Carrots are one of our family’s favorite vegetables to grow in the garden. We love the flavor of homegrown carrots; there is nothing quite like pulling up a carrot, rinsing it with the hose, and eating it right in the garden. Learn how to grow carrots with these five tips.
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more information.
How to Grow Carrots: 5 Tips for Growing Carrots
1. How to grow carrots: Plant carrots from seed directly in the garden
Carrot roots do not like to be transplanted. Sow carrot seeds directly in the garden. Do not purchase carrot transplants.
Seed tape makes planting carrots quick and easy. Carrot seeds are embedded into the tape at correct spacing intervals.
- Seed vendors offer carrot colors such as purple, white, red, yellow, and of course orange. Home gardeners can also choose from many shapes and sizes.
- Danvers varieties are sweet, crisp, full-flavored, and easy for the home gardener to grow.
- Imperator varieties have less flavor, but store well. (This is the variety commonly found in grocery stores.)
- Chantenay varieties are good all-purpose carrots that can handle heavy soils.
2. Learn how to grow carrots and take advantage of the long planting season for growing carrots
- In the low desert of Arizona, plant carrots from September 15 through March.
- Plant carrot seeds when soil temperatures are between 45°F – 85°F. Check local planting guides for when you can plant.
- Choose an area with sandy well-drained soil that is free from stones and fresh manure. Rake and smooth the bed carefully before planting.
- Thinly sow seeds ¼ inch deep.
- Plant carrots every 3 weeks for a continual harvest.
3. Carrots need consistent moisture to sprout and grow
After planting, soil must be kept moist for 10 days. Spray lightly twice a day in very sunny weather. Seeds will not germinate if they dry out.
During hot weather, cover the planted seeds with burlap to keep the seeds moist. Remove the burlap once sprouts appear.
Once seeds have sprouted, regular watering helps them grow quickly and continuously.
Watch the video below for a quick tip for germinating carrot seeds.
4. Thin carrot seedlings for larger carrots
Thinning the carrots ensures each carrot has enough room to reach mature size.
Two weeks after the plants germinate, thin any carrots that touch each other.
In another 2 weeks, thin carrots to 2 or 3 inches apart.
Use scissors to cut off young seedlings rather than pulling them by hand.
5. Harvest and store carrots correctly
Harvest the largest carrots first to give the smaller carrots room to develop. Fully-developed carrots will have a bit of blunting at the end of the tip and have good flavor.
If you aren’t sure if carrots are ready to harvest, remove soil from around the tops of the carrot roots. Harvest carrots when tops are about 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter. The top may begin to “pop” out of the soil.
A tip to remember — the shorter variety carrots are best eaten fresh, while longer carrots are more suited to storing.
Carrots store best if you clip the foliage, leaving about 1 inch of stem. If you leave the greens on the carrots, they draw moisture out of them, causing limp carrots.
Let washed carrots air dry before storing them in the refrigerator. Store in a sealed ziplock-style bag, and they will last for months.
When you are ready to use harvested carrots, scrub but don’t peel! Many vitamins are in the skin or close to the surface.
Freeze-drying carrots is a simple way to preserve extra harvests. Learn more about freeze-drying in this blog post.