Growing Carrots

Growing carrots (Daucus carota)—or any vegetable , for that matter—can be a touch of a big gamble since you can’t see how well they’re doing until you harvest. Even experienced gardeners can have trouble growing long, sweet carrots. fairly often , carrots can disappoint with bland, misshapen, tough roots. But given loose soil, some cool weather, and many of water, there’s no reason you can’t grow sweet, crunchy carrots.

Carrots are biennial vegetables, though they’re typically harvested in their first year of growth, before they overwinter and set flowers the subsequent year. Carrot foliage is finely dissected, with fern-like compound leaves. Carrot flowers have five petals and sepals, and are born in compound umbels. Most roots are about 1 inch in diameter and anywhere from one inch to quite 12 inches long. Carrots are best known for long, orange roots, but they really are available several colors and shapes.

Carrots are often planted from nursery-grown seedlings, but the more common method is to sow seeds directly into the garden, beginning as soon because the soil is workable within the spring. The seeds will germinate in 10 to 21 days. From seed to reap typically takes 50 to 75 days. albeit left within the ground into winter, the roots can still be quite delicious.

carrots peeking out of the soil
Botanical NameDaucus carota
Common NameCarrot
Plant TypeVegetable
Size6-in. root, 1-ft foliage height; 9-in. spread 
Sun ExposureFull sun to part shade
Soil TypeLoose, well-draining soil
Soil pHSlightly acidic (6.0–6.8)
Hardiness Zones3–10 (grown as an annual)
Native AreaEurope, Southwestern Asia
ToxicityFoliage may cause skin irritation
carrot tops growing

How to Plant Carrots

Carrots grow well in cool weather. you’ll begin planting carrot seedlings or sowing carrot seeds as soon because the soil is often worked within the spring, even two to 3 weeks before the last frost. you’ll succession plant carrots every few weeks throughout the spring. In warmer climates, you’ll have better luck growing carrots within the fall, through the winter.

Carrot seeds are tiny, making it difficult to plant them evenly. Sprinkle the seeds during a row and canopy them barely with no quite 1/4 inch of soil. they’ll take as long as three weeks to sprout. When the seedlings are 1 to 2 inches tall, thin them bent a spacing of 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Snipping or pinching the seedlings off at the soil line is that the best thanks to avoid hurting the remaining roots.

To prevent the soil from crusting over and making it difficult for the seeds to sprout, you’ll plant the carrot seeds with radish seeds, which can sprout first and loosen the soil.

To prevent deformed roots, keep the world freed from weeds because the carrots are growing. If you would like to thin again later, you’ll use the small carrots in salads. When you’ve finished thinning, your carrots should be far enough apart that they won’t rub shoulders when mature.

Carrot Care

Even though the roots are growing underground, the foliage needs full sun to part shade for the carrot roots to grow quickly and develop their sugars.


Carrots need loose, well-draining soil. Rocks and clumps will cause the carrot roots to separate and deform. Growing carrots in raised beds with fluffy soil are that the ideal situation. Carrots prefer a rather acidic soil—in the range of 6.0 to 6.8.


Water your carrots with a minimum of 1 inch of water hebdomadally. Mulching will help conserve water and keep the soil cool.

Temperature and Humidity

Carrots are often grown almost anywhere, even indoors. These biennials are typically grown as annuals altogether zones and altogether climates. However, they grow best and are tastiest when nighttime temperatures average about 55 degrees Fahrenheit and daytime temperatures average 75 degrees. In warmer climates, carrots are sometimes planted as a late fall and winter crop.


If your soil isn’t rich in organic matter, supplemental feeding is going to be necessary about a fortnight after the carrot tops emerging. Any good vegetable fertilizer will do. Because they’re grown for his or her roots, don’t go overboard with nitrogen fertilizer, which mostly aids foliage growth

Are Carrots Toxic?

The foliage of carrot is edible and is usually utilized in salads, but it also contains a substance referred to as furocoumarins, which may cause skin irritation.

Carrot Varieties

There is a seemingly endless number of carrot varieties in an array of sizes and colors. Some notable varieties to undertake include:

  • ‘Danver’s Half Long’: early, sweet, and straightforward growing
  • ‘Imperator’: an extended variety that keeps its sweetness and crunch in storage
  • ‘Little Finger’: a sweet three-inch “baby” carrot
  • ‘Paris Market’/’Thumbelina’: plump, round, and bite-sized


When to reap your carrots will depend upon the variability you’re growing, but the typical is about 50 to 75 days from seed. Use the times to reap on your seed packet as a guide for knowing when to start out picking. Test to ascertain if the tops of your carrot plants have filled bent the expected diameter by feeling slightly below the soil line. the sole true test is to lift one among the carrots and taste it.

Don’t attempt to harvest timely , thinking you’ll get sweet baby carrots. Small carrots within the store are either a specific variety that matures small or large carrots that are ground right down to baby-size. Immature carrots are going to be bland because they need not had time to develop their full sweetness.

If your soil is extremely soft, you’ll twist and pull the carrots from the soil. To get on the safe side, it’s knowing loosen the soil sightly before harvesting, ensuring to not stab the carrots within the process. Remove the leaves immediately after harvesting. The leaves will still take energy and moisture from the roots, leaving them limp and lessening the sweetness of your carrots.

Common Pests and Diseases

The biggest pest is that the carrot rust fly. It lays its eggs within the soil near the carrot top. When the eggs hatch, the larvae work their way down into the soil then into the carrot’s roots, where they feed and make tunnels through the carrot. Carrot weevils can do similar damage. you’ll foil some pests by rotating where you plant annually, but the simplest method is to grow your carrots under row covers.

Nematodes, microscopic worms, can become a drag later within the season, causing badly deformed roots. Heating the soil through solarization can kill nematodes. If you’re battling carrot nematodes during a particular spot, rotate to a different crop and plant carrots elsewhere.

Even if they don’t notice the roots growing below the soil surface, there are many animals which will want to eat the tops of your carrots and a couple of who will dig deeper. Deer, groundhogs, rabbits, opossum, and a number of other others will got to be kept out of the garden—fencing is basically the sole effective method.

There are a couple of leaf spot and bacterial diseases which will affect carrots, like Alternaria blight , carrot yellows, and bacterial plant disease there’s not much you’ll do once the plants are infected. Keep an in depth watch and take away any plants showing signs of disease. pack up all debris at the top of the season and move your carrots to a special section of the garden next year, because the microorganisms can continue the soil.

How to Grow Carrots in Pots

Carrots require loose well-drained soil. they’re going to fork and deform if they meet with the slightest resistance, like a rock or hard soil. If you can’t provide loose soil in your kitchen garden, consider growing carrots during a container. The shorter finger-types or small round carrots, like ‘Paris Market’, are ideal for containers. confirm your container is a minimum of 12 inches deep.

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