Have you heard of sowing carrots in cornstarch? It is said to be a way of planting lots of carrots quickly and easily for great germination no thinning needed and preventing seed waste.
Wow, that’s a lot to ask from a planting method, especially if it comes to something as finicky as carrots.
With starting a new garden in the country this spring, and lots of things to do, we needed a no-fail method. After watching this video, I had to try it myself. Here we share our experiment with sowing carrots in corn starch.
Preparing the seeds
The seeds can be soaked for about two days so they start to sprout. Sprouted seeds are great because they give you a head start. However, they absolutely have to be kept moist. Since I knew that we could not be there to water, I went light on the sprouting. I still soaked them overnight but did not wait till they sprouted.
I would think that sprouting the seeds is optional, but if you want to do it, handle them with special care.
Prepare the cornstarch mixture
The corn starch mixture is 1 cup of water to 2 tablespoons of corn starch.
For a standard seed package, you will need about 2 cups.
Mix it in and bring it to a simmer so it becomes a nice jelly texture.
Let the cornstarch mixture cool completely.
Pour the cornstarch jell into a freezer bag, add the carrot seeds and mix well.
Now you are ready to head out into the garden to start planting. Take scissors with you, you will need them.
Planting the carrot seeds in cornstarch
At this point make sure that your garden soil is ready to plant. We share more about growing carrots here.
When you are ready, cut a little corner of the plastic bag with the cornstarch, and carrot seed mixture. In my first attempt, I made the hole a bit too big, so too many seeds came out.
You really want to have a small hole, so the seeds are spread out evenly, and thinning is unnecessary. I still have to practice a bit more.
Cover the seeds with a little bit of soil, so they do not dry out.
The result was great germination. As I said before, this was in our country garden, so we could not water much. We still watered whenever we were there, about once a week, or maybe twice on the weekend, but definitely not daily. It was also a dry spring.
If nothing else, the soaking and the corn starch did help with germination. To see the dense rows was very encouraging.
Did we have to thin them?
However, the dense rows also meant we had to thin them. I noticed though, that even though we had to thin the carrots, the thining was relatively simple. It seemed that there was still at least a little bit of space between, not like sometimes a cluster of seeds would germinate that is almost impossible to keep apart.
We thinned them a few times during the growing season and used the baby carrots. What was left, was still a dense row of carrots. In the picture above I opened up a row at the end of the season. They are beautifully growing mostly one by one.
Since we love fermented baby carrots, we did not worry too much about thining them perfectly.
Recap of our experiment
The fact that the cornstarch jelly helped to keep the seeds moist was very beneficial. That alone is worth doing it this way.
The thining, even though still needed (at least in our first experiment) was easy to do.
We ended up with a great harvest.
What is your way of sowing carrots? We would love to hear it.
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I’ve never heard of cornstarch seeding before. And you’re right – carrots are fussy. I’ll be trying the cornstarch method next year for sure!
I really enjoy your blog. It’s so valuable for us novice gardeners in Zone 3. Thank you!
Thank you for your kind words. The cornstarch seeding method is worth trying out.
I can’t wait to try this in the spring!
Hope it works just as great for you.
The last 2 articles have been eye opening for me! The cornstarch soaked carrots will be a lifesaver, next spring, but the fermented ‘maters sound luscious! I have a whole picnic table covered with various sized tomato’s so I’ll experiment a bit. Wonder if I could cut a larger tomato into smaller chunks first? Any thoughts?
Thank you for your gift of inspiration. I’m moving, tho slowly, toward year round gardening, here in zone 6 Connecticut. My only hangup is the trip to the garden. It’s only about 100 steps, but here, in the snow, snowshoes are sometimes necessary and they are not so much fun to deal with.
Anyway, thanks again for your latest VERY helpful articles!
Thank you for your kind words, it is always encouraging to hear that what we write is helpful.
As for the fermented tomato question, we would not suggest cutting up big ripe tomatoes to ferment. The reason is that tomatoes have a very high sugar content and will turn into wine. Small whole tomatoes on the other hand ferment before turning to wine.
Paul Crowe says
I dont use a bag but use a commercial kitchen squeezy bottle the sort they use for decorating the plates of food with flavoured oils. Used this method now for some 12 years after having a bad result from using wallpaper paste [the fungocide in that was too strong]. My neighbour uses the sort of pump type device used for applying bathroom sealant he says that the spouts that are provided can be cut to leave a very fine hole at the end of the spout. I will say I think my method is very slightly superior.
Love the squeezy bottle method, I can see how that would work perfectly. Thank you for sharing.
Lazy K says
The squeezy bottle is a great idea. I’m going to plant carrots today in my unheated greenhouse. Since we now have 10 hours of daylight I’ll be starting more cool season crops this week.