If you are wondering how to grow carrots (Daucus carota), you should know they grow best in cool temperatures like those that occur in early spring and late fall. The night temperature should be dropping to about 55 degrees F. (13 C.) and the daytime temperatures should be averaging 75 degrees F. (24 C.) for optimum growth. Carrots grow in small gardens and even flower beds, and can accept a little bit of shade as well.
How to Grow Carrots
When you grow carrots, soil surfaces should be cleared of trash, rocks, and large pieces of bark. Finer pieces of plant material can be mixed down into the soil for enrichment.
Start out with soil that will help your carrots grow healthy. When you grow carrots, soil should be a sandy, well-drained loam. Heavy soils cause the carrots to mature slowly and the roots will end up unattractive and rough. Remember that when you grow carrots, rocky soil leads to poor quality roots.
Till or dig up the area where carrots will be planted. Make sure the soil is tilled up to soften and aerate the ground to make it easier to grow carrots long and straight. Fertilize the soil with one cup of 10-20-10 for every 10 feet (3 m.) of row you plant. You can use a rake to mix the soil and fertilizer.
Plant your carrots in rows that are 1 to 2 feet (31-61 cm.) apart. Seeds should be planted about a ½ inch (1 cm.) deep and 1 to 2 inches (2.5-5 cm.) apart.
When growing carrots in the garden, you’ll wait for your carrot plants to appear. When the plants are 4 inches (10 cm.) high, thin the plants to 2 inches (5 cm.) apart. You may find that some of the carrots are actually large enough to eat.
When growing carrots in the garden, make sure to plant, per person, 5 to 10 feet (1.5-3 m.) of row to have enough carrots for table use. You will get about 1 pound 0.5 kg.) of carrots in a 1 foot (31 cm.) row.
You want to keep your carrots free of weeds. This is especially important when they are small. The weeds will take nutrients away from the carrots and will cause poor carrot development.
How Do You Harvest Carrots?
Carrots grow continuously after you plant them. They also don’t take too long to mature. You can start the first crop in mid-spring after threat of frost has passed and continue to plant new seeds every two weeks for continuous harvest through the fall.
Harvesting of the carrots can begin when they are finger sized. However, you can allow them to stay in the soil until winter if you mulch the garden well.
To check the size of your carrots, gently remove some dirt from the top of the root and check the size of the root. To harvest, gently lift the carrot from the soil.