We harvested our first few carrots this week for a pasta salad. We’ve grown carrots in the past and I vividly remember a year when we grew so many that instead of eating them raw, I was sauteing them night after night.
While I don’t think this year will be like that, we do have a pretty good patch and should be able to not buy carrots for a while. Benjamin especially likes to go outside and check the carrots, looking for just the right one.
- Planting times for our area (South Texas) is Jan 15-Mar 7 and Sept 15-Nov 7
- Carrots need well tilled, loose soil. If you have clay soil you should really add alot of compost to begin to break it up.
- I sow the seeds really close together, I just sprinkle them from the envelope in a line and cover them with soil.
- If you want them spaced properly to begin with you can make seed tape.
- Thin to 2 inches apart
- Carrot seeds are really small and so they need for the ground to stay moist while they germinate. You can lightly water the soil each day – just be careful that the soil doesn’t form a crust.
- Or you can put a piece of burlap or a board over the seeds for 5-7 days. When you peek under and see green remove the covering. (I have not tried this, but I will this fall. I had a really hard time getting these carrots to germinate. I sowed seeds 3 different times!)
- Succession plant so that they are not all ready at the same time. Try planting every 2 to 3 weeks during the planting season.
- Do NOT try to start carrots early and then put them in the garden. The roots will get all mangled and funky. Although one certain little boy I know loves this, his mom doesn’t.
- Carrots will grow as long as they are going to and then fill out.
- If you use too much feritilizer your carrots will be hairy (little roots growing off the carrot). These will not store very well.
- Like onions, carrots will bolt or go to seed in their second year. Unless, there is crazy weather which makes them think they are two, even if they are really only one.
Carrot Pests and Problems
Other than the germination trouble this year, we’ve never really had any issues with carrots. They seem to be fairly easy to grow, once they start.
- Carrot Rust Fly – you can use floating row covers. But carrots are easily disturbed so be careful. Try growing onions nearby, the should help repell the larvae of the rust fly.
- Sometimes a gopher will eat just a part of a couple of carrots – solution: pay son 50cents for every gopher he traps.
- Grubs or wire worms will sometimes chew on a few or tunnel through them. We feed these to the chickens.
- Overwatering will cause the carrots to split.
Harvesting and Storing Carrots
- We just harvest the carrots as we need them throughout the summer. Taking them from the most crowded area.
- I have read that you can store carrots in wet peat moss in your cellar. We don’t have a cellar so I won’t be trying this.
- Carrots can be left in the ground until the ground freezes
- I know you can also freeze carrots, but we’re not big frozen veggie people.
- Carrots can be canned but you need to use a pressure canner not a water bath canner.
Of course, carrots can be eaten raw and they’re great! But they can also be chopped and sauteed with other vegetables, and added to soups and pastas. They can be grated and added to rice or greens, or be used for a cake.
Most people just eat the root but the greens are also edible. They can be used to make a pesto, tossed in with chicken bones to make broth, or added to salads. Some people find carrot tops somewhat bitter but they can be blanched to get rid of the bitter taste.
Feel free to add any other carrot information in the comments.You can find information about other fruits and veggies by searching clicking on the In The Garden tab up top or in The Gardening Notebook.