they are easy to grow and a wonderful source of Vitamin A, carrots
make an excellent crop for the home garden. The new varieties are
easy to grow and make a great addition to children's gardens as
The carrot is a hardy, cool season crop that can be planted in the
garden as soon as the soil can be prepared in the spring. Carrots
require relatively large amounts of moisture and are not tolerant
of drought. Prolonged hot weather in the later stages of development
may retard growth and result in an undesirable strong flavor and
coarseness in the roots. Prolonged cooler temperatures, however
(below 55 degrees F), tend to make the roots longer, more slender
and paler in color than expected. The best temperature for highest
quality roots is between 60 and 70 degrees F.
plants thrive in deep, loose, well-drained soil. Avoid stony, cloddy
or trash-laden soils which will increase the incidence of root defects.
Raised beds, which usually have loose soil and receive little compaction
from foot traffic, are ideal for growing carrots. Carrots grown
on heavy soils may produce considerable leaf growth and forked roots.
Carrot plants do not grow well in strongly acidic soils--a pH range
of 6.0 to 6.8 should be maintained for best results.
and lime are best applied to soils for carrot production using soil
test results as a guide. Carrots require large amounts of plant
nutrient elements--particularly potassium--for good production.
A fertilizer with the ratio of 1-2-2 such as a 5-10-10 analysis
would be appropriate at the time of seeding and again when tops
are three to four inches tall and six to eight inches tall. Too
much manure and fertilizer applied just before seeding can result
in forked roots.
Seed carrots into a well-prepared soil early in the spring. Suggested
planting depth is 1/4 inch deep in rows spaced at least 12 to 18
inches apart, depending on the method of cultivation used. It is
important to avoid crusting of the soil around the seed-bed--covering
the seed with vermiculite or fine compost and keeping the soil evenly
moist until the seedlings have emerged will help prevent this problem.
the seedlings have emerged, thin to one inch apart. When the tops
of the carrots grow thicker, thin to about two to three inches apart.
Some seed companies are now offering pelletized seed, making the
seeds easier to plant and thin.
After plants are established, mulches will help conserve
moisture and suppress weed growth.
Cultivation, if necessary, should be shallow in order to
avoid root injury.
Carrots require an evenly-distributed and plentiful soil
moisture supply throughout the growing season. Avoid too much moisture
towards the end of the season, as this will cause roots to crack.
Watch for the appearance of orange crowns at the soil
level as the plants mature. If this occurs, mulch with soil or compost
in order to avoid the greening of these tops in the sun.
Potential pest and disease problems include leafhoppers, wireworms,
carrot rust worm larvae, aster yellow, leaf spot and soft rot.
Harvest can begin when carrots are finger size. In general, the
smaller carrots are juicier and more tender. The entire crop does
not have to be harvested at one time. Carrots can remain in the
soil until you are ready to use them. Carrots will last until winter
in the soil if mulched well. Store at temperatures near freezing
in a moist environment.
carrot varieties according to preference and soil type. Shorter
types such as Red-Cored Chantenay and Short and Sweet are better
suited for heavy soils. Other varieties include Nantes Half-long,
Danvers Half-long, Pioneer and Spartan Bonus. Gourmet varieties
such as Little Finger are also excellent in container gardens.
Adapted from Pamela J. Bennett, Ohio State University Extension,