It’s the start of another year – and what better way to start off 2013 than to direct sow seeds in the garden. Yes, you heard that right. Here in Indiana – United States Department of Agriculture hardiness zone 6 – I sow carrot seed in the garden on January 1. Now I do not sow the seed in the open garden, instead I sow it inside of a tunnel house – or sometimes I simply cover seed sown in the open garden with a cold frame which then allows me to plant it exactly where I want it.
I make sure the soil is moist before I sow the seeds – and often put a thin layer of snow on top of the seeds after I plant them. As the snow melts, the seeds get enough moisture to germinate – and best of all, I don’t have to lug water into the garden and take a chance of washing some of the tiny carrot seeds away during the watering process.
It is important to remember that carrot seeds are best sown directly on top of the soil. This improves germination – but you must press the seeds into the soil. This makes sure the seeds and soil are in direct contact with one another so once the seeds begin to germinate the tiny roots can easily find their way into the soil and take up the moisture and nutrients they need to grow.
Remember to mark your rows when you plant so later on you do not forget where you planted them. An economical way to make plant markers is to cut up old window blinds but be sure to use either a garden marker or pencil to write on them.
The seeds you plant during the winter will not germinate right away, but they will germinate as soon as the soil temperature is correct. The best part of direct sowing seeds outdoors in late winter is that once they do germinate the seedlings are much stronger and often grow faster than those planted at the “correct time,” plus sowing seeds in the “off-season” leaves more time during the busy spring season for other activities.
What are your New Year’s Day planting traditions?