Growing Carrots

by Stephanie Suesan Smith on September 22, 2010

Growing carrots is not hard if you make sure the soil is well prepared.  Carrots growing in hard clay gumbo will be stunted and look funny.  Carrots grown in rich sandy loam are full of vitamins and taste better than store bought carrots, which have traveled a long way since being picked.

If you have prepared your garden well, you have tilled the soil down to a depth of six inches and worked three inches of compost into it.  Now make a hill that is 4-6 inches tall and about three inches wide.  Leave a furrow between this hill and the next one.  The hills help make sure the carrots drain and also that they have enough good soil to grow straight and tall.  Plant the seeds along the top of the hill in a furrow that is 1/2 inch deep. Cover, water in, and wait.

Carrot seeds are tiny and hard to handle.  You can now purchase the seed in a biodegradable tape that already has the seeds at the correct spacing.  It is a little more expensive, but you may find it worth the money.  You can also purchase things that look like big syringes to dispense seeds.  I have never found those to work, but your experience may be different.

Before planting your carrots, work one cup of 10-10-10 into each 10 foot of row.  It is easiest to spread the fertilizer, then rake it in.  When the carrots emerge, wait until they are about 4 inches high then side dress the carrots with two tablespoons of the same fertilizer.  You can repeat when the carrots get to be 6-8 inches tall if they are pale instead of bright green.

When the carrot tops are 4 inches high, thin them to a spacing of 2 inches between carrots.  You can probably eat the ones you pull up.  As the carrots get bigger, thin to 4 inches apart.  If the carrots are crowded they will not grow well.

Keep the carrots weeded well or the weeds will take all the water and nutrients and the carrots will fail to thrive.  Carrots should be ready to eat 70-80 days from planting.  They should be 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter.  Any bigger and they will get tough.  Loosen the dirt around the carrots before pulling to make sure the root does not break off.

To store carrots, remove the tops and compost them.  Wash the carrots and store them in the bottom of the refrigerator.  They will store longer if you place them in a plastic bag to increase the humidity and store them in the coldest part of the refrigerator.

Gardenbookfrontcoverthumbnail For more help gardening, buy my book, Preparing A Vegetable Garden From The Ground Up
Available in print or ebook from or other retailers, this book walks you from choosing the site of your garden all the way through what to do after the harvest. Buy a copy for yourself or a friend today! 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Patricia September 22, 2010 at 9:43 am

You sound like you have a real challenge with the soil in your home town Stephanie! I grew organic carrots with a friend; in her vegetable patch last year. I was living in an apartment so didn’t have a garden. We shared a vegie patch and grew all types of organic vegies. Can’t compare the taste of home-grown with what you buy in the local shops.
Patricia Perth Australia


ColeStan from Gift Ideas September 23, 2010 at 5:39 am

Thanks for sharing us how to plant carrots. Now, I’m maintaining a vegetable garden in our backyard. I would like to try if it’s possible for me to plant carrots there. I hope so because it would help me minimize our food costing.
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