Spring is just around the corner! This is the perfect time of year to brush up on your knowledge of growing techniques. Here at MIgardener, we want to share all of our favorite growing secrets; from our garden to yours. As you read through this post, you'll find there is nothing more simple than growing organic!
Carrots come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors! They are classified by the shape and length of their root: Imperator carrots are long with a straight root that tapers out at the tip; Nantes are medium length with a blunt tip; Danvers are large and medium long ; Chantenay are short with large shoulders. Colors vary from traditional orange to tones like white, yellow, purple, and even black! No matter what type you want to grow, carrots are easy to grow from seed!
Let's get started.
Soil should be rich and loose. Add compost to give it nutrients and to increase moisture retention. Growing carrots at home instead of buying them from the grocery store means they won't all grow in a perfectly uniform pattern. Carrots grown in packed soil may develop forked and stubbed roots. However, making sure your soil is loose will and free of stones can help them grow longer and straighter. Work the soil deeply so the roots can reach their full length. But there's nothing wrong with a twisted carrot! The nutrients is still there, just packaged differently!
Tip: Don't plant carrots in soils that crust easily after rain because the seedlings will have trouble breaking through the surface.
We recommend using an all-purpose fertilizer that is slightly higher in phosphorus to increase root development. Make sure your carrots still get a serving of nitrogen to aid leaf development. This allows energy to be transferred to root. Fertilize once a month until noticeable growth.
A neutral acidity is desirable. Perform a soil test and try to get it to approximately 5.5-7. Compost is a great ph buffer, so if you need to adjust your soil, simply mix in more compost!
Full sun is vital for carrots. Minimum 5 hours, but ideally they should get between 6-10 hours of sun per day. Carrots use all the energy in the leaves to grow larger roots.
Frequent watering will grow smaller carrots because the root won't need to travel to find moisture. Keep the soil moist until the seedlings are at least 1 inch high. Intermittent watering is ideal for carrots. Water heavily and then wait for the soil to dry out before watering heavily again. This will cause them to grow longer and straighter.
Plant high intensity from seed and then thin out once sprouting begins. Leave sprouts 1" to 2" apart. If carrots are not spaced correctly they will sometimes merge together in hilarious shapes. This has absolutely no influence on flavor but might not be desired.
Like any root vegetable, carrots are cold tolerant. They will produce best in temperatures from 45°- 85°F.
Harvest carrots while they are still small, no more than 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter. Depending on cultivar and sowing date, you may begin harvesting as early as mid July and continue until the end of October. For warmer climates, harvesting will happen within the temperature marks above. For best flavor, do not harvest fall carrots until after a good frost.
Written by - Kaitlynn from MIgardener