Now is the time to plant carrots for the fall. The hardest part of growing carrots is ruthlessly thinning them when they first sprout. I haven’t found a good system for this, so I was interested in Chiot’s Run’s Tips For Growing Great Carrots. She uses what she calls a “square foot gardening template”– scrap plywood with holes cut into it–to mark each carrot she plants, like so:
For each hole, she puts in one or two seeds and covers it with vermiculite. As she puts it:
This method works really well for me because I know exactly where each carrot seed should be and I can pull any weeds sprouting outside the vermiculite. This way I do not have to thin the carrots since usually only one or two carrots germinates in each spot. I’ve also read that carrots do better when slightly crowded, so this close planting should make your patch more productive.
So the vermiculite makes it easy to spot where the carrots are planted, helps with thinning the plants, and helps curtail weeds. On top of that, it holds in moisture around the seeds while they germinate, which means less watering and babysitting too.
Fascinating. I must try this.
What’s your favorite type of carrot to grow?
ETA: So I tried this method out. It would only work well if you did drip irrigation, since the hose tends to mess up the piles of vermiculite. Also, I’m not sure what the benefit of the little circles of vermiculite are, exactly. It seems simpler to have the vermiculite cover the row in one long line. That way, you have the same benefit of keeping in the moisture and suppressing weeds without having to worry as much about keeping the vermiculite looking neat.