How to grow carrots in your backyard
Carrots are quite easy to grow. If you know the basic golden rules, you can go through the entire growing process with great ease. Right from sowing to harvesting, you can enjoy a relatively trouble-free farming journey with this vegetable. Let’s explore how to plant, grow, and harvest carrots.
- Specie: D. Carota
- Genus: Daucus
- Plant Type: Rooted vegetable
- Height: About 6 in (15.24) to 12 in (30.48 cm)
- Width: 3 in (7.62 cm) to 3 ft (91.44 cm)
- Leaf stalks: Up to 3.8 ft (115.82 cm)
- Flowers: ~1000 white-colored tiny flowers
- Cotyledon: Dicots
- Propagation: Seed
- Water Requirement: 1 in (2.54 cm) per week in well-drained soil
- Harvest Time: About 75 days after sowing
Factors to consider before sowing
You’ll need to take factors like growing season, plant maintenance and even pest control, before you get started.Ground condition
Carrots can be grown anywhere. You can grow them in tubs or raised beds, a greenhouse, or in hoop house beds. You’ll need to make sure that the soil is well-dug and the sowing patch gets enough light. For best results, add adequately decomposed compost. If you sow carrots after a heavy feeding vegetable like tomatoes or cabbage, then be sure to add manure or compost since the soil may be depleted of nutrients.Time of the year
Consider the time of year when you intend to grow carrots. Ideally, you must choose to sow seeds late in spring or mid-summer. Carrot seeds will readily germinate at 75° F (24° C), although some varieties will even germinate at 40° F (4.5° C). Seeds take anywhere between two to three weeks to germinate. To get a regular supply of this vegetable, try to sow after every couple of weeks.Sowing method
Carrots can only be sown directly into the soil. Prepare the soil to a fine tilth and remove all rocks from it. Mark rows at 5.90 in (15 cm) apart and use a seed drill to sow them 1 in (2.5 cm) into the soil. Alternatively, push a finger into the soil till the second digit, to get the required depth. Now cover the seeds with soil. You can also mix them with sand for easier sowing. To grow them in tubs, spreads the seed over the top of the soil and cover them with ½ in (1.5 cm) soil. Water, and place in the sun.Prevention from flies
The maggots of thwart flies can seriously damage this vegetable. For a market ready yield, you have to make sure that the crop is covered throughout its life while growing in field soil. These flies are low-flying, so if you are growing carrots in pots or tubs then simply raise them above the ground for protection.Caring for carrots
Snip off the excess foliage and seedlings regularly to ensure healthy carrot plants aren’t competing. Cutting is preferable to uprooting. Make sure you do it without attracting carrot files with the aroma. Also, eradicate all weeds growing around the vegetable so that they do not compete for moisture and nutrition. A suppressive mulch layer can aid in preventing unwanted weed growth, while retaining moisture in the surrounding soil.
Always plant carrots in rows. The space between rows should be between 12 in (30 cm) to 24 in (60 cm). Seeds should be placed 2 in (5.08 cm) away from each other.
Remove all residue like trash, rocks, bark and twigs from the soil. Plant residue can be broken into small pieces and mixed into the soil. They will serve as a nutritional source for carrots. As far as the soil is concerned, it should be sandy, well-aerated, and loamy at the time of sowing. The soil should not have a high percentage of clay. This will not allow the carrot to grow deep into the soil and negatively affect its roots. Also, rocky soil is not good as it can also damage the root. Fertilize the soil with organically produced compost which should contain a near equivalent of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium in a ratio of 10:20:10.
- Distribute the seeds uniformly within the rows. You can use a seed-sower to do this with near perfection.
- To keep track of carrot seeds, sow radish seeds along with each carrot. Radish will grow quickly, and you can harvest it. In the meantime, the growth of carrots will become visible.
- Try to block harsh sunlight and keep the roots away from direct exposure.
- Water one inch/week to start and increase up to 2 in (5.08 cm) as the root matures.
- Fertilize the soil every one and a half months with phosphorous rich compost
- Make sure the nitrogen ratio of fertilizer is kept lower than potassium and phosphorous.
- Use scissors to snip the seedlings as they grow up to 4 inches in height. In this way, you can save the roots from damage.
Once the top of the carrot starts jutting out of the soil, you’ll know that it is the right time to harvest. Remove soil from the sides and dig out alternate carrots. This will allow the remaining to grow larger. You can pull out small-sized vegetables using your hands, while the bigger ones will require a fork.
- Harvest as soon as carrots get a vibrant color.
- To improve taste, let the top remain exposed to multiple touches of frost during a winter harvest.
- Mulch beds with straw to let carrots survive winter.
You can easily damage your carrots if they are not stored properly. Here are a few different ways to store them correctly:
- Remove half an inch off the top, and scrub off soil from freshly harvested carrots. Wash them with cold water for further cleaning, and seal them in airtight biodegradable silicone vegetable storage bags. Packing should be airtight before you refrigerate them. Storing fresh carrots directly in the refrigerator can damage them within a few hours.
- If your soil does not have a pest problem, you can leave your carrots unharvested for some time. This method of storage is also effective in keeping them fresh.
- You can also fill a tub with moist sand, place the carrots in them, and store in a cool place. There should be no exposure to sunlight during this storage.
- Dig out the roots, remove the foliage at the top, and store in boxes filled with dry sawdust. You can overwinter these carrots by storing them in a cool and dark place.
There’s no better satisfaction, than self-grown carrots. Their color, taste, and quality are incomparable with the ones industrially grown. If you are planning to grow them at home, your farmstead or commercial farm, we hope that our information helps you grow outrageously good ones. Follow the little tips and tricks and be sure not skip any steps. Grow some food and amaze yourself.