How to Grow Carrots in Your Vegetable Garden

Carrots are a rich source of vitamins and carotene.
Carrots are a rich source of vitamins and carotene.
(Photo: Charles Rondeau/Public Domain Pictures)

Garden-grown carrots are full of flavor and texture. Carrots can be somewhat tricky to grow, but with rich, loose soil, and consistent moisture, they’ll develop root vegetables with beautiful color and an enjoyable crunch.

The carrot’s root is rich in sugar and is a good source of vitamins and carotene. Did you know that not all carrots are orange? They vary in color from purple to white!

Where to Plant Carrots and How to Prepare the Soil

If you want to start growing your own carrots, you need to choose a site that receives full sunlight. Carrots thrive in sandy or loamy soil.

Make sure the soil is free of stones and rocks.  These will obstruct the path of carrot roots.  

You should avoid using manure or too much fertilizer during soil preparation, as well. Fresh manure, or even recently applied rotted manure, can cause carrots to fork and send out little side roots.

Carrots thrive in sandy or loamy soil.
Carrots thrive in sandy or loamy soil. (Photo: Dwight Sipler/Wikimedia Commons)

How to Plant Carrots

Once your bed is ready, follow the steps below.

  1. Plant carrot seeds 3 to 4 inches apart in rows. The rows should be at least a foot apart.
  2. Cover the newly sown seeds with sand or fine soil. Be sure that the soil does not crust over when dry. Add more sand if necessary.
  3. Keep the soil moist with frequent shallow watering. The soil must not form a hard crust on top. This will prevent carrot seeds from germinating.
  4. After planting, gently mulch to retain moisture, hasten germination, and block the sun from the roots.
  5. Carrots are sometimes slow to germinate. They may take 2 to 3 weeks to begin showing signs of life. Do not panic if your carrots don’t appear right away.
  6. When the plants are an inch tall, thin them so that they are three inches apart. Snip them with scissors instead of pulling them out. You want to prevent damage to the fragile roots of the remaining plants.

You should water your plot one inch per week, says the Old Farmer’s Almanac. You should weed diligently, but take care not to disturb the young carrots’ roots while doing so. Fertilize the soil with a balanced fertilizer five to six weeks after sowing.

Carrots are sometimes slow to germinate.
Carrots are sometimes slow to germinate. (Photo:Klimkin/Pixabay)

Harvesting and Storing Carrots

Your carrots should be ready for harvest in about two to four months, or when they reach at least ½ inch in diameter.

To store freshly harvested carrots, twist off the green tops, scrub off the dirt under cold running water, and then let dry. Seal the carrots in airtight plastic bags and refrigerate.

If you simply put fresh carrots in the refrigerator, they’ll go limp within a few hours!

Are you to plant carrots in your vegetable garden?

Here’s a quick video…

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