How to Grow Carrots

comments (5) March 26th, 2009

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A sweet harvest of full-size carrots is the reward for improving your soil with well-rotted organic matter.
A sweet harvest of full-size carrots is the reward for improving your soil with well-rotted organic matter.Click To Enlarge

A sweet harvest of full-size carrots is the reward for improving your soil with well-rotted organic matter.

Photo: Janet Jemmott

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Ongoing care and storage

Thinning carrots is one of my least favorite jobs, so I work diligently to avoid it. Thinning seems like a waste of effort as well as seed. Most carrots are too small to eat early on, and if thinning is done too late, the remaining carrots tend to be deformed. Avoid thinning by calibrating your planter so it spaces the seeds evenly at planting time, or by carefully sprinkling the seeds by hand if you are working on a small scale.

Once they are growing, carrots need at least 1 inch of water per week, more if conditions are exceptionally hot or dry. Consistent watering is crucial for optimal growth and color. Avoid extreme fluctuations of moisture, as this can cause carrots to split. They can tolerate frost, and they get sweeter when there is a substantial difference between day and night temperatures. This means that carrots grown in northern gardens will be sweeter than those grown where day and night temperatures are closer, and where soil temperatures are higher.

If you live in a place where the ground doesn’t freeze in the winter, you can leave carrots in the ground and harvest them when you want to eat them. Six inches of straw will insulate carrots in areas where the temperature doesn’t dip below 10˚F, but it may also become a home for mice or other rodents, which might, after all, eat your carrots.

 

Sources for carrot seed

The following sources carry many of the varieties mentioned.

W. Atlee Burpee & Co.
300 Park Avenue
Warminster, PA 18974
800-333-5808
www.burpee.com

Johnny’s Selected Seeds
1 Foss Hill Rd., Albion, ME 04910; 207/437-4301;
www.johnnyseeds.com

Territorial Seed Company
PO Box 157
Cottage Grove, OR 97424
541-942-9547
www.territorial-seed.com

Carrots destined for storage should be allowed to mature completely; 90 days is the standard time. Properly cooled, topped, and washed, mature carrots will store for as long as seven months at no lower than 32°F and 90 percent relative humidity. If you plan to grow lots of carrots, an extra refrigerator is one of the best storage places.

To store carrots, carefully cut off the entire green top with a sharp knife. Tops that are simply broken off tend to sprout, which shortens their storage life. Immerse the carrots in cold water, which will cool them and rinse off all the dirt.

Then separate the carrots by size, and group any damaged carrots with the smallest ones. Eat these first because they don’t store as well as larger, perfect carrots. Finally, put your carrots in perforated plastic bags and store them in the cellar or the refrigerator—another successful season packed away.

by William E. Brown
December 1999
from issue #24

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posted in: carrots

Comments (5)

Dallinlarsen555 writes: awesome
Posted: 12:52 pm on October 6th
matthewtweedie writes: Superb
Posted: 12:15 am on September 30th
MiriamBush writes: Red carrots are great for health
Posted: 4:07 am on January 29th
TylerWint writes: Its my favourite dish
Posted: 12:52 am on November 30th
WillowMchenry writes: Informative post...I like it!!
Posted: 12:08 am on November 14th
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