Crisp, Fresh Carrots Right From Your Backyard
Subspecies: Daucus carota var. sativus
The root that is eaten as a vegetable is produced during the first growing season. Carrots are hardy and do well in the early spring and in the fall. Plant at the end of July for a fall harvest of “baby carrots.”
Carrots can be eaten raw, cooked or roasted, and do well when kept for winter eating. Read on for our full guide on how to grow carrots in your own garden.
Carrot seeds need to be planted at a depth of ¼ – ½ inch. Seeds will germinate in 14 – 21 days. There should be 1 inch between seedlings and 18 – 24inches between rows. Sow carrots when soil becomes workable in early spring. Soil needs to be around 65° -75°F for adequate germination to occur within 4 – 7 days. If the soil is very dry, water daily until seeds germinate.
Carrots and radishes are ideal companion plants. Radishes break up the soil, which helps the carrot roots to grow. They can be planted in the same rows. Pick radishes as soon as they are ready to harvest or they will compete with the carrots for nutrients.
Carrot seed will be easier to handle if sprinkled on seed tape or if mixed with a little bit of sand or coffee grounds before planting.
The soil should be mulched to suppress weeds and to keep it from drying out.
If the carrots heave the soil (break through the top of the soil), hill a small amount of soil over the carrot rather than pushing it back under the surface.
Carrots can be planted every few weeks until the end of July for a season long harvest.
There are six main types of carrot varieties and you should choose the varieties that suit your climate, season and harvest needs. Choose varieties with a shorter time to maturity for early planting and summer eating. Select varieties that take longer to mature for fall harvest and storage.
Nantes and Chantenay are both proven performers in various geographic regions and are known for their sweetness. Amsterdam is a small carrot that performs well in early spring and in less than ideal soil conditions. Imperator is a long variety, worth trying if your soil is deep, loose and stone free.
Row covers work particularly well on carrot rows.
If carrots are not harvested as soon as they are ready they may attract Carrot rust flies.
All left over plant debris must be removed from the ground after harvest to avoid Carrot weevils.
Cut the greens off of carrots before storing or they will not keep as well. Carrots can be kept in plastic bags in the refrigerator and will last a few months. They can also be refrigerated in air tight containers with a small amount of water in the container to help keep the carrots from turning soft.
Carrots can be chopped, blanched and frozen, but will lose some of their flavor in the process.