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Cool carrot trick - try this if you’re gardening with kids

By Penny Stine

Growing carrots can be frustrating. The seeds are tiny and they take a long time to germinate. I’ve read that they need to be kept constantly moist in order to germinate, which gets tricky in our dry climate.
I read about this cool trick online and decided to try it. No, I don't have little kids, but I'm impatient and have had lousy germination rates with carrots. It’s kinda cool, so I’ll give a list of supplies you’ll need so you can do it, too:
plastic bags (I used some sealable bags and some produce bags from the grocery store)
thin cardboard squares cut small enough to fit in the plastic bag
paper towels
carrot seeds
Here are step-by-step instructions:

Moisten the paper towel and then spread it out on the cardboard.

Place seeds on the towel. I  guesstimated how big the full-grown carrots would be and tried to leave enough room. I think I probably crowded mine too much, since I ended up with more than 40 seeds on a paper towel. The blog I read said she had 24 carrots per towel.

At first, I didn’t cover the plastic bags,

but then read that the seeds should be in total darkness, so I put another piece of cardboard over the bags. I checked on them every other day or so and if the paper towel felt like it was drying out, I spritzed them with a spray bottle of water.





In a week, most of the seeds had germinated. Some were even showing signs of tiny green leaves. That was cool.




Next, I prepared my planting bed outside. I dug it one day with a hand shovel and then dug it again with a big shovel the next day. I probably should have done it with the big shovel first and then the hand shovel, but I didn't.

When planting carrots, it’s important to make sure you don’t have any rocks, roots or hard clods of dirt that will stunt your carrots’ growth. The soil should be damp, but not soggy.






I smoothed over the soil and simply laid the paper towels on top.Then I covered them with a thin layer of soil.





According to the blog I read, the paper towels will disintegrate and the carrots will grow above and below the two layers.

There was one fully sprouted seed that was on the edge of the paper towel, so I treated it carefully and tried not to disturb it when I planted and watered.
I plan on making sure these get water every day (not hard since the planting area is so tiny and I can do it with my big watering can) until they’re above ground and a little bigger.

 Then I’ll quit with the extra water and let my irrigation take over.

I’ll take a pic when they start to sprout above ground. Hopefully, that will be in a few days.  

As you can see, there are spots where the paper towel shows through. I was trying not to pile too much soil on top of the paper towels. 


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That’s cool Penny. We germinated ours in a substrate of cornstarch and water this year. It worked really well too.

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