Carrot Sprout Carnage
It’s carrot seed planting time! It’s an exciting and rejuvenating time of year, seeds being planted, perennial sprouts emerging, spring flowers and summer flower buds are abundant everywhere.
Well, what am I talking about then…carrot sprout carnage??
Back up a little while: Read how I built a small raised bed on a pallet that had side walls already fixed to it about two weeks ago.
Anyway, it’s late April and early May, summer is right around the corner. In this area we don’t get summer until a few serious spring time rain storms have gone through. This is normal and usually there is little damage to the garden and the new babies, but yesterday was different. It was not a normal storm that came through.
My local area on the west coast of BC received approximately 83mm of rain in less than one day. Even for this wet, rainy location of the country this is a huge amount of rain.
It poured for hours and hours with HUGE drops just pounding everything and causing rivers down the street with flooding and damage all over. It sounded like a freight train barreling across the roof of the house for nearly the whole day and night.
We normally get less than 83mm of rain in the entire month of May, yesterday we received that amount in less than 24 hours!
Treat Rain as a Pest
As far as gardening goes, rain can be considered a serious “pest” and a hazard to your growing efforts and eventual harvests.
Rain can be a potentially big problem for the tender little sprouts, but vicious rain like what’s described above can be detrimental to a garden and lethal to baby sprouts.
Two weeks ago I planted the carrot seeds in the “raised bed on a pallet”. They had just begun to sprout and emerge from the soil (14-17 days usually) with the Cotyledon leaves showing their new perfect beauty last week.
This is their most tender and vulnerable time. The rain struck at the worst possible moment in their growing cycle.
Hindsight is always 20/20 and I’m not sure why I didn’t run to their rescue when the rain began, but I didn’t. I could have easily covered them with a plank of wood (the pallet edge is higher than the sprouts) and they would have been fine.
The next day the bed looked like a battlefield with not a lot of survivors. Many of the baby sprouts were crushed, tipped over and broken, some were buried in mud or just simply gone.
The bed had protection to keep cats from digging in it, which are the green metal grids you can see in the images however these are a very bad thing when heavy rain strikes.
They add an ability for the rain to “dig” down in to the soil and seriously harm seeds. You can see in the image that the grid damage can easily be seen as the rain dug square divets out of the soil. You can just barely, faintly see the poor flattened carrot sprouts.
I should have put a layer of plastic over the green grids or a piece of plywood over the whole bed for the time it was raining. This would have protected them perfectly and they would be unharmed now.
In this case since I didn’t protect them, it’s likely that I will have to abandon the few seeds that made it through the storm and replant the whole bed.
The other option is to wait two weeks and see how many survived and how many didn’t. This isn’t preferable because I would lose two weeks of growing time while waiting to probably find out that not many survived, then I would just be two weeks behind on the road to another crop harvest.
I decided to let them grow and see just how many made it through that storm. It looks like about 75% made it and survived the rain. Most of them needed a little help “up” in getting unstuck from the soil/mud. Once freed they stood up again and will soon resume growing.
The lesson to learn here is that when you see rain in the forecast after you’ve planted seeds, you have to run to protect them as soon as you can.
Have you had any disasters in your carrot patch? Leave a comment and share the story or ask if you have any questions.
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