Growing carrots is something to add to your bucket list. There’s nothing like pulling a homegrown carrot from the earth, rinsing it with a hose, and eating it in the garden. Nothing beats the flavor of a freshly-picked carrot. Grocery store carrots can’t compare. Learn how to grow carrots with these five tips.
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.
- 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 August through April.
- 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. How to grow carrots: 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.
- 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. How to grow carrots: 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.
- Use scissors to cut off young seedlings rather than pulling them by hand.
- In another 2 weeks, thin carrots to 2 or 3 inches apart.
5. How to grow carrots: 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 the carrots – causing limp carrots. Let washed carrots air dry before storing in the refrigerator.
When you are ready to use harvested carrots, scrub but don’t peel! Many vitamins are in the skin or close to the surface.