How To Grow Carrots in the Garden
Carrots are a popular root vegetable that’s easy to grow as long as it’s planted in loose, sandy soil. Here’s what you need to know about how to grow carrots in the garden, planting, growing, and harvesting carrots in your garden!
Carrots are easy to grow; just give them loose, rich soil free of clods and stones and a soil temperature anywhere between 45° and 85°F. That means you can grow carrots just about any time of the year in raised beds or containers—even in winter with the protection of a plastic tunnel.
FIVE EASY STEPS TO GROW CARROTS
Step 1: How To Plant
To produce the best crop possible, double-dig your planting area or build up a raised bed. Loose, rock-free soil is the goal. If you have heavy soil, add plenty of mature compost.
Step 2 : Sowing seeds
Carrot seeds are tiny; it is very easy to over-sow the planting bed or container. Mix carrot seeds with sand in the palm of your hand; this will make it easier to sprinkle seed across the bed—and you will know exactly where the seed has been sown.
Step 3 : Protect the seeds
Cover the bed with floating row covers to protect the shallow sown seed from the overhead drips of rain or irrigation that might uncover and expose the seed. Where the weather is hot and dry, use strips of burlap to cover the planting beds or rows (sprinkle the burlap with water to keep the seedbed just moist until seeds sprout).
Step 4: Keep growing carrots moist and weed free
It is important to keep the planting bed moist until seeds sprout. Sprinkle the bed once or twice daily with fine spray for the first couple of weeks. Do not let the soil dry out.
Once carrots sprout continue to moisten the bed with a fine spray until they are well rooted. As roots begin to grow, water carrots deeply for continuous, even growth; deep watering means keeping the soil moist to just below the deepest root tip. Carrots and other root crops follow the moisture into the soil. When green tops begin to wilt, it is time to water. When the soil dries out to a depth of 3 inches, it is time to water. Even, deep watering will encourage carrot tap roots to grow straight down.
Eliminate weeds from carrot growing beds; weeds compete with carrots for soil moisture and growing space.
Step 5 : How To Harvest
Carrots become tastier as they grow. You can start harvesting as soon as the carrots are big enough to eat, or leave them all to mature for a single harvest. Dig your winter storage crop before the first frost on a day when the soil is moist but the air is dry. Since spading forks tend to bruise roots, hand-pull them, loosening the soil with a trowel before you pull. Watering the bed before harvesting softens the soil and makes pulling easier.