It’s easy to grow carrots at home — all you need are some seeds and a little bit of know-how.
In this article, we’ll show you how to do it. It’s not difficult, but there are a few things you should know before getting started.
We’ll also explain the basics of growing carrots from tops, and give you some tips on how to get the most out of your crop.
When to Plant
You can start planting carrots in early spring or midsummer. If you’re starting from seeds, then the general rule of thumb is to plant them 2 to 3 weeks before the last frost.
But if you’re using carrot tops (the greens that are attached to the carrots), then you can plant them at any time.
How Long Does it Take Carrots to Grow?
It’s around 50 to 80 days for them to reach the cooking stage from sowing the seeds and about 30 days for them to grow and reach maturity from carrot tops.
But there’s a little bit of wiggle room there, depending on the climate and the type of carrot you’re growing.
For example, if you’re growing Danvers carrots, they’ll take a little longer to grow than if you’re growing Little Finger carrots.
And if you’re growing in a warmer climate, they may take less time to grow than if you’re growing them in a colder climate. So just keep that in mind as you’re planning your garden!
When spacing your carrots, just know that they’ll need some room to grow. If you’re planting them in a row, give at least three inches between each seedling and 16 to 24 inches between rows.
You’ll thin the seedlings when they are at least an inch tall.
If you’re growing them in containers, you’ll need to be a bit more precise with the spacing. Carrots like to be snug, so place them about 2 cm apart.
Growing Carrots from Seeds
Before you can think of anything, select the right kind of seeds. Once you’ve decided on the variety you want to grow, it’s time to get planting.
The seeds need light to germinate, so it’s best to plant them in a sunny spot in your garden. Also, ensure the soil is rich, well-tilled, and loose. The soil must also remain moist, and just know that they prefer neutral to slightly acidic soil.
When the seedlings are up, don’t forget to thin them properly according to the required space between each carrot plant and the rows.
Planting Carrot Tops
Cut off the top of the carrot, leaving about an inch of the stump (the orange part), and then plant it in soil.
You can also regrow the scraps in water. Just stick toothpicks on each side of the stump. Next balance the top with the toothpick on top of a glass dish.
Now fill the dish with water until the water touches the bottom of the carrot stump. Afterward, place the dish in a sunny spot and wait until you see roots sprouting.
When roots begin to appear, it’s time to move the carrot stump into a container with soil. Carrot tops can be planted year-round.
There’s also the newspaper method. Place multiple layers of newspaper in a plate or open container and soak with water. But, ensure that there’s no standing water.
Next, place the carrot tops on the moist newspaper and wait out for some days for them to shoot roots.
Growing in Containers
Firstly, most varieties require a container with a depth of at least 12 inches to grow properly. Also, ensure there are holes in the bottom of the pot.
Next, fill the pot with a soil mix that is light and loose. You can either make your own mix or buy potting soil from your local garden center.
Fill your container with the soil mix and then press the seeds into the soil, making sure they’re covered with a thin layer of soil.
Finally, lightly water, and ensure they get ample light.
When the tops are 3 inches or taller, you can fertilize. Also, use a fertilizer that has more phosphorus and potassium than nitrogen.
You can also add compost to the soil but be sure not to use fresh manure.
When it comes to watering carrots, you definitely don’t want to overwater them.
The best way to tell if your carrots need water is to check the soil. If the top layer of soil is dry, then it’s time to water. But be careful not to go too hard on the water. Keep the soil moist, not wet.
The plants need at least an inch of water per week.
Carrots are one of the best vegetables to companion plant with.
Some plants repel pests, while others attract them; and by pairing them up correctly, you can create a natural balance in your garden that will help keep your plants healthy. This method also adds to soil improvement and much more.
Crops that you can plant in the same bed as carrots include onions, chives, lettuce, and legumes.
Now that you’ve established your carrot garden, you need to be aware of the pests that can affect your crop. The most common carrot pests are aphids, flea beetles, carrot rust flies, and wireworms .
You can keep away these critters by spraying your plants with a neem oil solution or by using insecticidal soap. Plus, there are tons of other natural remedies to eliminate pests from your garden.
One other thing you need to be aware of when you’re growing carrots is that they’re susceptible to certain diseases. Among the common ones are soft rot, bacterial leaf blight, downy mildew, scab, and black root rot .
All of these diseases can be treated with a combination of crop rotation, sanitation, and fungicides. But it’s important to be on the lookout for them, especially if you’re growing carrots in your backyard.
The good news is that these plant diseases are not too difficult to treat, and with a little bit of diligence, you should be able to do away with them.
When your carrot shoulders (the top of the roots) are about 1/2 to 3/4 inches in diameter, it’s time to start harvesting.
Simply twist them out of the ground, gripping the plant by the foliage. Next, give them a good wash.
As you can see, carrot farming is relatively easy, so start preparing a little space in your backyard for some carrots. They are a healthy, versatile vegetable. Add them to your gardening repertoire.