Burlap expires

Burlap breaks down

After a nice long ride, the burlap (of the burlap carrot germination method) is finally breaking down, shredding as we fold it up off the final carrot beds of the season.

Even in this wet weather, the burlap makes a big difference, probably because it holds the soil heat—the difference is clear at the ends of the beds, where the seed drills extend past the burlap, and germination has barely started.

I haven’t been keeping accurate count, but this batch has done at least eight seedings over the last two years. At about $30 a bed for a double layer of burlap (100’/30m) over a 50′ (15 m) x 4 row bed, that makes it less than $4 per 200′ (60m) of carrots, more than worthwhile. If we’d taken better care of it during this wet weather, mainly by making sure it dried out quickly, it may’ve even lasted for a seeding or two more.

Like floating row cover, burlap is an outside input that I don’t like to rely on, but for now…it works!

Last carrots of the season

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3 thoughts on “Burlap expires”

  1. Mike,

    I noticed there are no weeds?????  When I used row cover for arugala, the weeds were prolific in their little “micro climate”.  Please explain how you have achieved this wonder.

    Julie

  2. Julie: Sounds like you’re thinking about row cover, not burlap, and left on for a few weeks, not a few days. For germinating carrots, I use burlap, which doesn’t let in much direct light, maybe 20-30% or less, compared to row cover, where it’s well over 80% for all but the heaviest weights. And the burlap only has to be on for about a week to 10 days, until there’s good germination. As I understand it, most veggie seeds generally don’t need light to germinate, but they do immediately after. Under burlap, carrots get enough light to even push up through the fabric. Pigweed is usually the first weed to germinate in this garden, and a bit starts under burlap as well, but not much. In the pic, if you look closely, you can see some grass and pigweed in there…

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