Growing carrots is a great way to get fresh and crisp vegetables chocked full of vitamin A and the best part is you can grow carrots that look and taste better than the ones in grocery stores and they are easy to grow.
Carrots come in may varieties and sizes that range from 31/2″ up to 9″ in length. They store well and best of all they not only taste great but kids seem to love them as a crispy treat or part of a meal.
On top of all the other benefits growing carrots in containers produce really well so even those that only have a balcony can grow these healthy vegetables.
Planning And Growing Carrots
The secret to success in growing carrots is a good loose soil that is stone free. before you plant be sure to loosen the soil to 10″ adding organic matter and working it in well. The better the soil the better the carrots will grow. Ideal Ph range is 6.0 to 6.8.
Each seed company has their own name for name for the varieties of carrots they sell but the main characteristics are the same.
- Amsterdams – This type grows well in heavy or shallow soil. The 31/2- to 4-inch-long roots mature quickly, about 65 days. Great flavor for and early crop.
- Chantenays – Stocky, with wide and tapered roots 5- to 51/2-inches-long. These carrots will do well in just about all soil types. A good choice for storage they are easy to pull and mature in about 70 days.
- Danvers Half-Longs – Rich flavor and good texture 7- to 71/2-inch-long roots taper to a blunt end. Bright orange in color mature in about 75 days.
- Nantes Half-Longs – these carrots produce 6- to 7-inch-long roots with nearly perfect cylindrical shapes.they are best eaten fresh, matures in about 70 days.
- Round Carrots – 1 to 2 inches in diameter quick growing in hard soil matures in about 50 days.
Plant in spring, 2 to 3 weeks before last frost, ½ inch deep, ½ inch apart, in rows 12 to 24 inches apart. Plant every 3 weeks to mid summer for continuous harvesting till late Fall. Carrots germinate over a 1 to 3 week period water lightly daily to aid germination.The shape of the root is determined within the first few weeks after germination when the new plant extends its taproot deep into the soil rocks damage of high water may cause damage and alter the growth of the carrot.
Maintenance And Care
Thin when plants are 2 inches high to a space of between 1 and 4 inches depending on the size carrot you want. To keep from disturbing the roots snip the plants off at the soil line. Mulch to keep roots cool and conserve soil moisture.Do not let the soil dry out water as needed to keep adequate moisture.
Begin harvesting carrots when they turn bright orange 60 to 80 days after planting, depending on the variety. Carrots can be harvested over a long period of time.
When harvesting carrots use a fork or spade to lift them but do not get to close to the root or they will get damaged.
Carrots will store well if rinsed and dries then placed in an airtight container or plastic bag in a cool dark place.
One of the main benefits of growing carrots is that they will stay fresh in the soil for many months, even after the tops have been killed off by frost. If your soil is well drained you can keep carrots in the ground until the soil begins to freeze. Mulching with leaves and straw will help keep the soil from freezing too soon.