How to Plant Carrots Under Plastic Mulch
Carrot seeds require warm, moist soil to germinate and thrive. In areas where the weather is a bit dry during the spring and summer planting season, providing an ideal environment for the seeds can prove difficult. Covering the garden bed with a layer of plastic mulch is one way to keep the seeds warm and and damp while they grow. Plastic mulch also tends to block weed growth, which can be helpful when the delicate seedlings are just forming.
Till the garden bed with a hand tiller, working the soil eight to nine inches deep. Remove all stones, roots and other debris from the soil; anything that gets in the way of the carrots could cause them to grow crookedly.
Scatter the carrot seeds in rows spaced 12 to 18 inches apart. Cover the seeds with about 1/2 inch of tilled soil.
Water the seeds gently, but thoroughly. Make sure the soil in the garden bed is wet but that no puddles of standing water form on the surface of the dirt.
Bury the loose end of the roll of plastic mulch at the end of the first row. Make sure that it is sunk in deep enough that it won't be pulled up by the wind (about four to six inches). Unroll the plastic mulch over the row.
Cut off the sheet of mulch, leaving about a six-inch tail, and bury the tail in the dirt at the other end of the row. Repeat the process until all rows are covered.
Mulch is a layer of organic or inorganic material spread over the garden bed. It also regulates soil temperature, keeping it cooler in hot weather and warmer in cool weather. Pebbles and rocks are often used to mulch around landscape plants, but not used in the vegetable garden where the soil is frequently turned and worked. Organic mulches are more labor intensive to apply, but they break down over time so you don't have to physically remove them. Spreading mulch over the seed bed will smother the carrot seeds and prevent germination. Late summer is the best time to plant carrots. You can also plant carrots from seed in early spring for a summer harvest.
Always remove plastic mulch as soon as the carrot seedlings poke through the earth.
- Always remove plastic mulch as soon as the carrot seedlings poke through the earth.
- Hand tiller
- Carrot seeds
- Plastic mulch
- University of Illinois Extension: Carrot
- Mississippi State University: Mulching in the Vegetable Garden
- Washington State University Extension: Mulching for Weed Management in Organic Vegetable Production
- Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County: Planning Your Vegetable Garden
- Ohio State University: Growing Carrots in the Home Garden
- Sunset: Cool-Season Vegetables