From Seed to Stand: Growing Carrots at Gentry Homestead

At Gentry Homestead, we've always believed in the power of learning, experimenting, and perfecting the art of farming. A cornerstone of our produce offerings are our homegrown carrots - sweet, vibrant, and fresh from our land. Over the years, we've honed our methods, diverging from conventional gardening and embracing an innovative approach that we find maximizes yield and simpleness. We grow our carrots in raised beds and use a unique seed-thinning method that involves sand, which has revolutionized our growing process. We're excited to share our journey, from seed to harvest to selling at our beloved local farmstand, Grindstone Gardens.

Planting Carrots: A Raised Bed Adventure

At the start of every growing season, we eagerly get our raised beds prepared. Raised beds offer many benefits that make them a perfect fit for carrot farming. They provide better drainage, preventing waterlogged soil which is detrimental to carrot growth. The loose, well-aerated soil in raised beds also enables the carrots to grow straight down and develop a nice shape. Plus, raised beds make the harvesting process a breeze – more on that later.

But the magic truly begins when we plant our carrot seeds. Carrots, like all root vegetables, are typically grown from seed rather than transplants. Direct sowing ensures a healthy root development. The challenge with carrot seeds, however, is that they're tiny and can easily clump together, leading to overcrowded carrot seedlings that have to be thinned later on.

To overcome this challenge, we employ an ingenious technique: mixing carrot seeds with sand. This creates a seed-sand blend that helps to evenly distribute the seeds when sowing. We simply sprinkle this blend onto the surface of our prepared beds. It’s an easy, efficient method that ensures the seeds don't clump together, allowing each one the space it needs to grow and thrive. Consequently, we skip the labor-intensive thinning process altogether.

Watching Them Grow: The Carrot Lifecycle

Once the seeds are sown, the waiting game begins. Carrots usually take about 2 to 3 weeks to germinate. Keeping the top layer of soil consistently moist during this period is crucial, as the seeds need moisture to germinate. This is yet another reason we love our raised beds - they help maintain optimal soil moisture balance.

After germination, the carrot plants start their journey to maturity, which typically takes about 2 to 4 months, depending on the variety. Regular watering and weeding are key during this phase to ensure healthy growth.

Harvesting Made Easy

When it's time for harvesting, our raised beds really shine. Because the soil in raised beds is loose and well-aerated, we can harvest our carrots with ease, simply by pulling them up. There's no need for digging tools which could potentially damage the delicate roots. The height of the raised beds also makes the process easy on the back, eliminating the need to bend over constantly.

The Fruits of Our Labor at Grindstone Gardens

After a rewarding harvest, our fresh, farm-grown carrots make their way to Grindstone Gardens, Mcdonald TN's local farmstand. It's a place where the community comes together to appreciate and buy local produce, including our carrots, fresh from the soil. Customers love the sweetness and crunch of Gentry Homestead carrots, often commenting on how they can taste the difference.

In conclusion, growing carrots at Gentry Homestead is a labor of love, a blend of science, art, and a little innovation. From the seed-sand sowing method to the use of raised beds, our unique process ensures a bountiful harvest of sweet, crunchy carrots each season

Herb Garden: ​​The Art of Creating and Maintaining a Versatile Herb Garden

Herb gardens are a beautiful and practical addition to any home, providing fresh flavors for your culinary creations and an array of natural remedies for common ailments. In this blog post, we will explore the ins and outs of creating and maintaining a flourishing herb garden, focusing on the planting, growth, and harvesting of basil, mint, rosemary, lavender, sage, thyme, chives, and lemon balm. We will also delve into the culinary and medicinal uses of each herb, showcasing the versatility and value of these aromatic plants.


Basil is a popular herb in Mediterranean and Southeast Asian cuisines. It adds a fresh, slightly sweet flavor to dishes like pasta, salads, and pesto. Medicinally, basil is believed to aid digestion and reduce inflammation. To grow basil, plant seeds in well-draining soil and provide full sun. Water regularly, ensuring that the soil remains consistently moist. Harvest by snipping off the leaves just above the node where two leaves meet, promoting bushy growth.


Mint is a cooling and refreshing herb used in a variety of dishes, from salads to desserts, as well as in beverages like mojitos and mint tea. It is also known to soothe digestive issues and alleviate headaches. Mint can be invasive, so it's best to plant it in a container or a designated area of the garden. Provide partial to full sun and keep the soil moist. Harvest mint by trimming the tips of the stems, taking care not to remove more than one-third of the plant at a time.


Rosemary is a fragrant herb with needle-like leaves that is commonly used in meat dishes, particularly lamb, and in roasted vegetables. It also offers numerous medicinal benefits, such as improving memory and circulation. Plant rosemary in well-draining soil with full sun exposure, and water it sparingly, as it is drought-tolerant. Harvest the sprigs as needed, being careful not to remove more than one-third of the plant at once.


Lavender is prized for its lovely scent and beautiful flowers. In the kitchen, it can be used to flavor baked goods, teas, and even ice cream. Medicinally, lavender is renowned for its calming properties and is often used in aromatherapy to relieve stress and promote sleep. Plant lavender in well-draining soil with full sun and water it moderately. Harvest the flowers when they are in full bloom, cutting the stems just above the leaves.


Sage is an earthy herb often used in poultry dishes and stuffing. It is also believed to have antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a useful addition to herbal remedies. Plant sage in well-draining soil with full sun exposure, and water moderately. Harvest the leaves as needed, taking care not to remove more than one-third of the plant at a time.


Thyme is a versatile herb that complements a wide range of dishes, from soups and stews to roasted vegetables and meats. It also offers antiseptic and antifungal properties, making it a valuable addition to natural remedies. Plant thyme in well-draining soil with full sun, and water moderately. Harvest by snipping the tips of the stems, taking care not to remove more than one-third of the plant at once.


Chives add a mild onion flavor to dishes and are commonly used in salads, omelets, and baked potatoes. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals, making them a nutritious addition to your diet. Plant chives in well-draining soil with full sun exposure and keep the soil consistently moist. Harvest by snipping the leaves at the base, taking care not to remove more than one-third of the plant at a time.

Lemon Balm:

Lemon balm is a versatile herb with a lemony scent and flavor, making it a delightful addition to teas, salads, and desserts. It has been used medicinally for centuries to relieve anxiety, insomnia, and indigestion. Plant lemon balm in well-draining soil with partial to full sun exposure and keep the soil consistently moist. Harvest by trimming the tips of the stems, taking care not to remove more than one-third of the plant at once.


Creating and maintaining a thriving herb garden is a rewarding endeavor that can enhance your culinary creations and provide natural remedies for everyday ailments. By understanding the unique growing requirements of each herb and appreciating their myriad uses, you can cultivate a beautiful and functional garden that enriches your life and supports your well-being. Remember to harvest your herbs mindfully and enjoy the bounty of flavors and fragrances that these versatile plants have to offer.