The fella’s favourite birthday cake is carrot cake with a cream cheese icing. It’s what his mother used to make him.
This year my plan was to grow all the carrots I needed to make the cake for his birthday which is in January. An ambitious plan that has gone horribly, horribly wrong.
Carrots are a bitch to germinate.
Last year I planted carrots in early April. Their germination was sporadic at best. A clump would grow and then nothing else would. Then a month later a few more would sprout. I had a decent carrot harvest but nothing like what I’d planted.
Carrots like 2 things to germinate. Darkness and moisture. Like mould. Or a yeast infection. If they don’t have either of these things for even a day, their germination rate can drop by 50%.
Now, I knew this little fact going into my planting schedule this year so I armed myself with a fool proof plan. Problem is, that fool proof plan, hadn’t seen this fool. I tried a technique I’d seen on the Internet. It involves gluing each and every carrot seed onto a piece of paper towel, than placing that towel of glued seeds onto your garden soil and covering it with a very thin layering of compost.
You then water the paper towels and soil, cover them with a board to keep them dark and VOILA … in 7-14 days you have nothing. At all. Oh wait. No, no, I see one. There’s a single little set of carrot leaves. After 20 days.
So yesterday I set about trying to figure this out for reals. I hate the stupid Internet because it really is a big, fat LIAR but sometimes listening to what might be a lie, is your only hope in hell of getting something done.
The one thing that seemed to make a lot of sense was getting your carrot seeds to germinate PRIOR to planting them. I sussed out a few methods and decided on this one.
You need squares of cardboard, carrot seeds, and paper towels.
Place a very damp paper towel on a piece of cardboard (or anything else sturdy).
Place your carrot seeds 2 inches apart across the whole paper towel until it’s covered. You’ll plant about 20-25 seeds per paper towel. Since I plant a lot of carrot varieties, I label each board to know what’s what.
Cover with another wet paper towel.
Continue doing this with all of your seeds.
Stack the boards up and place the entire stack in a plastic bag and put it in a dark area.
I am currently in the waiting phase. In 7 – 10 days you can check to see if anything’s going on in there.
As soon as the seeds have germinated and have a tiny root on them you can take the piece of cardboard and paper towel outside. Carefully slip the paper towel off of the cardboard and onto your (very well dug) garden soil. Cover with a 1/4 or less of compost or vermiculite.
Bake at 375° for 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
update: It is now 12:45 a.m. I just got out of bed to check on my carrot seeds. Like any normal person would. THEY HAVE SPROUTED. In 7 days my carrot seeds have sprouted. Which is unheard of in the carrot world. It’s a little carrot miracle. Lord only knows what else is possible if I put my mind and the Internet lies to work.
I will be planting the carrots outside tomorrow. Behold the seeds of hope.
There may be a birthday cake being served, yet.