Carrot

Free Carrots

Free Carrots

Carrots can be difficult to grow, the seed is small, painstakingly small. While trying to get them to the planting area, they get stuck to your hands, or blown away or when you water them they move away from the planting area to wherever the water goes. Then, once they are in the ground, I don't know where I left off, or how many dropped in the space!

Using seed tape seems to solve this problem for me. The seeds are "glued" in and I can plant the seed tape in less than a minute, if the soil is already prepped. Germination seems to be more reliable, maybe because the seed tape (toilet paper) stays wet and helps to keep the seed moist.

But what I have found to be most reliable for growing carrots is to allow one carrot to go to seed. Carrots are biennials, the first year they grow the carrot, the second year (if you leave the carrot in the ground) they will send up a tall stalk and produce flowers. Beautiful white flowers on four foot stalks.

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These flowers attract hundreds of small bees and other pollinators. On a sunny day, they are flitting around the plant gathering pollen. I love to grow the flowers just for the pollinators!

A few weeks after the carrot plant blooms, the flowers will brown and begin to drop their seed. This is where you can decide if you want to save the seed for next year, or let the seeds fall and plant themselves.

You could chose both ways. Collect some of the seeds off the dried flowers and store them for next spring. Hand scatter seeds in your planting beds, and next spring you will have hundreds of carrots growing. Of course, you can not have them growing in nice even rows if you hand scatter the seeds, but I have found very high germination rates this way. They also start growing earlier than I usually get out to plant seeds. After the carrots reach two inches high it is time to thin them to about one inch apart.

If you are thinning by pulling the plant, be careful you do not pull the plant out! Thinning with a small scissors can be easier on the small plants.

Free carrot seeds and free planting, too, if you let them self sow....

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