Have you tried this when planting carrots?

dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Vegetables

Ran across this on another site and wondered if anyone has even heard of it. Take 1Tablespoon cornstarch and 1 cup water, whisk and boil until you have a smooth gel. Let cool, add carrot seeds and put into a squeeze bottle (like the reusable ketchup bottle that used to be on the table in every cafe) and squeeze out into the prepared garden spot. The gel keeps the seeds suspended which, according to this source, helps with spacing, and the gel also coats the seeds helping to keep them moist. The comments on this indicate they have near 100% germination in 5 to 7 days.


  • tomandcara
    tomandcara Posts: 712 ✭✭✭✭

    @dottile46 I wonder if they are claiming improved germination rates or just accelerated germination rates? Any idea about that?

  • soeasytocraft
    soeasytocraft Posts: 237 ✭✭✭

    I hope this will work. We are going to try it this year.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,153 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Interesting idea. Might have to try some both ways this year and see which comes out better. If anyone else tries it let us know how it works for you. We can't plant outside till June 1st here.

  • blevinandwomba
    blevinandwomba Posts: 813 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2020

    Well, I haven't tried it, but Steve Solomon recommends the method in Gardening When it Counts(pg 126-127). He says it is also good for lettuce and radishes. He sprouts the seeds first.

    I'm thinking about trying it for growing hamburg parsley root next year- getting it started has been a little tricky.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,604 admin
    edited May 2020

    I would be interested in the answer to @tomandcara's question too.

    This sounds like a very fun way for kids to plant seeds too. I will put a cheap ketchup bottle on my list of things to get next week.

    All I have done is lay boards over the seed to improve germination. I found it worked fairly well.

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

    Of course I have to be the one to put a clinker in this process - I'm allergic to corn so cornstarch is out. But I bet this would work well with arrowroot also so I will give it a try that way.

    And yes, 5 years of gardening so far and carrots has been one of my nemesis's so far. Last year I had an excellent crop considering my rates of harvest the four years before. I keep trying all the suggestions such as cover with boards, burlap, row cover, water consistently until germinated etc etc but last year is the only year all that seemed to work.

    This year already, 4 packs of seeds were placed out, covered (different areas with different covers to test), watered etc and I have a total of 6 plants which came up and are trying to grow in the last couple of months. Our weather has been totally screwy though this year so I'm guessing most of their problems have just been Mother Nature just was not ready to let me garden.

    Gotta try this though and see if this makes any difference. I always add a Fall crop also each year, hoping for winter harvest so we'll see if this works.

  • Megan Venturella
    Megan Venturella Posts: 678 ✭✭✭✭

    How many seeds do you add to one cup of water and cornstarch, I wonder?

  • Melinda
    Melinda Posts: 123 ✭✭✭

    I’ve seen this. It’s supposed to help with putting out the seeds in a non wasteful way? I don’t think it’s supposed to actually help growing.

  • dottile46
    dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭
    edited May 2020

    @tomandcara the main idea that I got was that it just made planting them easier, as in more uniform sowing. Here's what I read:

    "This is something I am so excited about! Carrots are always hard to germinate. They need constant moisture to germinate. If they dry out they won't germinate or few germinate and sporadically.

    In the top picture only a few germinated from first sowing and took a few weeks. Bottom picture is from second sowing where I tried a new technique and it was successful!

    Most people trying this technique first germinate seeds in paper towels indoors. When I tried this indoors mine molded and did not germinate. So I skipped this part.

    I made a gel from 1 TBSP of cornstarch and 1 cup water. I wisked bringing to a boil till thickened and smooth. Next I waited till cooled and added carrots seeds that were not sprouted (others pre sprout). I then poured into squeeze bottle. Carrot seeds are so tiny and hard to plant with correct spacing. The gel fixes this problem by suspending seeds in mixture . When squeezed into a furrow it spaces them out. The gel also coats the seeds keeping them moist.

    Virtually all seeds germinated within 5 days. Planting carrots has never been easier. Next time I will use fewer seeds. I did not expect them all to germinate!" Suzy's Garden

  • dottile46
    dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭

    The best, most consistent, crop of carrots I ever grew were planted using the square foot gardening method, kinda. I buy a cut-to-fit air filter similar to this with the black, plastic grid to hold the filter in. We had a piece off the long side that we laid on the soil and seeded in each hole. We had about a 75% germination but I didn't keep part of it evenly moist. These were sown in our hoop house/greenhouse. This year I had a terrible germination of 2 seeds out of 45! That's like 4%, right?

  • tomandcara
    tomandcara Posts: 712 ✭✭✭✭

    Thank you @dottile46. It sounds like it increases the germination percent and speed. @LaurieLovesLearning I think we have our answer. Thank you again@dottile46

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    I'm glad you brought that up - I had read that years ago but then had forgotten about it. Last year I had three that sprouted. I let one go to seed and last Fall I just shook it over a wide area of the raised bed (16X4). This Spring I've had about a dozen pop up in different places and they taste much better. This year I ordered the purple carrots from Baker Creek and they sprouted much more than I've ever had luck with just row planting. Unfortunately the snails were super bad this year so I had to replant twice. I really like that idea, and for radishes or almost any small seeds. I added a LOT of leaves to my bed last year. They are breaking down nicely but the top layer blows with the wind and often can cover a seed or new sprout. @greyfurball I think arrowroot would work just fine.

  • Karin
    Karin Posts: 272 ✭✭✭

    so you mean that the ones not planted in rows tasted better? That's interesting, as we are always told to grow in rows. Might try that one next year, thanks :)

  • Melissa Swartz
    Melissa Swartz Posts: 270 ✭✭✭

    @dottile46 This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  • burekcrew86
    burekcrew86 Posts: 248 ✭✭✭

    Planting carrot seeds is always tricky. Intriguing idea. I’d love to hear from those who try this what their experience was?