We can’t go wrong with growing carrots in our gardens. It’s a very healthy option to add to our dinners and there are lots of recipe options.
Here is some great information for growing carrots, starting with picking the best spot to harvesting the carrots.
They can be grown in lots of different zones so it’s a great option for lots of gardens.
Carrots come in a variety of colors. There are traditional orange ones, but also purple, crimson, white, and even yellow carrots. There are also different types of carrots to grow.
There are ball-type and the longer slender types. The ball-type carrots are the Chantenay, Miniature, or Danvers. These types of carrots can handle heavy clay soils. The long slender type carrots are the Nantes and Imperator. These need loose sandy soil to thrive.
Picking The Spot to Grow
You can plant in the ground, raised beds, or in containers. If you’re limited on space then growing carrots in a container is a good option.
They need 6-8 hours of sunlight each day to grow well. Be sure to plant in an area they won’t be shadowed by faster-growing plants.
They can be planted in spring or summer. When planting in the spring it’s best to sow 2-5 weeks before the last frost. For summer planting, plant carrot seeds 10-12 weeks before the first frost of the season. Soil temperatures should be around 50 degrees.
Be sure to prepare the soil before planting carrots. The soil needs to be loose soil at least 12 inches deep.
The seeds can be broadcast planted or planted in rows. They need to be planted about 1/4 inch deep.
If you have a square foot garden you can plant 16 per one square foot. I like to plant more seeds and then thin later. To thin them out be sure to snip the tops instead of pulling them. If you pull them it could damage the other roots.
Keep the soil moist for at least 10 days. The seeds take longer than most seeds to germinate. Be sure to keep the soil moist during germination.
To help keep the soil moist and speed up germination you can cover the planting area with clear plastic. It helps to warm the soil, helps to control moisture, and prevents soil crusting which can inhibit the seedlings from emerging.
Tips For Growing
To grow well, carrots need cool soil, good spacing, and proper sunlight. Be sure to keep the soil evenly moist. Also, be sure to plant in an area that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. They can tolerate a little shade but do best in full sun.
By adding compost before planting, they will have a good source of nutrients. You can add fertilizer but be sure to avoid nitrogen heavy fertilizer. Fertilize about 5-6 weeks after planting. They like soil that is between 5.8-7.0 ph.
They need a little room to grow. If they’re planted too closely together you can end up with misshapen carrots. Space them 1-2 inches apart until they are about 1/2 inch in diameter. Then thin to 3 inches apart.
They need a steady supply of water. Keep the soil evenly moist. Using soaker hoses or drip irrigation to water is a good way to evenly water. Requiring about 1.5 inches of water a week.
If the soil becomes completely dry be sure to remoisten it gradually. Water a little over several days to re-establish moisture in the soil. Too rapid of rehydration and the carrots could split.
Keep their area weed free. To keep weeds down, lay newspaper down and cover with mulch between rows of carrots. Weed by hand to avoid damaging them or snip the weeds instead of pulling them.
Most varieties are ready to harvest between 70-80 days. But you can harvest them really at any time they are big enough to eat. Although they do get sweeter as they mature.
When harvesting you can make them easier to pull by watering before harvesting. It’s also a good idea to go alongside the row with a digging fork and loosen the dirt.