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How to Grow Carrots

How to Grow Carrots

Carrot seeds should ideally be planted, grown, and harvested during early spring. For a good harvest of carrots, appropriate soil preparation with optimum light availability is necessary.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Nov 29, 2018
Organic carrots on a wooden surface
Carrots (scientific name Daucus carota) are biennial plants of the family Umbelliferae, mainly grown for their dark-colored root vegetable produced in the first growing season. In the second growing season, they bloom with a spreading, umbrella-like inflorescence, which is a characteristic feature of the family.
Carrots are a rich source of carotene, sugar, calcium, and fiber. They can be consumed in both, raw and cooked form, but the raw version is most commonly preferred. Commercially, many species varying in shape and color are grown all over the world. Some of the commonly planted varieties are chantenay, baby, small and round, danvers, imperator, and nantes.
Fresh raw carrots
Though carrots can tolerate warm summer climates, they are best grown in cooler conditions. Depending upon the climatic conditions of your area, you can opt for a hardy variety. Majority of them are resistant to slight frost, hence serve as an ideal crop plant to be grown in early spring.
Red carrots in the field
Carrots can be grown in the gardens as well as in the containers. For both the plantation types, correct soil preparation is necessary, as it affects their shape and flavor.
Soil Preparation
Planting carrots and compost
If you want to grow them in the garden, start preparing the soil bed in early spring, when heavy frost ends. While selecting plantation site, choose an area getting maximum sunlight.
Once you decide the plantation site, plow the soil to at least a 12-inch depth. Check the acidity of the soil to ensure that it is not highly acidic. Soil below 5.8 pH may affect the root formation.
Another important factor for growing carrots is the nitrogen content of the soil. If possible, measure the nitrogen level with a soil tester. A regular monitoring of nitrogen is advisable, as too much nitrogen often induces the formation of multiple roots.
Orange Carrots
For harvesting better shaped carrots, you can remove stones and chunks from the soil. Farmyard compost can be used in the soil for enriching the plant nutrients.
Carrot Plantation and After Care
After the soil is loosened and supplemented with compost, sow carrot seeds of your choice, ¼ inch deep in the ground, leaving about 14 - 18 inches space between two rows. For rapid germination, you can soak the carrot seeds in water for about six hours before sowing. Depending upon the surrounding conditions, carrot seeds may germinate within 10 - 14 days.
When the seedlings grow to about an inch's height, you can thin them by creating a space of 3 - 4 inches between two consecutive seedlings. While getting rid of crowded seedlings, make sure that you gently pull off the roots, so that the neighboring plants are not disturbed. Sprinkle the younger plants with water to avoid water logging.
At this stage, you can supplement the soil with the organic fertilizers. If the temperature is very high, the young seedlings should be protected by providing partial shade conditions. Within the first few weeks, it is necessary to control weed by cultivating with a garden knife. An effective method of controlling weeds is to mulch the soil.
Harvesting
Farmer Harvesting Organic Carrot Crop in Farm
Based on variety, the roots may get fleshy and mature within 2-3 months. An easy indicator of mature roots is their diameter and deep orange color. You can harvest the carrots when the diameter is ½ an inch or depending upon the expected size of the variety.
Pulling carrots from ground by hand
Carefully dig the soil around the fleshy roots to remove them without causing any damage. After harvesting, you can cut off the top vegetation and store the carrots in the refrigerator. Under optimum storage conditions, carrots can be preserved for about 5-6 months.