Growing Carrots the Square Foot Gardening Way
Square foot gardening is a great way to raise delicious, healthy vegetables in a very small space. Square foot gardening is appropriate for almost any garden vegetable that you can think of and makes growing and caring for vegetables easier than you could ever imagine. One of the most popular vegetables grown in square-foot gardens is carrots. Carrots are very easy to grow in square-foot gardens; however, producing fresh tasting, long carrots in a square foot garden does require a little extra work. So, here is a handy how-to guide on how to grow healthy, long-length carrots in your square-foot garden.
Step 1 - Build the Riser Frame
To grow long-length carrots in your square foot garden grid, you will need to build up one or more sections of the grid to use for planting your carrots. In order to do this you will need to create a bottomless box that you will insert into one of the grid sections of your square foot garden. Building the frame is relatively easy and simply involves creating a box out of the four pieces of plywood attached to the 1x4 lumber, which will act as a frame for the box. Make your riser box slightly smaller than the width of the grid so that it can fit snugly inside the grid box.
Step 2 - Prepare the Square Foot Garden Mixture
As with many other types of vegetables grown in square foot gardens, you don't really need to use dirt or soil for growing carrots. Create your growing mixture with equal amounts of compost, peat moss and vermiculite. When using compost, you should try to obtain composts from as many different sources as possible. Keep in mind that the more types of organic materials that your compost contains, the more nutrients the compost will provide for your carrots. Mix the components together thoroughly and add enough of the mixture to the riser frame to bring the level within 2 or 3 inches from the top of the frame.
Step 3 - Plant the Seeds
Although conventional planting methods require you to space carrot seeds about 1 to 1½ feet apart, with square foot gardening, you can place many more carrot seeds in a smaller space. In fact, you should be able to grow up to 16 carrot plants in a single square-foot grid. Space the seeds evenly in four rows of four seeds each. Plant the seeds in about 2 or 3 inches of the mixture and cover them.
Step 4 - Water the Seeds
Water the new carrot seeds thoroughly but do not soak the soil or the seeds. Continue to water the new carrot seeds daily until the plants begin to sprout from the growing mixture. Then, reduce watering to as needed to keep the soil moist.
Step 5 - Add Mulch
Once the carrot plants have started growing, and are 2 to 3 inches in height, add organic mulch around the carrot plants. Use 1 or 2 inches of your favorite mulch to retain moisture in the soil, but not do not use too much or this may impede growth.
Step 6 - Harvest the Carrots
Different varieties of carrots will be harvested after different lengths of growing time. Keep in mind that in square foot gardens it may take longer for carrots to reach the desired length than the time listed on the carrot seed packet. Periodically check your carrots, and harvest them when they are ready.