With Sharon Peterson
I’m not so certain I can call myself an expert on how to grow carrots. But I can certainly say I grow great interesting and intriguing carrots in hard packed clay soil dirt.
My dad told me years ago that I’d never get carrots to grow in my dirt. I figured it is worth a try. I get some great formations… and I also get enough to feed my family thank-you-very-much. (big smile) If I can grow carrots… so can you!
When to sow indoors – Not recommended
When to sow outdoors – Early spring as soon as chance of a hard frost is over.
Seed Depth – 1/4 – 1/2 inch (Just barely cover with soil)
Days to Germination – 6 days
Spacing – 2 inches apart in rows 6 -8 inches apart
Light Requirements – Full sun, tolerates partial shade
Watering – Moderate. Soil must be kept wet until germination!
Good Companions – beans, cabbage, lettuce, onion, peas, pepper, radish, sage, tomato
Bad Companions – celery, dill,
Rotation Plan – Avoid rotating with celery, dill or parsley
Carrots have a very tiny seed that is difficult to sow evenly. The best you can do is scatter them as evenly as possible and and then thin them as they grow. I hate thinning! But it really does need to be done with carrots. If they are growing too close it will stunt their growth or cause mutations.
I laugh when I write that… remember, my mutated carrots are probably because of small stones and hard dirt. Clay dirt does that! I do the best I can. :0)
I like to scatter the seeds on wet soil as best I can then sprinkle dirt over the top of the seed. After it is all covered lightly I again wet the soil down. This seems to work well.
The soil must be kept wet until the carrots have germinated. The seedlings are delicate and will not break any crust that may form. Uhm… like hard clay soil does. :0)
Try sowing radishes with your carrots. It will come up first and loosen the dirt so the tender carrots can push through. I also read that planting a companion in with the carrots that will shade the roots will help the carrots stay sweeter. Try Swiss Chard.
Carrots are harvested in the fall. If your soil is loose you can probably harvest them by grabbing their tops and just pulling them from the ground.
If like me, you have hard dirt, you’ll need to be sure and water them good before you try to pull. The tops may just break off if you pull too hard and the dirt has a good hold. You may also need to use a pitchfork or other gardening tool to gently loosen the dirt around the carrots.
Storage / Preserving
If you have a root cellar or similar area, you can layer your carrots in sawdust or damp sand for storage. Use a bin or plastic container. Check this often and remove any carrots that are growing mushy. Spoilage spreads quickly!
My preference is to can and or dehydrate my carrots. Try pickling them too!