I took inspiration from this threadhttps://permies.com/t/55730/plants-sow-wood-chips-cover when I planted my carrots this fall. Despite knowing the soil was still much too hot for germinating, I dug tiny furrows (basically dragged my finger in a line) and then sprinkled the seeds where I wanted them to grow. Then, instead of watering I just waited for the fall rains to come. Several weeks later, I planted fava beans in the same bed and put a light coating of well aged wood chips on the bed. I hadn't entirely given up hope even though it was taking a long time, so I left space for the carrots when I planted the beans.
The last week of November we finally had a group of cold days combined with a soaking rain. Beyond just hydrating the soil, it also lowered the ground temperature. This week, beside the two rows of favas, I have two rows of carrot seedlings sprouting. Beyond spreading the seeds I gave the carrots no extra attention. Since I spot watered the favas as they sprouted (rather than spraying the whole bed) I don't think they even received supplemental irrigation. These are the red carrots developed for subsistent farming in India, so I have high hopes that they well thrive as a minimal work crop from this point. It gets me fantasizing about saving my own carrot seed in a couple of years. I've got my fingers crossed.
I was so excited about this working this year. Unfortunately it's now spring. Rather than having carrots sprout what I actually did was create favorable conditions that caused early germination of the closely related hedge parsley. It's spring time now and all the hedge parsley is going to seed.
I know the plant is edible and weeding them out today, the roots smelled fantastic. I chewed on a few of them to test and while they tasted like a bland carrot, they were too woody to eat. Next year I'll try harvesting any hedge parsley volunteers before they flower. I've had the both the bland flavor and the woody texture happen when I was too late in harvesting carrots, so it's very possible that next year I'll have a productive vegetable with no work. I guess it'll be something that worked out for me in the long run. If I weren't so frustrated over not getting carrots after a full winter of carrying for the wrong plant, I wouldn't have been frustrated enough to try eating the hedge parsley root.
I do have real carrots growing from the seeds that I planted at the appropriate time. The take away lessons I have here are to wait until the ground is already cool enough, and to replant if my 'carrot' isn't showing color very early in the growing process.
Always look on the bright side of life. At least this ad is really tiny: