How to Grow Carrots

How to Grow Carrots

How to Grow Carrots

In this article, we share a comprehensive guide to growing carrots at home.

Quick Guide Information

Common Name: Carrot

Scientific Name: Daucus carota

Family: Apiaceae

Plant Type: Small Tender Herb

Life Span: Biennial

Time Till Harvest: 100-150 Days

Light Requirement: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Optimum pH: 6.0 - 6.8

Carrots are a member of the Apiaceae family and are closely related to parsley, dill, and celery. While the foliage resembles that of the previously mentioned plants, it is most recognised by its large tuberous tap root. While conventional carrots are orange, there are many different colors of carrots that range from white to red to purple. They are an excellent addition to any garden and can be eaten fresh or cooked. The carrot greens are also edible and delicious.

They are considered a cool weather crop and can be sown in temperatures as low as 5C. They are typically planted late winter/early spring or late summer. While they take two full years to produce seeds, they can be harvested for eating in as little as 3 months.

Propagation, Planting and Maintenance

Carrots are grown from seed and should be sown directly into prepared garden beds. They tend to be less vigorous if transplanted. In areas with mild winters carrots can be grown throughout the summer, but for most climates it is best to plant in spring or late summer.

1. Prepare your beds by loosening soil and amending heavily with compost. Carrots require loose soil for the proper development of their edible roots. These soils should be well draining and free of water-logging.
2. Sprinkle seeds into the garden bed, spacing them about 2-3 cm apart. Lightly cover them with 1 cm of soil. This can be covered with a fine layer of mulch no more than 5 cm deep. Keep moist.
3. After 2-3 weeks seeds will germinate and foliage will begin appearing. You can thin plants to about 5-8 cm apart.
4. After about 90 days you can begin harvesting. You can often see how developed the carrot is by gently digging around the base of your plant and seeing the diameter of the root. You can even pull one out just to see their size. If it is small, wait another 2-3 weeks.
5. If planted in the fall, carrots can be left in the beds during the winter months and slowly harvested as needed.
6. If you want to keep some carrots for seed, you can leave them for another year until they bolt and produce flowers.

    Common Problems

    Small Undeveloped Carrot - This can happen in tough and compacted soils. There is not really much you can do at this point other than prepare for next season. If this is the case, consider a raised bed or consider amending the soil with sand.

    Split Roots - This occurs from bad watering practices that allow the soil to dry up. Consistent watering helps prevent this issue.

    Aphids - These are not usually catastrophic but can interfere with productivity. They typically occur when temperatures are hot and plants are stressed.

    Animals - Many animals such as rats, moles, and you guessed it, rabbits love carrots. There is not much you can do about this other than using traps or other forms of control.

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