Carrots are delicious and highly nutritious vegetables.
Even better they are an excellent source of Vitamins A, K and B6 along with other minerals and trace elements.
Read on to find out how to grow carrots from seed
Carrots can be a wonderful addition to your home garden and growing carrots won’t take much effort if the right weather and soil conditions have been met.
This article will provide you with all the information you need to cultivate this wonderful crop; from sowing the seeds to harvesting your carrots when they get ready.
So let’s dive in!
Climate And Soil
Carrots are cool-season vegetables. In order for them to germinate and develop a deep color, they require temperatures ranging between 55F (13C) and 75F (23C).
Growing carrots in an extremely hot environment will slow their growth and negatively impact their final taste. For most areas within the Northern Hemisphere, the ideal time to grow carrots would be during the autumn season when the temperatures begin to drop.
So what is the secret?
The best soil for planting carrots is loose, loamy soil with a pH of around 6.5. Loam soil drains well and is soft enough to allow proper root development.
Soils which contain a lot of clay may be too heavy to allow proper root penetration which might lead to deformed roots.
The below video might help you in your quest to grow carrots from seed:
Getting the Right Site!
The most important factor to consider when choosing a planting site is the soil type.
You will have to find an area in your garden where the soil is loose and well-drained. Soil that is rocky or rich in clay will hamper root development, leading to stunted and distorted carrots.
The second factor to consider is access to sunlight. Even though carrots require cool temperatures, they still need plenty of sunlight.
The ideal planting area should be free from shrubs, trees or any obstacles that might block the sun and cast a shade on your crops.
Getting Ready To Plant
After finding the best planting spot, you can start preparing the soil for planting. Clear all unwanted vegetation and remove any pieces of debris from the ground.
The next step involves loosening the soil.
The good news is it is pretty simple.
For this task, you will need a digging tool such as a garden hoe or a shovel. Use the digging tool to till the ground and loosen up the soil up to a depth of about 6 inches.
Break up any large lumps of soil, remove all rocks that you find and thoroughly mix up the top soil. If the soil contains too much clay, you can mix it with some organic matter such as grass clippings or compost to improve the texture.
Finally, use a rake to spread the soil evenly and level the ground.
Planting The Seeds
After loosening the top soil, use the spade to dig shallow parallel trenches for sowing the seeds.
These trenches should not be more than half an inch deep (1.3 cm), and you should leave a space of at least 8 inches (20 cm) between the trenches. These gaps will act as footpaths for you to walk on while you take care of the growing carrots.
You can dig as many trenches as you wish as long as you maintain the 8-inch spacing.
Now you are ready.
Sprinkle the seeds thinly inside the trenches before covering them with soil. Use a watering can to water the soil after planting the seeds.
Don’t saturate the soil with too much water as this could interfere with the germination process.
The time taken for germination to occur can be anywhere from one to three weeks, depending on the variety of carrots planted and the overall weather conditions. Generally, carrots will take longer to germinate during cold weather.
The germinating carrots will be tightly packed together and thinning has to be done to provide the carrots with enough room for their roots to grow and to reduce competition for nutrients and water.
This is important:
You should wait for the seedlings to grow to a height of about two inches from the ground before you thin them.
Carefully uproot any excess seedlings to ensure that a space of two inches is left between each individual plant.
This should be done with extreme care to avoid disturbing the delicate roots of the remaining plants.
Tending To Growing Carrots
After you have thinned out the seedlings, apply a layer of organic mulch around the remaining plants. This will help to preserve the moisture in the soil and also discourage weeds from growing.
Water your garden regularly to ensure that your carrots have enough water to grow. Inadequate moisture can cause cracking and branching of the roots.
Pluck out any weeds from your garden as soon as you spot them. Be extra careful when doing this to ensure that you don’t disturb the delicate roots of your carrots.
Pests and Diseases
Leaf blight is the most common carrot disease. This disease is usually caused by bacteria and fungus in the soil. Treating leaf blight can be difficult and prevention is always the easier option.
To ensure that your carrots don’t get affected by any bacterial and fungal diseases, practice crop rotation on a yearly basis.
After the first round of harvesting, wait for at least three years before planting carrots on the same spot.
That should really help.
Carrot rust flies are the most harmful pests you should look out for. These flies lay eggs which hatch into crawling larvae within a few days. These larvae will burrow into the carrots below the ground as they search for food.
Rust flies are attracted by the smell of freshly-cut carrot foliage. You can keep them at bay by only thinning and harvesting your carrots late in the evening when the flies are less active.
Most carrot varieties will mature after two to three months. You can tell that your carrots are ready when the top part of the root begins to poke out from the ground.
Before harvesting your carrots, water the ground to moisten the soil and make it easier for the roots to be pulled out.
And you are almost done!
You can then harvest them by gently pulling on the foliage above the ground until the whole root comes out of the soil. Cut the foliage from the root and wash the carrots with running water.
If you wish to store your carrots for future consumption, dry them after washing before packing them in airtight plastic bags. Place these bags in a refrigerator until you are ready to use the carrots.
And that is it, you should have some delicious home grown carrots ready to eat.
Want to learn more about growing carrots? You can find further information here:
- Growing and Planting Carrots – The Old Farmer’s Almanac
- How To Grow Carrots In The Home Garden – The Spruce
- How To Tell When Carrots Are Ready To Harvest – Gardening Know How
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