transplanting carrots

telow(7a)February 2, 2012

Most websites say don't transplant but some say that even commercial growers do it.A video on youtube shows a man transplanting at the blade of grass stage.I would prefer the transplants be larger than that. Most blogs say to plant as soon as the ground can be worked but,wait a minute, the soil should be at least 65 to 75 degrees which usually means April. My garden can be worked now but the soil is not 75 degrees. If I wait for the soil to warm and we have a year like last year they will be growing in 100 degree heat before you know it. Can I start them in toilet paper rolls and if so, when?Is it better just to wait and direct sow? My hard drive is being worked on and I borrowed my sons laptop so it will probably be this weekend before I get to read any replies so thank you now.

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I have NEVER transplanted carrots. But I have started them early, mid and late. If it's hot, they don't germinate any better than when it is to cold.

I would think, (mostly cause of previous experiences) direct sowing sometime mid March should work.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 5:38PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I agree with Moni that direct sowing sometime in mid-March will work. If you wait much later than that, they'll be maturing in hotter weather and that will negatively affect their flavor.

I have started carrots inside in toilet paper tubes filled with potting soil and transplanted them into the garden in mid-March. I didn't get carrots any earlier than I do when I direct sow, so I decided it wasn't worth the time spent starting them indoors.

To get a little faster germination, cover the bed outside where you intend to sow seed with black plastic 2 or 3 weeks before your seed-sowing date. That will warm up the soil. After I direct-sow, I lightly mist the freshly-planted seed bed, then cover it with a large sheet of cardboard held down with bricks. It helps hold in the moisture, and also keeps the seeds from washing away or blowing away. I lift the cardboared daily and check underneath it for signs of little green sprouts. As soon as the first seeds break the surface of the soil, I remove the cardboard.

Another way to help carrot seeds break through the soil surface, which sometimes tends to crust over and get a little hard, is to sow radish seeds with them or in a row right beside them. The larger radish seeds germinate pretty quickly and break through the soil surface, which makes it a little easier for the carrot seed to pop up through the surface of the soil too.

Or, if you have really dense clay soil, make a little furrow, sow your carrot seed and, instead of covering them with the native soil, sprinkle a little compost or sand over the furrow to cover the carrot seed. That makes it a bit easier for them to germinate.

If you don't have any luck with spring carrots, try again in the fall. They germinate really fast in warm soil and by the time they're maturing, the temperatures are low enough that they usually have great flavor.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 7:14PM
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I work hard to do a lot of things to beat the system, but transplanting carrots started in TP tubes is where I draw the line. Instead, I spend my winter gardening time making seed mats. They allow me to have the spacing I want, without a whole lot of thinning or seed waste. Second, they can be made on the kitchen counter--no bending, no sore back. Third, the mats help retain moisture around the seeds, and minimize crusting. Lastly, my kids enjoy making them, and its something they can leave and come back to as their attention spans allow.

There are lots of variations out there, and all of them are good. I've finally settled on this one.
1.Choose a decent quality paper towel, cut it into suitable lengths, and if you like, a narrower width. I find a 4 foot length is as long as I want to fight in the Oklahoma wind. Separate into single plys and use only one ply.
2. Place small drops of washable Elmer's glue on each of the spots where you want seeds. I pre-mark with a sharpie for the benefit of the kids, but it isn't necessary. I can fit more into a width by staggering each row in between the next, instead of having perfectly aligned rows and columns.

3. Sprinkle 2-4 seeds on each glue dot and allow to dry.

4. After they are thorougly dry, roll them and store them in ziplocs until time to plant.

To sow, cover the mats with a sprinkling of soil, being careful to cover the edges so the wind doesn't catch them.

The secret to germination, in addition to the right temps, is to never let them dry out. I sprinkle soil over the mats in my sandy soil, and keep a "sprinkler" in rotation almost non-stop until they germinate. I say "sprinker" because the output of what I use is much more of a mist that doesn't wash away the soil.

One way to retain moisture is to lay strips of burlap over the sown area. This applies whether you use seed mats or just sprinkle the seeds on the ground. When the "grass blades" peek up through the burlap, it has served is moisture retaininig purpose and should be gently removed.

If you need to thin, use tiny scissors instead of pulling them out. That will prevent disturbing the roots.

By the way, I store my carrots right where I grow them. One of the classic gardening books suggest pulling them, then storing them in sand in buckets in a cool basement. If I had clay I might do that, but because I garden in sand, I just leave them.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 2:51PM
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"I pre-mark with a sharpie for the benefit of the kids, but it isn't necessary"

If you believe that it is ONLY for the kids then you don't know seedmama as well as I do. LOL

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 3:13PM
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seedmama - thanks for that, I had forgotten all about seedmats! Now I want to grow some carrots, or at least try...

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 6:50PM
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Ok. PRIMARILY for the benefit of the kids. Mwah Hah Hah Hah!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 9:04AM
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I've never heard of transplanting. I buy pelleted seed for even planting . I also put a board over mine to keep the soil from drying out. I start checking about three weeks after sowing and remove the board at first emergent of carrots.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 5:03PM
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