Carrots are easily grown in garden beds or even in pots. There are several different varieties of carrots. They come in different shapes, sizes and even colors beyond the traditional orange variety. It’s helpful to do a little research to see what kind of soil is best for the variety of carrot you wish to grow. Here’s how to grow carrots in your own garden.
BEST TYPES OF CARROTS TO GROW
Determining which carrots you’d like to grow may have more to do with the type of soil in your garden bed. Smaller, more compact carrots do best in heavier clay soils, while the longer varieties need deep, loose and well-drained soil.
WHEN TO PLANT
Carrots can thrive in all growing zones but are cool weather plants. They do best when grown in temperatures between 60° and 75° F. Sow carrot seeds about 2 weeks before the last frost of the winter. You may also sow them 2 to 3 months before the first frost of the fall.
WHERE TO PLANT
Carrots do best in full sun. They can handle some shade, but better to choose a spot in your garden bed that gets great sun exposure. They can also do well in containers, just be sure you have about 12 inches of soil depth in your pot.
Be sure to identify what type of soil is best for the variety of carrot you have chosen to grow. In general, you’ll need looser, deeper soil for longer varieties. Many varieties need heavily tilled soil fortified with lots of organic compost to reach their potential. Be sure to remove any rocks, branches or other debris that may stunt or distort the carrots growth.
SOWING CARROT SEEDS
Sow carrot seeds directly into the ground and ¼ inch deep in rows spaced 12” to 18” apart. Water sparingly until the seedlings emerge, usually after about 10 day.
Once your seedlings have emerged, thin them to about 1 inch apart. Clip off the top of the greens or carefully pull the entire plant. Let the tops of the carrots grow thicker and thin again to about 3 inches apart.
Water regularly throughout the growing process but cut back once the carrots start to emerge to avoid cracking. Keep the soil moist but don’t let it get too soggy.
Most carrots are ready to harvest after about 65 days, but you can harvest them as soon as they are big enough to eat. If you pick them early, they are often more juicy and tender but the taste usually improves with age.
TIPS & ADVICE
Avoid fertilizers that are high in nitrogen.
Ash from a wood fire can be sprinkled into the soil before sowing carrot seeds to add potassium.
Weed thoroughly to prevent competition for the vital nutrients that will make your carrots flourish.
Rabbits, mice and moles can be great pests to carrots. Fencing may be necessary to ensure the survival of your crop.
To maximize production, sow new seeds every 2 to 3 weeks.
Have tips on how to grow carrots? Let us know in the comments section below.