34) Sowing leek or summer carrots using a sink mat and a “shift fall tray”

In this tip:

  • A)# Sowing leek
  • B)# Sowing summer carrots
  • C)# Remarks

In this tip (tip 34) you can read how to use a sink mat and a “shift fall tray” when sowing leeks or summer carrots in a lowered area in the garden soil. With this method, seeds fall on flat soil surface and can “roll away a few cm (inch) from the sowing spot”.

In the newer    tip 37     there is a better procedure for sowing leeks or summer carrots. At this method, narrow sowing holes are made in the garden soil. Seeds are falling from the shift fall tray into the sowing holes and will not roll away.

Leek or summer carrots are often sown in a group. or a row. For this kind of sowing, many seeds are put on the soil. Not too far apart, otherwise you have too few plants. Not too close, for then you have to thin out many plants later.

For easy sowing you can use a sink mat and a “shift fall tray”. In     tip 33     you can read how to make or adapt these tools. In this tip you can read how to sow leek (chapter A)#) or summer carrots (chapter B)#) and how to prepare sowing.

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A)# Sowing leek

A1) Sowing leek in a group

You can sow leek in the garden in an easy way. Make a furrow, sow and cover with garden earth. This goes well in nutritious soil that does not dry out so easy.

At sandy soil, you better sow leek in a lowered part of the garden. This area is about 40 x 35 cm, (16 x 14 inch). In a “lowered area”, soil does not dry so fast. You can easily water the soil in the “lowered area”. It indicates where you have sown. Below a description of sowing leek in a lowered area.

When top layer is dry, shove some dry sand aside. Otherwise dry sand can fall into the lowered area.

Lay the mat on the garden soil. Draw a line (furrow) a few inches around the mat. This line marks the size of the lowered area.  The lowered area is bigger than the mat.

Use a garden shovel to make the lowered area. Make it about 2 inch deep. Put the moist earth into a bucket.

When sowing leeks, add some fine-grained (old) manure or compost to the earth in the bucket. Growing leeks use much nutrition.

Mix the manure ( or compost) and the garden earth.

Deepen the lowered area until depth is about 4 inch. Put the garden earth that you scoop out on a small heap in the garden next to the lowered area. This earth is used later to form a top layer in the lowered area.

Put some mixture of manure (or compost) and garden earth into the lowered area.

Use a board or the top of a a furrow board (tip 2) to egalize the mixture in the lowered area. Put so much mixture in and egalize until top of lowered area is 2 to 3 inch below garden level.

Put some garden earth from the heap into the lowered area.

Egalize the garden earth in the lowered area. Thickness of this layer is about 1 to 2 inch. When needed add some more garden earth and equalize.

Leek seeds will be sown on this top layer of garden earth.  Seeds better not touch manure. When plants are there, the roots can find manure or compost 1 to 2 inch deeper in the soil.

Spray some tap water in the lowered area. Use a watering can with a fine shower head. Keep the shower head a few inch above the soil in the lowered area.

Put the mat in the lowered area when the earth has dried somewhat (when water has disappeared into the earth). Sow the leek using a shift fall tray.

When a seed has fallen next to the hole of the mat, use fingers or tweezers or a little stick to shift the seed into the hole.

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After sowing remove the mat carefully without shifting the mat. Otherwise seeds can stick to the lower side of the mat and will be removed.

Photo of leek seeds. Each group contains one seed (exept one group at the top of the photo). Seeds are lying “apart”.

Strew a thin layer of crumbled moist garden earth on the seeds. Strew carefully to prevent seeds from shifting or moving.

Take care that this layer is thick enough. Leek prefers to germinate in the dark (found at the internet).

To prevent earth and seeds from drying out, lay a board or so over the lowered area.

For example a dinner-tray upside down. Take care of a small air opening at the edge of the dinner-tray.

Or use a stepping board. Again take care of an air opening. Remove board or dinner -tray when first leek plants are just visible.

You can cover the lower area with a piece of transparent corrugated plate. Put on some bricks on to prevent from blowing away. Under a transparent plate leek seeds germinate faster due to heating of the soil by the sun. The layer of garden soil above the seeds must be thick enough, because leek prefers to germinate in the dark.

Photo of smaal leek plants, just visible.

Sowing leek using the mat and the shift fall tray goes fast. I succeeded to sow 80 seeds in about 200 seconds (2.5 seconds per seed).

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A2) Sowing leek in rows

You can sow 1, 2 or 3 rows of leek. Use a part of the mat as shown on the photo above.

On this photo 3 rows of big leek plants.

Leek plants after taking out of the soil. They lay on 12 inch paving stones. Plants have been immersed in water to ease taking the plants apart.

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B)# Sowing summer carrots

B1) Sowing summer carrots in a group

Summer carrots are sown in loose garden earth. Carrots grow well in earth that has been manured previous year. The nutrients that are left in the earth from last year are okay for growing carrots.

Below a description of sowing carrots in a lowered area. In a lowered area, soil does not dry out so fast and it is easy watering the plants in that area without water “flowing away”.

Loose the soil using a pitch fork or so.

When top layer is dry, shove some dry sand aside. Otherwise dry sand can fall into the lowered area.

Lay the mat on the garden soil. Draw a line (furrow) a few inches around the mat. This line marks the size of the lowered area.  The lowered area is bigger than the mat.

Use a wooden lath or so to make the lowered area. Make it about 2 to 3 inch deep. Shove the moist earth aside of put it into a bucket.

Spray some tap water in the lowered area. Use a watering can with a fine shower head. Keep the shower head a few inch above the soil in the lowered area.

Put the mat in the lowered area when the earth has dried somewhat (when water has disappeared into the earth). Sow the summer carrots using a shift fall tray.

When a seed has fallen next to the hole of the mat, use fingers or tweezers or a little stick to shift the seed into the hole. In most holes there is 1 seed, in some there are 2 seeds.

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After sowing remove the mat carefully without shifting the mat. Otherwise seeds can stick to the lower side of the mat and will be removed.

Photo of carrot seeds. Each group contains one or two seeds. Groups are lying “apart”.

Strew a thin layer of crumbled moist garden earth on the seeds. Strew carefully to prevent seeds from shifting or moving.

To prevent earth and seeds from drying out, lay a board or so over the lowered area. For example a dinner-tray upside down. Take care of a small air opening at the edge of the dinner-tray. Remove dinner-tray when first carrot plants are just visible.

Photo of summer carrots, just visible.

At warm, sunny weather you can put a dinner-tray slanted like this. The soil will not dry out so fast.

You can sow 1 seed in each hole of the mat. Then carrot plants grow at at a distance of 2 cm (13/16 inch). Or you can skip one hole, so plants grow at 4 cm (1 5/8 inch) distance.

Remarks:

  • Carrot seeds are small and light. Wait 1 or 2 seconds after a seed has fallen into the tube before putting the tube on the next hole of the mat.
  • About 85 % of new carrot seeds germinate. So when you sow 1 seed per hole, some plants will grow at a bigger distance due to “no germination”.

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B2) Sowing summer carrots in rows

You can sow summer carrots in 1, 2 or 3 rows next to each other. Here a description.

Loose the garden soil with a scoop or a pitch fork.  Then make a small furrow in the soil. You can use a furrow board (see tip 2).

Spray some tap water in the furrow. Use a watering can with a fine shower head. Keep the shower head a few inch above the soil in the furrow.

Put the mat in the furrow when the earth has dried somewhat (when water has disappeared into the earth). Sow the summer carrots using a shift fall tray.

You can sow in the outer rows of the mat  only. Then carrots grow at a larger distance between the plants.

After sowing remove the mat carefully without shifting the mat. Otherwise seeds can stick to the lower side of the mat and will be removed.

Photo of carrot seeds. Each group contains one seed. Groups (seeds) are lying “apart”.

Put (plastic) markers at both ends of the area where the carrot seeds have been dropped.

Strew a thin layer of crumbled moist garden earth on the seeds. Strew carefully to prevent seeds from shifting or moving.

To prevent earth and seeds from drying out, lay a board or piece of corrugated plate over the furrow. Put 2 bricks on to prevent blowing away at windy weather. Remove the cover when first carrot plants just visible.

After 2 weeks little carrot plants are 1 inch high.

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E)# Remarks

When using this mat you can choose where and how many seeds to sow;

  • One seed per hole in the mat. Plants will grow at a distance of 2 cm (4/5 inch). That can be too close.
  • One seed per 2 holes. Skipping one hole each time. And skipping one row. Distance between plants will be about 4 cm (1.5 inch).
  • Drop 2 seeds in one hole. One or 2 plants will grow there. Thin out later when needed.
  • In the newer    tip 37     there is a better procedure for sowing leeks or summer carrots. At this method, narrow sowing holes are made in the garden soil. Seeds are falling from the shift fall tray into the sowing holes and will not roll away.
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