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Space-saving technique for planting carrots and radishes

Newly planted rows of radishes and carrots being watched over by some garlic
Newly planted rows of radishes and carrots being watched over by some garlic
Sarah Bodnar

Due to recent appearances by the sun and a break in the rain, it is the perfect time to start your spring garden! I spent part of my Valentine's Day doing what I love most: planting seeds. Growing carrots and radishes is easy and rewarding; they grow so quickly that you will be eating from your garden in a few weeks!

How to plant radishes and carrots:

  • Pick up some seed packets from a local nursery, Chico Natural Foods or S&S produce. Choose varieties that look appealing to you and grow well in early spring. Select a couple different varieties of each so that you can find out what you like best. Local gardening expert David Grau recommends the Nantes variety of carrots for this area.
  • Prep your soil. If you don't have gardening space established, do not delay! You can build simple raised beds with wooden boards, or just dig up some weeds or grass somewhere in your yard. To build nutrient rich soil, you can purchase bags of organic potting soil, or talk to the folks at Durham Worm Farm - they offer wonderful custom mixes of compost, worm castings and more to help improve your soil.
  • Plant seeds. Carrots, radishes and other root vegetables should be planted directly in the soil. It's best to start by watering the soil if it's not already moist. The seed packet will guide you on the depth and spacing of the seeds. Or you can try my method of creatively planting them together...

    SPACE-SAVING TIP: Carrots like to be planted about 12 inches apart. Mark out your rows and plant accordingly. Then, you can plant a row of radishes between each row of carrots. This works because the radishes are going to grow faster than the carrots (you'll be eating them in about 3-4 weeks!). Once you harvest the radish, the carrots will have a full foot to stretch out in. So just alternate your planting of carrots and radishes at six inch intervals.

I recommend labeling each planted row. It's good to include the date so you can record how long it takes for the plant to grow. I wrote on a cut up juice container with a Sharpie to make the tags pictured here.
This is "just do it gardening." Nothing has to be perfect and it's an ongoing experiment. Have fun!

For more gardening resources, read about how to plant your Victory Garden.

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