Gardeners Corner

The importance of soil testing and how to plant carrots

Last week I mentioned taking a soil sample and test it for pH and N.P.K. (nitrogen, phosphate and potassium); for this, you need a soil testing kit.

For lack of space, I will get into fertilizing another week.

This subject is so essential I decided to spend some time using the following illustration. The old proverb says: “A chain is only as good as its weakest link.”

Therefore, you can get the best seeds, sowing them at the right depth, sit back and wait for the seeds to sprout. Neglecting to water the seeds, this is your weakest link, or you can water before waiting.

If you then decided not to take a soil sample, the soil might not have the right nutrients, this is your weakest link, because you might later find out the crop didn’t produce the result you would typically have received.

What vegetable should you grow if you are a beginner to vegetable gardening? I believe carrots are.

But again, every vegetable has its challenges.

Before seeding, I measure the vegetable garden and place a wood piece at each row end. Then I attach a piece of string between the sticks and leave it until the seeds have germinated because you will know where to water and where not to walk.

I then use a small Dutch hoe to make a trench, the depth the seeds call for.

When you do the seeding, sow them very thinly, as the germination per cent is relatively high. It also makes the thinning out easier.

I use sucker hoses for the watering. To make sure they never dry out, I use a timer to turn the water on and off at specific times.

The greatest challenge is the carrot rust fly.

This insect also attacks celery, parsnips, celeriac, parsley, and dill. It is actually the larva that does the damage.

I have not had any problems with the carrot rust fly. But to prevent them from laying their eggs next to the carrots, use crop rotation.

Always seed carrots in different areas of the garden each year. Lightweight floating row covers are available.

I use both companion planting and crop rotation. For companion planting, uses marigolds, onions, garlic; their odour keeps the carrot rust fly away.

If you have any questions or suggestions for topics, please email me: