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5 Secrets to Growing Great Carrots


October 29, 2013 by Hope Gardens

Carrots are delicious, nutritious and fun to grow, but surprisingly challenging. These five tips will make sure your planting is a big success. Order some seeds today and plant your carrots anytime of the year. Right now is the perfect time to plant these beta-carotene wonders as they love cool weather, but even in the summer, say in the shade of a tomato plant, you can grow these garden faves.

5 Secrets to Growing Great Carrots

1. Make sure your soil is completely free of obstructions like small rocks and dirt clods to a depth of 12″-15″.

2. Grow your carrot directly from seed. Place seeds 1/4″ under soil and 1″ apart. This is hard as the seeds are very small. Cover with a mix of vermiculite and soil and/or coir and soil.

Better yet! Make a carrot tape and plant that under the soil. Here’s how!

How To Make a Carrot Tape

3. Thin seedlings after true leaves appear to a distance of 1-2″ apart. It’s better to cut the seedlings off with a small scissor rather than pull them out and risk pulling out the seedling you want to keep. Off with their heads!

This process is made much easier by using the carrot tape method above.

4. Steady water will help keep your carrots growing without cracking or splitting. Start with surface water to germinate and water more deeply once carrots start to form underneath.

5. You may need a little lime in your soil if you pH is low. Do not over-fertilize or else you will get a nice big green top but no carrot. Once you see some carrot growing underneath, reward it with a side dressing of animal-free organic veggie fertilizer and/or compost.

6. Cover a carrot’s “shoulders” by packing soil or compost around the carrot plant.

Carrots are a blast to grow and eat, and don’t take up much room in the garden. Plant them here and there between your plants. Plus they are really nice about just hanging out underground if you forget to harvest them. Keep them away from dill and parsnip and plant them alongside onions and lettuce. Try different varieties! I’ve had great luck with Cosmic Purple, Purple Haze, Scarlet Nantes and Dragon Carrots. To see if you carrot is done, dig it up. If you’d like it to grow more, stick it back under the ground. What could be easier? 😉

Also remember that carrot tops are edible. Try baby ones in salads and make mature ones into a pesto.

One more bonus tip: Short on space? Plant radishes and carrots in the SAME HOLE. The radish will be mature and ready for harvesting in a couple weeks and the carrot will keep on growing in the space left by the harvested radish. Awesome!