Please can I grow some carrots???

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This spring one of the girls at work (Lora Lea) suggested I write an article on killing plants.

What she was referring to was a gardeners burning desire to grow a certain plant. Some of us are so smitten with say, Orchids, that every time we spy one we take it home and then, well, we kill it. So we buy another….and we kill that one too. And another. It might be Roses, or Azaleas. Rhododendron. Ferns. Moss. African Violets. Cactus. Which causes the faded green spot on your thumb?

We gardeners own the phrase “try, try again”. Our blind tenacity should be bottled and sold.

The plants can’t speak, so they hang on, despite our best efforts to kill them. Finally, they think “I am outta here….why do they treat me this way?? Couldn’t they google search my wants and needs? Or even better, Central PA’s plant 411- call Highland Gardens???”

My latest killing spree involves carrot seeds. I have single handedly wiped out the growing chances of thousands of carrots. I should be growing State Fair qualifiers by now. I have a fluorescent green thumb. I try and try and try again. I think one year I had some (like 4) that were deformed and small.

3 failed attempts this spring…(one attempt was successful but then I sunburned them to death….) Laura Mathews, ( ), is the only person I know who has evidence she has succeeded- pictures as proof. But this year the Carrot Gods even abandoned her. So I found out a few things and I AM going to have a carrot crop this autumn.

First they hate to dry out when they are germinating. So sprinkling them on the soil and then forgetting about them for 3 weeks isn’t going to be helpful. This time I have a watering can with a sprinkler head at the ready. I planted them Thursday the 5th of August. ¼” deep, lightly covered with compost, watered them right away. Then I forgot Friday,

 but I did water the third day!! (Maybe if I connect it to my morning coffee…sip…water carrots…sip…) It can take a week for them to germinate. Because of this heat, their tiny root systems will dry out very easily. Keep watering every day til they are bigger.

They also don’t like cold soils, and it sure was cold this spring. There is nothing cold about the soil now with all this heat!

Spacing the seeds or thinning the seedlings will give bigger, well formed carrots (yeh, right, as if I will get that far….).

Ain’t cultural information grand? You just have to find out what the plant wants. And then actually do that.

 This is the horse being led by the carrots and I am gonna get those carrots! 

Persistently yours,


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