Question: I thought I planted more carrot seeds. Why are my carrot seeds not germinating? -Sam R.
Answer: Carrots and other crops from the carrot family, such as parsnips and parsley, can be very slow to germinate, typically taking two to three weeks before sprouting begins. Dry or windy weather can slow and even halt germination as well. Pre sprouting your carrot seeds can short-cut the germination period and ensure your carrot crop. Carrot seeds have hard coats, which is why germination takes so long. Before they can germinate, moisture must break through the seed coat and activate an enzyme within the seed that triggers cell duplication and growth. There are two different ways to pre-sprout your carrot seeds.
Carrot seeds can be pre-sprouted using heat or cold to help break through the seed coat. To pre-sprout using heat, use the boiling-water method. First, sprinkle seeds across a tray of sterile potting soil or seed starting mix. Pour hot, or just boiling water over the seeds, then cover the seeds with potting soil or seed starting mix and place the tray inside a clear plastic bag. Mist the soil with water using a kitchen spray bottle twice per day until the seed sprouts.
To pre-sprout carrot seeds using cold temperatures, use the freezing method. To do this, first mix your seed with damp potting soil, seed starting mix or peat moss, spreading the mix across a seed starting tray or paper plate. Put the tray or plate into a clear plastic bag. Then seal the bag and put it in the freezer for 24 hours but no longer, which will trick the seed into thinking it has gone through a winter without damaging the seeds cells. Finally, keeping the seed and soil mix in the plastic bag, place it on a seed-starting heat mat or on the top of a refrigerator at 70 or 80 degrees F for three days or longer, until the seed sprouts.