How big a stone is too big for carrots?

frival(5)April 29, 2012

I just started clearing a new area of the yard for a new garden and oh my it is full of rocks and stones. I've read that I want "rock free" soil for carrots, but around these parts such a thing doesn't exist in nature. How big of a stone is too big for carrots to develop properly - 1"? 2"? Even smaller? I've been leaving anything under about 1" in diameter alone because if I don't I might never finish clearing this area out, but if even that is too big for the carrots I might need to find another solution.

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zzackey(8b GA)

Your rock garden reminds me of my parents garden in Northern PA. Every year we would pick wheel barrows full of rocks. It seems like they came back every year. We didn't grow carrots. I would think that if they hit the rock they would just grow in a different direction. You might have a few crooked carrots?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 8:18PM
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I work in a mountain site, and getting craggy stones out of permanent beds is a continuous process. In the early phases, many people sift rocks out of special beds using a sifter made from half-inch mesh hardware cloth.

In my experience, if the soil is well-enriched with organic matter and cultivated prior to planting to replenish its air supply, carrots will push aside rocks to one half inch diameter. However, if the taproot runs into such a stone, it will make it fork.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 8:18AM
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The other solution is a raised bed that you fill with rock-free soil.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 10:13AM
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I had originally balked at the idea of a raised bed out of concern for the cost of that much topsoil, but now I'm thinking that would be small in comparison to the chiropractor visits I'll need to finish this current area off. How deep ought the bed to be for carrots and the like? My tomato bed is about 10" deep, I'm just not sure if that's deep enough for something like carrots.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 3:53PM
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10 - 12" should do if you grow the "half long" varieties. Every year you have to top up the bed, but you can use compost for that, not all topsoil, and dig it in.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 4:03PM
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scotty66(8 Hutto TX)

I fill my raised garden with compost... not topsoil. :)
which you can easily make yourself.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 8:42PM
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They Say not to do it, but I add a bag or two of sand to my carrot bed. They seem to like it.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 9:02PM
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You can do a raised bed with no sides. Just mounds of sifted dirt.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 12:36AM
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Just an experiment but perhaps it may spawn an idea. The one on the right is from 5-7 yr old form boards laying around. I liked the looks of the progress and built the other one.

2x12x16s on the deck at the shop. Filled with 50/50 mixture of soil conditioner and Jungle Grow potting mix. Planted in Scarlet Nantes.

Hard red clay here. Figure that I'll be happy if I can get 6-7 inch carrots. Only time will tell ... as usual.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 5:06AM
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