I’m trying to grow some carrots this year, which I’ve been told can be difficult. I thought that as I have two different varieties (because a. I got excited, and b. I don’t know what I’m doing), that I would try growing them in different ways. This isn’t going to help me determine which method works best, or which variety suits our climate best, because there are too many variables for this to be a proper experiment, but it will let me try out a load of different things – which is excellent (see points a & b, above).
So, method one… The lady at the seed library advised wetting a sheet of kitchen roll, spacing the seeds on it and then covering the sheet of kitchen roll with a very fine layer of compost (just enough to hold it down). I have tried this with some yellow carrot seeds which I got from the seed library but there’s no signs of life yet.
But I still have some left, so I thought I would also try….
Method two… Which is a lot more involved, but oddly, seems far simpler. I basically watched this turorial and decided to try pre-soaking the seeds, then suspending them in a cornflour gel for easy distribution in the raised bed. This method was extra-welcome, because it meant I could make excess cornflour gel and let my small tag-along play with this while I did garden work.
And just because ‘why not’, I thought I would try sowing my root parsley seeds in the same way too.
First of all, you soak the seeds in water until you see the tiniest tip of a root showing, then you drain the water off and suspend the lot in the cornflour gel (see tutorial link above for gel recipe).
As to where I’m planting – I decided to plant my carrots in the same bed as my onions because I’d read that planting the two together works really well, and I decided to put the root parsley with the chives and garlic. I read somewhere once (specific, I know!) that carrots and parsnips should be kept seperate and whilst I know root parsley isn’t parsnips, I didn’t want to risk it. Root parsley is one of the husband’s favourite vegetables and as we haven’t been able to buy it anywhere, growing it is the only option. I usually get the seeds from Real Seeds, but due to the Covid 19 outbreak, the daily buying window for the site is too short and I had to buy on eBay instead.
But I digress…
The gel was really easy to make, though I feel like I should reiterate that you need it to cool before using it. If you don’t, you risk cooking your seeds before you get them in the mud. And obviously, this method uses a plastic bag as a dispenser, but there’s nothing to say that you need to use a brand new freezer bag for this – reused packagaing works just as well, it transpires.
Above is a picture of the seeds supsended in the gel. It looks… snotty…
Out in the raised beds, I lay a bamboo cane on the soil and pushed it in so I would get a line to squish the gel into. As you can see, I’m planting the carrots with the onions. The onion on the bottom right is a shop-bought one that started sprouting in the cupboard so I thought I would put it in the mud to see what happened… technical stuff…
Over in the other bed, I did the same thing with the root parsley seeds.
The next few days have rain forecast, so hopefully I won’t have to do too much watering to keep these guys from drying out.
I will send an update when I have one! Cross fingers for me!