Already know how to grow carrots? Great. Want to learn more? Ok. Carrots require loose, well-fertilized soil, and will grow best in cool temperatures. They like full exposure to the sun and are a great candidate for successive planting. Store them correctly and you can enjoy flavorful carrots for most of the year!
The ideal soil for growing carrots is soil that is loose, free from rocks, loamy, well-aerated, porous, well-drained and fertile. To prepare the soil, double-dig (if you have the time) or cultivate the soil to a depth of 12 inches, working in an inch of aged compost. Avoid the use of fresh manure as it will damage the roots. Water the soil deeply before planting.
A great soil preparation time-saver is to plant carrots where you grew potatoes the year before. The soil will be well-tilled from the potatoe harvest. Carrots prefer a soil that is pH neutral.
The best time for planting carrots is in early spring or late summer. Plant carrot seeds outdoors about two weeks before the final frost. In late summer, plant seeds about two months before your first frost. Carrot roots grow best in temperatures that are between 15-18°C/59-65°F. If the soil temperature is above &10degC/50°F, carrots will usually germinate within 2-3 weeks. Carrots can also be planted successively (every ~3 weeks) in order to provide maturing carrots throughout the growing season.
Below are the general guidelines for how to grow carrots:
Carrots require even watering and should not be allowed to dry out. Carrots require ~1 inch of water per week. Be aware that sudden water shocks (if the soil has dried) may cause the root to split.
Weed carrots gently. Pulling weeds that are in close proximity may also pull or damage the growing carrots feeder roots.
Carrots can be harvested at any time during their growth, but taste best the longer they mature. Thinning carrots is a great way to enjoy younger carrots, without reducing future harvest. Carrots should be pulled from the ground to reduce the chance of injury. Watering the soil beforehand, or loosening with a trowel, are two ways to make pulling carrots easier. Be aware the leaving carrots in the vegetable garden longer then necessary leaves them exposed them to pests! See our page on preventing pests in order to protect your carrots.
Carrots are best stored at temperatures slighlty above freezing. Cut off the tops to avoid allowing moisture to be drawn into the root. They can be stored in a crisper, in sand or peat. Some folks leave the roots in the garden, cut the tops off, pile dirt on the roots, and pull carrots as desired.