carrots, organic, kitchen, gardening, karachi

Carrots: The Radiant Roots

‘Cosmic Purple’, ‘Atomic Red’, ‘Scarlet Nantes’, ‘Little Finger’ & ‘Yellowstone ‘ heirloom Carrot seed packs have been whispering  ‘sow us! sow us!’ since I received them few weeks back. I ignored their call thinking about all the labor that will go into making evenly spaced rows to plant these delicate seeds in my grow boxes and avoid thinning.  Then almost like a revelation, an D.I.Y idea popped up in my head that made me spring into action.

The Plan of Action

This year we are growing our organic vegetables, herbs & fruits in wooden boxes on our rooftop. One of my box is almost 8 feet long, 1.5 feet wide and almost 12 inches deep. This qualifies it as a perfect sized grow bed for my carrots but making straight rows at every two inches and spacing seeds to avoid thinning seemed  like a day-long job.

 On the other hand, I had carrots that were not only different in colors but also had a variety of sizes. For example, ‘Yellow Stone’  grows as big as 10”,  ‘ Cosmic Purple’ & ‘Atomic Red’  both get 8” long while the ‘Scarlet Nantes’ are 6 to 7 ” long. I decided to divide my bed equally for planting the longer ones. For the baby carrot ‘Little Finger’ I selected a 6 ” deep terracotta pot.

A Perfect Companion

c6After putting together this beautifully vibrant color pallet for my root vegetable, I decided to add some more splashes of color to the grow box by adding a combination of pole beans. ‘Kentucky wonder’  pole beans grows into a stunning vine with long strands of white flowers that turn into meaty pods. ‘ Purple ‘ beans also grows into a tall vine with pink  blooms and purple pods. Beans will not only be a visual treat but  they will also add abundance of nitrogen in to the soil that will make my roots grow.

You can grow any beans or peas along with carrots for nitrogen-fixation, onions & chives to repel bugs or radishes & lettuce to use the space more effectively!

Quick & Perfect Carrot beds

sowing, seeds, carrots, tray,Carrots are usually planted in rows  and later thinned to be spaced evenly. I don’t like to waste my seeds and try to plant seeds 2 ” away from each other. This clearly is time consuming.  This time I used my seedling trays to do this job.

I took a seed trays with 72 pockets and pressed it lightly on to the surface of my bed. When I lifted it, there were perfectly spaced holes for my carrots. 72 holes made in 5 seconds! I repeated this for the entire bed and had more than 360 holes ready to be planted in less than a minute. All I had to do now was to put 2 seeds in each hole and label. In the next ten minutes I was done planting my entire bed. I repeated the process for my terracotta pot which is almost as big as the seedling tray.

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These seeds were planted on the 1 November and on 19 November I saw first sprouts. I will post an update soon.

Learn all about starting a kitchen garden : Sow, You want to grow?

Happy Gardening!

WRITTEN BY:

Zahra Ali Husain is a sustainability educator, freelance writer and an environmentalist. She is also a co-founder of Organic City Pakistan and runs the Green Schools & the Horticulture Therapy programs along with Yasir Husain. Zahra also manages an organic farm.

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