My first memory of working in the garden was when my dad showed me the difference between carrot plants and weeds, so I could help him with weeding the vegetable garden. I was four years old – learning how to grow carrots literally at my daddy’s knee.
That’s how easy it is to grow carrots – even a four year old can do it!
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Planting, Growing & Harvesting Carrots
The botanical name for carrots is Daucus carota subspecies sativus.
Optimum growing conditions
Carrots will grow in USDA Zone 3 and warmer, and prefer a soil ph of 5.5- 6.8.
Best varieties to plant
Carrot varieties are available to grow tiny, round carrots; the traditional long, cylindrical carrots; short, plump cylindrical carrots and also carrots in different colors!
My favorite variety to grow is Little Finger a shorter, cylindrical carrot that performs best in my rocky, Connecticut soil, and Planet, which is a small, round carrot. I may try this kaleidoscope blend from Burpee to grow some carrots in different colors. (see the photo below for what the harvest looks like.)
How to grow carrots
Be sure to dig up the soil deeply, and remove all rocks and clods of soil, which will turn your carrots into twisted, funny shapes. I have grown carrots several times that looked like a pair of pants!
Tip – using a coffee can, mix a few cups of sand with a packet of carrot seeds and a packet of Cherry Belle radish seeds. Stir up the mix well, and scatter the mix over a 2′ square area in the raised bed.
Radishes are ready to harvest in 19 – 20 days (much earlier than the carrots), and when you pull them up, you automatically thin out the carrots that are growing in the same area.
Diseases, pests & problems
I’ve never had any type of bug or disease affect my carrots. Seems like the main problem I have is not finding all the rocks that “grow” in my New England soil. (If rocks were a crop, I would totally win.)
As shown in the photo above, you can tell when carrots are ready to harvest when their “shoulders” start showing orange color above the soil.
I’ve also pulled up one to do a visual test, and if it wasn’t ready, I stuck back into the soil to continue to grow with no harm done.
The foliage of carrot plants is so pretty, that I bet it would look really nice in my flower gardens. Maybe grow a few carrots in with the perennials to fill in here and there, and add to the carrot harvest?
And speaking of flowers, this is a photo of Daucus carota – Queen Anne’s Lace – which is wild carrot! Pretty, isn’t it? When I was a florist, I used these in flower arrangements. It really holds up well as a cut flower.
Here’s a link to 87 free seed & plant catalogs to find seeds for the carrots you want to grow.
Which carrot varieties are you going to try?