The Life of a Carrot: Sow to Harvest

Hello VEGheads,

Are you thinking about growing carrots? Are carrots your plant that you simply can not grow? (Every gardeners has one, I have a few) I have grown carrots every year; Every year I get better and better carrots. I typically like to plant them as a fall crop, but they can be planted year round in zone 9. The reason why I don't like to grow them over summer is because they like to receive consistent watering and if they don't they will crack. However if you can provide them with consistent watering they grow much faster.

Planted September 8th (Day 0). Typically when I sow my seeds sprinkled into a line. These particular carrots were sprinkled in a line around the edge of the wine barrel that I have my young Eversweet Pomegranate Tree. The soil should be light and airy. Too packed soil will not allow the roots to swell. You'll also want to make sure the soil is relatively free of pebbles. Pebbles can cause deformed roots. Also if the carrots are expected to be 4 inches, I would make sure the container is at least 8in. Double the length to make sure the roots have ample room to grow.

They sprouted September 16th (Day 8). These were quick, they sprouted like a week later!! Most of the time they take 3-4 weeks to sprout. So be patient. If you plant radishes at the same time as carrots, they will be ready to harvest around the time your carrots sprout. I don't plant radishes because I have no reason to grow them... yet.

October 15 (Day 37) did the first major thinning. I prefer to snip my carrots to thin so that I do not disturb surrounding roots. Some will pluck and then transplant as to not waste the carrots, doing this can cause crooked roots, however I have seen it done.

I also choose not to waste them by eating them. I love adding the baby carrot tops to salads. They have a fresh carroty taste. Below is a photo of my winter salads. At the bottom is mostly carrot tops, with young butter crunch lettuce leaves, pea tendrils, baby spinach leaves and while the mandarin was kept whole for photogenic purposed I parted the slices. It was delightful. Orange-carrots is one of my favorite flavor combinations.

This year was the first time I ever had to combat powdery mildew on my carrots. I didn't even know carrots could get powdery mildew. My localest nursery The Greenery recommended Monterey Complete Disease Control RTU, an organic solution to absolve powdery mildew and a number of other things. I sprayed my carrots once every week as directed on the bottle. I did not consume the leaves of these carrots.

January 23rd, 2019 (Day 137!) I checked around the base of the vegetation to see if the carrots had sized up. They had not yet. Carefully move the top soil from around the root. Make sure that you cover the carrot top after checking, if you leave it expose it will turn green from sunlight.

February 19th (Day 164) I checked and found some decent sized carrots. 3 were harvested. I'm unsure why one appeared yellow-ish. My guess is that it went too long. This is the only carrot that ended up like this.

March 11th (Day 184) all the carrots came out I ended up with about 10 good sized carrots, these carrots are only supposed to get 3-4 inches and a handful of minis.

All were sliced, blanched and have been frozen immediately after they were harvested for later use in a stir-fry mix I am very excited about.

I love growing my own carrots. They're only down fall is how long they take to grow in winter. The variety I grew was Little Finger Carrots, an heirloom variety that grows about 3-4 inches long. Sow to harvest according to the packet is 60 days, which may have been the case if I grew them in warmer weather. Carrots grow very slow in winter, especially a cold one like we had this year. But sowing in fall for a spring harvest is nice. I was very excited to have a bounty of carrots for salads and for food later. I have more currently growing that were planted about a month after these and am looking forward to some birthday carrot cake.

Please let me know if you have grown carrots or are thinking about growing carrots.

Do you grow carrots slightly different or massively different that I.

I'm Very Excited to hear from you!

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BONUS: Above I only mention the life of my Little Finger carrots because the other three varieties are not fully ready for harvest. I was able to find a Giant Market and a De Nantes to taste test against the Little Fingers. And I was #shook. The giant market was not the biggest despite being planted at the same time. Note also that the germination on the giant markets was TERRIBLE, (may have been the brand) The De Nantes was the largest and in my opinion the prettiest carrots. However, Little Fingers simply tasted the best. They didn't have that "earthy taste" that homegrown carrots usually have. It may have been the soil. I'll be honest, I don't remember what the soil was, but I know it was different that the soil in the raised bed.

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