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By Cecelia

Dumfriesshire, United Kingdom Gb

Advice please if you can. I have got a propagator with some earl carrot seeds in. They are just beginning to show in the compost. When do I take the lid off the propagator, is it now or do I leave it until the seedling are a bit bigger. Do I leave the lid on but open the vents etc. I am ok up to this point and then seem to lose the seedlings. I hope to put the carrots in the polytunnel when the weather is better. Thanks Cecelia



if there are vents open them during the day and then close them at night. How deep is the compost you have them in as root disturbance will affect how they grow later in the year?

Do they just have one pair of plain leaves? or have they started to produce their feathery adult leaves.

29 Jan, 2020


Hi, I agree with the above,carrots hate being disturbed, the usual practice, is to sow the seed under cloches outside, in the first or second week of march, removing the cloches in the first or second week of April, you can also sow early seed outside without cloches at this time, earlies take about 12 weeks to maturity, sow maincrop varieties in first or second week of May, and these take about 16 weeks to maturity, Derek.

29 Jan, 2020


Thank you for the advice. The carrots have about 2.5 inch of compost and have not yet got the feathery leaves. It looks like I am a bit too eager in wanting my carrots - It will soon be March!

30 Jan, 2020


I agree with above, carrots don't like being moved or disturbed (no plant wants to be disturbed to be honest) but you don't want to promote mold/fungus with excess moisture. Carrots do best in an arid environment. That's why they create that big fat tap root. I sow mine directly in the ground after cultivating a bed for them then thin out the weaklings. The good ones never get disturbed. Here we refer to them as a cold crop. They can withstand a light frost or two and mid-March is not too soon. Maybe you can plant them sooner where you live. The cool weather makes them sweeter and keeps the pests away.

Carrots need open air so I would remove the lid altogether once you see the true leaves. They also need lots of vertical space and that propagator ain't gonna do it for long. Consider cultivating a new bed for them outside where they can get full sun. Plant a couple packets of new seeds then just thin out the weak ones with a snip snip.

31 Jan, 2020


Thank you, I will plant some in a raised bed in March and keep my fingers crossed.Cecelia

31 Jan, 2020


Cecilia...when you come to transplant them, be very careful that the root is straight in its planting hole. The tiny root it has will become the carrot, so you want it straight. I’ve done it myself and learned the hard way. Easiest way is to add lots of sharp sand to the bed so you can get a nice deep, straight hole to drop the seedlings in to. :)

1 Feb, 2020


Thanks I will try that. We planted about 6 carrots last year just because I got some free seed and thought we should try them. They did not grow very big and had odd shapes but the taste was excellent, not like the rubbish I have eaten for the past 65 yrs. Live and Learn. Cecelia

2 Feb, 2020


Yes, I grew some lovely purple ones last year and am going to have another go with them. They were a huge success. Looked and tasted lovely! :)

2 Feb, 2020

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