One day I’ll achieve carrot germination like this (below)…
If you haven’t tried, you’ll have no idea how difficult this is. It requires consistent moisture for about three weeks running (not to mention good, fresh seed). That’s impossible in an Aussie spring. A week of cool, damp weather will be followed by sunny blasts with drying winds, and what had looked like dark, rich, humussy soil converts to blowing desert dust in a few hours.
After years of frustrated attempts, I decided this year to get in early, and beat the Jekyll-and-Hyde weather systems of spring by sowing carrot seed in late winter. My theory, which I’ve already deleted several times from this post as I realise just how seriously unfounded it is, was that seed that takes forever to germinate in normal spring/early summer temps (like carrot and parsley), is going to be proportionally less effected by lower temperatures than fast germinating seed. A ridiculous assertion, but one I feel inclined to hang onto. Anyway, I just made the winter sowing date – on the 29th August. The pic on the right shows the new-borns on the 18th September. The result wasn’t a perfect row, but was as good as I’ve ever done, and that without virtually any watering. I’m munching on one of the grown-ups as I write.
I also used what’s known in the UK as horticultural fleece, which is like a superfine doona that allows water and air through, but slows down surface drying (and also protects from attacking insects and a few degrees of frost, but neither of those were a concern). I don’t know of a single retail supplier in Australia, but Sage Horticultural – a wholesale supplier – sells it via mail order, as white spun polypropylene.
Any other hints for the carrot germination obsessive?
By the way, the pic of the perfect row of young carrots above was taken in a tiny private vegetable garden in Bibury, in the Cotswolds, UK. This was the view across the river, from that very garden..