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How to Grow Carrots

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Home gardeners like you love to grow carrots. They are easy to grow, and take up little garden space. Smart, health conscious gardeners grow them. The reward is tasty, healthy carrots loaded with vitamins. Carrots are that great combination of food that tastes good and is good for you.

Crisp and crunchy carrots are a root crop, with a range of varieties in varying root length and thickness. Almost all carrots are orange. However, there is a red and a yellow variety. 

Varieties of Carrots:

There are a lot of varieties of carrots to choose from. They are available from just a few inches, to up to about a foot long. Colors include orange, red and yellow. Here are some of the more popular varieties:

  • Danvers
  • Toudo
  • Red Cored Chantenay
  • Nutri-Red
  • Nantes
  • Long Imperator
  • Torro Hybrid
  • Little Finger
  • Cosmic Purple

How to Grow Carrots:

Carrots like full sun. They need a loose, deep soil free from rocks and debris. Prior to planting, work the soil deeply. It is important to remove rocks, stones and debris which may impede the development of the roots. Add liberal amounts of compost. Try ample amounts of peat moss or leaf mold.

Carrot seeds are very tiny, and difficult to work with. Try a seed sower to space them out. Sow seeds as thinly as possible. Cover seeds with 1/4 inch of fine garden soil. Or sprinkle them on top of the soil, and lightly water them into the soil. Space rows 1 to 1 1/2 feet apart.

Thinning seeds is an important, yet tedious task. Thinning is vital to maximize root growth. Thin seedlings to two inches apart.

Keep carrots well weeded. They are easily overcrowded, and the weeds will always win out.

Apply a general purpose fertilizer once a month.

While they may not show it, carrots need a constant supply of water, in soil that drains well.

Carrots are somewhat hardy. They will withstand cold weather and a light frost. As a root crop, they can be harvested long after the leaves have succumbed to frost and freezing weather.

Harvesting:

Days to Maturity: Approximately 65 to 75 days, depending upon variety.

Harvest "baby" size carrots as soon as they are big enough to eat. After the plants have died off, the carrots do not need to be harvested right away. They can remain in the soil for weeks or more. In the "old days" before refrigeration, carrots were kept in the soil, and covered with a thick layer of leaves. Then, they were dug up as needed, for consumption. Carrots kept in the ground will last well into the winter months.  Keeping carrots in the ground for long periods can affect flavor.

Insects, Pests and Disease:

The most common problem is the maggot stage of the Carrot fly. This 1/4 inch white maggot eats along the outside of the carrot.

Bunnies are well known to enjoy carrots., but experienced gardeners know that bunnies much prefer other crops like the leaves of beans and lettuce. Mice and moles can also be a problem.

Viruses, that can occasionally infest your crop. Roots can rot in wet weather, or poorly drained soils.

More Information:

Garden Recipes - Find Carrot recipes and garden recipes galore!

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