Why Are My Carrot Seeds Not Germinating?- Do you have the same question, if Yes, don’t worry. I have a solution for you and it works.
Carrot is a well-known root vegetable. It belongs to the umbellifer family- Apiaceae, species- Daucus carota under Sub Species- Sativus. The main Taproot of the plant is the true carrot. It is very healthy and contains several vitamins namely- Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Vitamin B6.
Carrots have small fennel, Cumin-like seeds. The seeds have a hard outer covering that protects them from environmental hazards. This hard outer shell is the main reason for slow germination in carrots. Don’t worry we can deal with this situation.
Check out my previous post: Will Tomatoes Grow in Shade?- Kitchen garden facts
Before that lets us first understand the basics of carrot seed germination.
How long does it take for carrot seeds to sprout?
Carrot seeds usually take 14-21 days to germinate. You have to wait for 3 weeks before anything comes out of these seeds.
It is a slow germination plant. So every carrot grower must keep patience for weeks to observe the success.
What temperature do carrot seeds need to germinate?
Carrot seeds require temperatures between 15-21 degrees celsius or 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the optimum moderate spring temperature. It is neither too cold nor too hot.
Full sun in moderate temperature is best for carrot cultivation.
Read more about Carrots: Are Rainbow Carrot Genetically Modified?- Garden facts
Soil Requirement for Carrot
A Carrot plant requires soft loamy black soil. It must be rich in organic matter and free from any debris. Small stone or pebbles, and hard soil can deform the root shape. Therefore, try to keep 10-12 inch deep soil perfectly clean.
The soil must have good drainage. You can use sand to keep the soil loose and porous.
Ideal soil mix for carrot must have Ph between 6.3-6.8Ph. It is slightly acidic just below the neutral range. Therefore a raised bed is best to grow carrots.
Factors that can Slow down carrot Germination
There are many environmental factors present in a garden that can clearly slow down the germination of carrot seeds. Some of these are –
- Low Temperature. Carrot seeds will not germinate if the soil temperature is below 55 degrees Fahrenheit or 13 degrees celsius. low temperature is not ideal for carrot plantations.
- Low moisture. Carrot seeds are sown just 1/2-1/4 inch below the soil. So you have to make sure the soil remains moist until the seed germinates.
- High Soil Ph. The germination rate of carrot seeds can reduce drastically with a slight increase in soil ph. You must add an extra 2-3 inch layer of compost before sowing. This can avoid the chance of ph increase during the growth period.
- The hardness of the soil. Carrot seeds will never germinate if the soil is hard or it forms a crust over the seeds. If the soil contains a large amount of clay. Then it is not suitable for carrots. The soil must feel soft and loose. It must remain soft after watering. You can use sand to keep it loose.
- Sunlight. Though sunlight is not necessary for the first couple of weeks. A carrot plant needs sunlight once it starts germinating. Sunlight is required to maintain the soil temperature and to support photosynthesis.
Some other factors can delay, slow, or even stop the germination of carrot seeds.
Factors other than nature
- Digging animals like squirrels and rats. It is really heartbreaking, you sow the seeds and someone steals them. It can happen if you are accompanied by some garden digging squirrels or rats. Just use some protective covering or nets to save your Carrot seeds.
- Pets and children playing in the garden. It is an obvious problem, especially if you have pets and children in the house. Just try to stop them from playing. Don’t worry this is not gonna happen. You can only create a fence to avoid ramming in your vegetable garden.
- Birds. Simply install a scarecrow or a bird net to avoid this problem.
How do you increase carrot germination?
You can increase the germination of carrot seeds by controlling the growing environment. first of all, if you have checked all the environmental and other factors. Then It’s time to look out for the carrot seeds.
Yes, Trust me different varieties of carrots have different germination rates. It is usually printed on the back of the seed cover. Another important thing to consider is the expiration date of the seed. You may think it is silly.
But most hybrid seeds lose their viability after this expiration date. In fact, you may get only 10-15% germination with the same seed that gives more than 75% in the previous season. So make sure you have got the best quality viable carrot seeds.
Now if everything is right then how to increase the germination rate. The best option is the pre-sprouting of carrot seeds. It is a tricky job but it can increase germination by 40%. With successful germination, you can easily save up to two weeks in harvesting carrots.
There are two ways to Pre-sprout the carrot seeds-
- Hot water treatment
- Cold stratification.
Hot water Treatment for pre-sprouting carrot Seeds
- Take a germination tray or any plastic zip bag.
- Put soil soft organic healthy soil mix in the tray.
- Sprinkle the carrot seeds over the surface of the soil.
- Pour hot boiling water over the seeds. Only 1 or 2 cups of boiling water are enough. It will soften the hard shell of carrot seeds and encourage sprouting. Make sure the seeds are not submerged in the boiling water or they will be cooked.
- Cover the tray with plastic transparent wrap. This wrap will keep the moisture and temperature inside the soil. It will act as a mini-greenhouse for the carrot seeds. The zipper bag will do the same.
- Keep an eye on the moisture level. If it feels dry then spray some water to keep it moist. Any kitchen or garden sprayer will do the job.
- The carrot seeds will start sprouting within a week in this enclosure. Don’t disturb the germinating seedling unless you want to move it out.
- Once proper roots are visible. Take the seeds out with the growing media and put them in the garden or container to grow. Evenly spread these germinated seeds in the rows and furrows.
Cold Stratification for pre-sprouting Carrot seeds
- Put some carrot seeds in a zip bag or wet paper towel and place them inside the fridge for 18-24 hours. It will put the seed in winter shock.
- Take out the bag or paper towel and place it over a hot grow pad. You can simply place it over the fridge. It only requires a temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit for a couple of days to sprout.
- The seed should start sprouting within 3-5 days. Keep it moist and warm for 7 days and then move it outside.
- Carefully place the germinated carrot seeds in the desired location. Keep them evenly spaced. Put a thin layer of soil to cover the seeds. 1/4 inch soil cover should be enough to keep the seeds in place.
- Don’t forget to water and use a bird net if required to protect the seeds.
Special tips: Water the growing media, soil, or raised garden bed before putting the germinated seeds. This will maintain the temperature and moisture of the growing carrot. It will also protect the seeds from quickly drying.
What do I do if my seeds don’t germinate?
Don’t give hope. It is more likely a natural environmental factor than a human error that causes the problem. To make sure this never happens again- do some pre-checks.
- First, check the soil consistency and Ph.
- Check for carrot variety and seed viability.
- Finally, adopt alternate methods for Carrot seed germination.
Next time separate the seeds into 3 or 4 groups. Try to grow each group by different methods. you can use hot boiling water for one and cold stratification for the other, and simple sowing for the third group.
Record the germination rate, time, and health of the seedlings. This will ensure you have the best and most successful method for your local environment.
Do carrot seeds need the sun to germinate?
Yes, carrots seeds do need the sun to germinate. Sun is the natural source of heat. If you don’t want to invest in fancy heating pads or grow light. Then the one and the only sun is the best option.
Proper sunlight will regulate the moisture and temperature throughout the germination process. Finally, the heat will help the seed shell to break and absorb the moisture.
Indeed, the sun doesn’t interact directly with the carrot seed for the first couple of weeks. But keep in mind sunlight is very important. It has many functions like nutrition fixation other than simple photosynthesis.
Why Are My Carrot Seeds Not Germinating?
The carrot seed usually takes 2-3 weeks or 21 days to germinate. You should wait and watch if it grows within this time frame. If not then check for the reasons behind it.
Start with checking the night temperature. It must sta above 55-60 Fahrenheit. Then lookout for the expiration of the seeds. Make sure the seeds you are using are viable to grow.
Next Checkout of soil quality and consistency. Maintain enough moisture in a soft acidic soil mix. It should be enough to grow any carrot variety.
Select the short carrot varieties especially to grow in containers. Use containers at least 10-12 inches deep for carrots. Reconsider your overall process if your carrot seeds not germinating after all these steps.
Also read: Is Squash a Gourd? Kitchen Garden facts
Why are my carrots taking so long to grow?
Friends Carrot cultivation is not for restless beginner gardeners. Anyone can indeed grow carrots. But those who grow it must have some patience. There is no point in complaining about carrot seeds not germinating.
Even the best carrot varieties take 70-80 days or even more to mature after germination. Sometimes it can take up to 100 days especially if the temperature is low.
I personally grow carrots alongside long white Radish. Trust me I harvest radish twice before a single carrot is ready to harvest. It takes time and it’s worth waiting.
Just do your job by regularly feeding and watering the plants. Rest is up to nature. There is no way to hurry this process. It will mature in its time.
Why Are My Carrot Seeds Not Germinating?- I have asked this question several times. But the answer lies within my experience. I have found the solution after several tries and It really works for me.
So Wait for it and Keep Reading Keep gardening!