Out in the garden,
Under the sun,
Grew lots of carrots,
So I picked some.
I took them inside
And washed the whole bunch
Then I sat down and
Ate them for my lunch.
The nursery rhyme ‘Carrots for lunch’ might be helpful in encouraging our kids to eat carrots, but I can help you to grow your own favorite vegetable.
Tasty and packed with vitamins, carrots are naturally sweet As well as come in different varieties like Little Finger, Imperator, Nantes, Danvers, and Red Core Chantenay. Though different types of carrots have different colors, textures, and flavors, they all require similar growing conditions. In addition to the traditional long orange roots that are found practically everywhere, you can grow carrots in the shapes of fingers, small rounds, or even white, red, yellow, or purple varieties. Basically, you can literally form a rainbow with carrots.
You need to have some basic knowledge and guidelines for planting and growing carrots as well as they can be. Let’s get started with ReadZiD:
Planting Carrots – What You Need to Know
Choosing the varieties:
There is an abundance of varieties to choose from. You need to choose early varieties to sow in early spring and main crop varieties for late spring to midsummer for harvesting from late August to October. Around this time of the year, plants are grown to maturity, unlike early varieties that grow in early spring and tend to produce larger harvests of bigger carrots, which usually store well. You may choose the varieties that may offer some resistance to carrot root fly, such as Flyaway, Maestro, Resistfly, Ibiza, sytan, and Parano.
How to Collect Carrot Seeds:
Carrot seeds are easily available from seed stores to garden centers. The price is usually cheap and also contains a lot of seeds in a single packet.
Planting Carrot Seeds:
Carrots grow best in loose and sandy soil. If you plant carrots in heavy soil, it will be difficult for their roots to expand downward through the soil. Therefore, short- or round-rooted varieties will work best for growing in stony or heavy soil, to prevent forking, if your soil is not so much loose as it is heavy or stony. This type works well in containers as well. Long-rooted varieties are suitable for deep, sandy soil. You can also plant Daikon radish seeds with your carrot seeds which is a great way to loosen up the soil. This particular variety of radish seeds can penetrate heavy soil and will sprout before the carrots and will break up hard clumps of soil to allow the carrot roots to grow unhindered. Carrots do best when the pH is balanced. That means plants in a garden with a soil pH between 6.0 and 6.8 and can’t grow in acidic soil.
Related Link: How to Grow Endive from Seed?
Soil Temp for Planting Carrots:
Carrots can tolerate a wide range of soil temperatures and the ideal soil temperature for carrots is between 50 and 85°F. In most climates, the ideal season for planting carrot seeds is early spring. In warmer climates, you can plant carrots in the fall and harvest mature plants in the early winter. Carrots can even survive a light frost.
Carrot Plant Care:
You need to make the carrot bed under direct sunlight as carrots do best under full sun. Though the plants can survive partial shade they won’t grow properly if not under direct sunlight as it is always ideal to grow carrots. You should Plant carrot seeds outdoors, either directly in the ground If possible but if you don’t have the space, you can also grow in containers that are at least 12 inches deep. The rule is to plant carrot seeds about a quarter of an inch deep with about one and a half inches of space in between carrot seedlings. If carrot sprouts start to grow within an inch of each other, you need to thin out some of the seedlings as carrot seeds are so small that it’s difficult to ensure adequate space between seeds when planting. This step is necessary to ensure that the remaining carrots have room to grow. Carrots are slow to sprout, and it takes up to three weeks for seedlings to appear.
Watering Carrot Plant:
Carrots are resistant to drought, so you won’t have to water regularly. However, in prolonged dry weather, they will benefit from soaking. However, it might dry out more quickly if you’re growing your carrots in containers. Thus, frequent watering of the plants is required. The measurement of watering your carrot plants is one to two inches of water per week. It can help with the compost by keeping your soil moist and also bring the soil temperature down. So watering properly is a must.
Weeding Carrot Plant:
Carrots get crowded out by weeds because they grow quickly by nature. This means that you must routinely remove them. Hoe between rows but hand weed the weed that is the closest to the carrot plans to avoid harming the crown and the roots. Try to avoid touching the foliage (the leafy crown), as the smell attracts carrot flies.
Carrot Diseases and Pests:/Prevent Carrot Fly
Carrot fly is a common pest, with larvae that can easily tunnel into the roots. Common carrot pests are aphids, flea beetles, carrot rust flies, carrot weevils, cutworms, and leafhoppers. Rust fly larvae destroy carrots by making tunnels into the soil and feeding on the carrot roots. You need to use a row cover to protect your plants and ensure to rotate your plants annually. As soon as you are done weeding, cover the crop over or around the plants again with crop cover or pest-proof mesh to protect them from pests and bad weather and to speed up their growth. They don’t require any supporting hoops to be used. You can also surround the plants with a 60cm (2ft) high barrier, to keep these low-flying insects away. You can also grow garlic and chives alongside your carrots to drive away certain pests.
How to Harvest Carrots:
Carrots are ready about 12–16 weeks after sowing, which means 50-75 days to reach full maturity. If you Harvest your carrots too early, the result will be bland and flavorless carrots. The best way to determine if they are ready for harvesting is to uproot a carrot or two and taste them to see if the flavor is fully developed. As soon as they are big enough to be useful, you should harvest them. Avoid waiting for the largest roots as this will probably result in a flavor loss.
Early spring is the best time to sow carrots because they are young, sweet, and crunchy—perfect for eating raw. To harvest this type of carrot, you need to loosen your soil before twisting the plants and pulling them out.
On the other hand, in the late spring varieties, the plants are grown to maturity, so tend to produce larger harvests of bigger carrots. These carrots, which you can harvest well into winter, are known as main crop carrots. Use a fork to carefully lift them, especially if the soil is stony or heavy. You can practically always have fresh carrots throughout the year if you plant them again.
How to Store Carrots/How to Preserve Carrots
Carrots can be frozen, dehydrated, canned, and more. Though Carrot tests its best when it’s fresh. Therefore, if at all possible, it should be eaten fresh. But if needed, it can also be refrigerated for about a week. They can also be frozen by blanching them in boiling water first and then cooling them in an ice bath or cold water to help preserve their color and texture. You can also pickle or pulp the carrots to preserve. Carrots can be left in the ground and lifted as needed during the winter. To protect the carrot plants from frost, cover them with cardboard or straw in late autumn.
To use in winter, you can simply leave the carrots on the ground and lift them when required. Cover the carrot plants in late autumn with straw or cardboard to protect them from frost. It’s best that way. You can also use a root cellar. There are so many ways to preserve carrots. You need to decide; which method is best for you.
You need to ensure that your carrots have full sun and the soil is soft and well-composed. Plant your carrots in early spring and give your carrot seedlings enough space. You need to water your plants properly (one inch per week) and protect them from carrot flies and pests to harvest the best carrots. Wish you a happy journey growing your own carrots. Thank you for stopping by us.
Frequently ask questions
Can we grow carrots in containers?
Yes, we can grow Carrots in containers as long as they are approximately 1o to 12 feet so that they accommodate the roots. We need to ensure enough sunlight and well-draining soil for the container to grow carrot plants. We need to keep the soil moist but not soggy or dank.
What makes carrots grow better?
Carrots favor soils that are rich in organic matter for best growth. Light, sandy, deep fertile, and well-drained are well suited for carrot production. You need to use a lot of compost in case your soil is heavy.
Can carrots grow in clay soil?
You can plant carrots even if your soil is heavy or thick clay, but you have to treat it with compost and other compounds to make it suitable for carrot cultivation. You may have better luck with small globe carrots or Shorter Chantenay kinds of carrots.
Can carrots grow in winter?
Carrot seeds are slow to germinate in the cooler weather, but the plants can tolerate a little frost and need cooler temperatures to develop sweet, well-formed roots. You can use the deep, loose soil of a raised bed or planter for growing carrots in winter.