Short n’ Sweet
Days to Maturity
How to Sow
- Carrots can be sown early, after danger of heavy frost is over. Sow every two weeks thereafter for continuous harvest, or simply sow a second crop in midsummer for fall harvest. In frost free areas, sow in fall.
- Carrots do not like to be transplanted and are best sown directly into the garden bed. Sow carrot seeds in deep, well-worked soil in full sun. Straight roots require soil that is light, loosened deeply, and free of stones, so prepare a carrot planting thoroughly. Consider using a soil amendment such as compost if your soil is heavy. If you choose long carrot varieties, your soil will need to be worked more deeply.
- Sow thinly in rows 12 inches apart and cover with ½ inch of fine soil. Firm lightly and keep evenly moist.
- Since seedlings have fine leaves it may be beneficial to plant radish along with your carrot seed. The radishes will be harvested well before carrots form and act as a guide to the carrot row.
- Seedlings emerge in 14-21 days.
- Thin carrot plants to stand 1 inch apart when seedlings are 3 inches high.
How to Grow
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.
- Deep, consistent watering and soil well-enriched with compost help carrots form high quality roots by encouraging lush leafy tops that shade the roots, helping to prevent “green shoulders.”
- Keep plants well watered during dry periods to promote uninterrupted growth. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It’s best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
- Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
Harvest and Preserving Tips
- To make harvesting easier, soak your carrot bed with water before pulling. Twist the tops off while pulling the roots up.
- You can leave carrots in the ground after the first frost. In cold climates, pull carrots up before the ground freezes. In warm climates, you can harvest carrots all winter.
- Cut the greens off the top after harvest to about ¼ – ½ inches above the shoulder. This will help the carrot to keep longer as the greens can take moisture from the root.
- Carrots store best at 32-38 degrees F at 98% humidity.
- You can store them in the refrigerator in plastic bags, or they may be blanched and frozen for later use.
- Carrots may be canned or pickled as well.