The Finnish spring 2017 has been extremely cold, much colder than usual. We've had snowfall well into May, and frost has been a frequent guest, especially at night. That has meant that we've been able to sow very few plants outside yet. The pioneer for us was the brave carrot, which can be sown even when some frost is still expected - and that's what we did.

Our premises has a field which has been ploughed yearly, well up until last fall at least, and which has been used as an annuals growing field. Our plan is to create a permanent no-till, full mulch garden from this field with rotating annuals. To make the crop rotation work, we created a plan with rows and columns (I can write about it later in detail), dividing the field into 12 sections. The middle section of the top row is the one for carrots, and that's what you see in the header image also.

Garden with mulch covering

Each section is about 30m2 big and has rested under some mulch this winter. Thanks to the mulch the soil was really loose already, but I took my Fiskars digging fork (Amazon DE) and loosened it a bit more, pushing the fork all in and wiggling it in the ground every 10-20 cm. Some hard spots I ended up turning though. After the fork treatment I took my little manual pushable rotating cultivator tool (like this: cultivator at Amazon DE) and cultivated the area a little bit, after which I raked the area even. Phew, that was hard work!

Garden patch all ready

Once the area was ready, I sowed in the carrots. I had three kinds and they all fit in. With them I sowed some radishes, spinach and salad as companion plants, just to make sure it would be no monoculture, and added rows of onions and blackroots between the carrot rows also. We chose to sow in rows because carrots will need help with the "weeds" until the full mulch garden is a reality - rows are just easier to keep weed free!

Finally after sowing everything I covered the whole area with a thin garden fabric of which I simply cannot find the English name right now! Please let me know if you know what it is called. In Finnish we say "kateharso". The idea of the cover is to keep the ground warmer and also protect the carrots from pests, which are very active early in the year.

All in all it took me several hours to get the garden patch all set, but compared to having to work an office job, earning money to buy carrots? I like this way so much better! Since the carrots some other veggies have made their way to the field, as it has finally started to get a bit warmer in here.

This red salad had sown itself - benefits of no-till!

Red salad in mulch

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About the Author

Lumia

Gardener, homemaker and finance whiz living beyond buckthorns since 2016.

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