1 or 2 carrot plants per spot after a few weeks.

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Sowing 1 or 2 seeds per sowing spot ?

My preference is sowing 2 summer carrot seeds per sowing spot and no thinning out. At almost each sowing spot there will be 1 or 2 carrot plants. You will harvest many summer carrots.

zaaivoortje wortelen 1

But there will be some crooked carrots in your harvest.

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H)# Strewing soil on

Strew a thin layer of sand or earth on the carrot seeds to overcome blowing or flushing away or drying out. So a bigger chance of germination. This strewing on is a human invention.

In (real) nature seeds are not covered. Most seeds fall on unfavorable germination spots and do not turn into plants. A few seeds germinate at a favorable spot (in grass, in the shadow, on moist soil) and turn into plants.

Shove away the dry top layer of garden earth. Scoop some moist garden earth, crumble it and scatter over the seeds in a furrow or a garden bed. Or put some moist garden earth in a plastic flower pot with bottom holes. Shake the flower pot to scatter the earth on the seeds.

Or strew dry sand on the seeds (using a kitchen sieve or tea strainer). Dry sand drops on moist earth and will be moist after a short time.

This layer is 0.5 to 1 centimeter (1/4 to 1/2 inch) thick. The seeds can germinate well (on moist soil, covered by airy earth).

Tip 37   shows how to sow summer carrots in a seed bed.

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I)# Covering

I1) Covering after sowing

Carrot seeds in the soil must stay moist for 2 weeks to germinate. And at heavy rain showers, soil can get slammed or seeds can flush away.

So you better cover the furrow or bed right after sowing.

  • Cover a furrow with fabric (or wooden boards or pieces of corrugated plate).
  • Put on bricks against blowing away.

  • Or put wooden boards or pieces of corrugated plate on the soil over the furrow.
  • Shove garden earth against the sides (and on top) of the plates or boards to close openings. In this way the seeds and the soil in the furrow do not dry out fast.
  • When putting on garden earth, no bricks needed against blowing away.

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  • Remove the fabric, boards or plates when plants are visible.
  • Water the plants in the furrow at dry weather (use a watering can with fine shower head).

  • You can put a stepping board (or big lid) on a garden bed.
  • Remove the board or lid when plants are visible.
  • Water the plants at dry weather (use a watering can with fine shower head).

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Remark: No hay coverage needed.

You better not put dry hay on the garden soil after sowing or around the small carrot plants.

Grass seeds in hay germinate and grow into big grass plants that absorb soil nutrients that were meant for the carrot plants.

The grass plants are hard to pull out of the soil while the carrot plants stay in the soil. And you harvest small carrots.

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I2) Covering after resowing

  • Resowing winter carrots at spots where no plants shot up;
    • Loosen the soil at the sowing spots,
    • Spray water on the soil there,
    • Sow carrot seeds on the moist soil,
    • Scatter a thin layer of moist garden earth on the seeds,
    • Put plastic flower pots (upside down) on the sowing spots,
    • Shove garden earth against the pots against blowing away,
    • Remove pots when plants are visible.

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J)# Thinning carrots

J1) Winter carrots

When sowing winter carrots as shown in G1), you get 2 groups of carrot plants every 10 centimeters (4 inch). The distance between the 2 groups is a few centimeters (1 to 2 inch). Thin out as follows;

  • Thin out when carrot plants are 5 to 10 centimeter (2 to 4 inch) high,
  • At each group: pull the smallest plants out or cut them just above the soil (with scissors).
  • Continue until 1 (big) carrot plant is left in each group.
  • Water the plants right after thinning.

Let the plants grow bigger. Carrot plants at these distances do not disturb each other and grow into 2 big winter carrots.

(When there is only 1 group of plants per sowing spot, you harvest only 1 winter carrot of course).

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J2) Summer carrots

When you sow as described at G2), you get a plant bed or row with summer carrot plants. Every 3 centimeters (1 to 1.5 inch) there is a “group” of 0, 1 or 2 plants. Thinning out can as follows;

  • Thin when plants are 3 to 5 centimeters (1 to 2 inch) high,
  • Group of 2 carrot plants: pull out the smallest plant or cut this plant just above the soil (with scissors).
  • Water the carrot plants right after thinning out.
  • Let the plants grow bigger. You will harvest mainly straight summer carrots.

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zaaivoortje wortelen 1

You can decide not to thin out summer carrot plants. At each sowing spot there are 0, 1 or 2 carrot plants. At sowing spots with 2 plants, the summer carrots are some thinner, shorter and curved. See photo above.

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K)# Carrot fly

On   Royal Horticultural Society   you find an article about the carrot fly.

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L)# Harvest and storage of winter carrots

See chapter F)# tip  15) Storage tips   .

Harvest of 3 rows (12 meters) of winter carrots. Weight 16 kilogram.

Store the carrots in boxes (buckets, boxes) on dry sand.

Scatter (strew) dry sand or masonry sand over and between the carrots.

Put lids on the boxes to keep cats away that like to …… in dry sand. Store the boxes with carrots outdoors under a roof or in a cool barn or garage. During freezing weather, have the boxes with carrots in a barn or garage.

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Remark (summer carrots storage)

When you grow your own summer carrots, there is no need for a long storage time. Often you prepare carrots a short time after harvesting.

For storage twist off the carrot tops. Lay the carrots in a tray with cold water. Put a lid on. Put the whole in a refrigerator. In this way carrots can be stored for a few days. And they stay firm during storage.

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