Growing Carrots

Growing Carrots

Growing carrots is garden venture where you can be successful. Learning how to grow carrots is easy to do in cool northern climates. Carrots add color, nutrition, and variety to your diet. Carrots are cold hardy and can be planted early in the spring in climates that are subject to frost.

Planting Carrots
Thinning Carrots
Growing Carrots
Gathering Carrot Seeds
Harvesting Carrots
Storing Carrots

Planting Carrots

  • Early in the spring (beginning of April in zone 5) before you have frost-free days and the ground is dry on top, prepare your soil. See Soil Preparation.

    Note: don’t rototill when the ground in too wet, or the mud will ball up and destroy the texture of the soil.

    Apply manure and other organic matter in a row with 16-16-16 fertilizer and organic elemental sulfur. This is tilled into the soil about 6-8 inches deep. Rake the soil back into a row about 12-14 inches wide. Flatten and smooth the row before planting your seeds.

  • Growing Carrots Seedlings

  • To plant your seeds use a saltshaker that has large holes in it. Fill the shaker jar with carrot seeds. Shake the seeds evenly over the ground in a band about 14 inches wide. This will give you a seeds about 1-2 inches apart. See Vegetable Planting Guide.
  • Rake the seeds gently into the ground. Remember you should not plant seeds deeper than 4-5 times its diameter. Carrot seeds are really small and are planted very close to the surface.

  • Sprinkle 3-4 inches of wood shavings, manure, or other porous organic matter over the planted seeds. This will keep the seeds from drying out until they germinate and send their roots deeper into the soil.
  • Water the carrot seeds with a hand held sprinkler every day for 2-3 weeks. Do this until the little seeds start to grow. Carrots take about 14 days to germinate and start growing. Don’t let the little seeds dry out. After the carrot plants are up and growing, put down a drip hose to water them for the rest of the summer. See Gardening watering systems.

My favorite variety of carrots is the Danvers Half Long. These are shorter than the others and grow straighter in clay soils. These are a non-hybrid variety that breeds true year after year. So you can harvest the seeds from one year to another.

Don’t try growing carrots in tropical climates like Guam. You’ll get beautiful tops but no carrot root. I’ve lived there and tried growing them. It doesn’t work.

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Thinning Carrots

When the roots of the carrot plant are about 2-3 inches long, you’ll need to thin them. This is important so that you have one good plant every 2 inches. If the carrots are too close, they grow together and get tangled around each other. Thinned carrots will grow straight and big.

Thinning Carrots


What do you do with all those little carrots?

In Utah Valley, you should be thinning your carrots about 10-15th of June. Peas are coming on at the same time. Blanch your carrots and peas separately. Then mix these two vegetables together and freeze them. This mixture makes a wonderful vegetable delight when the snow is flying.

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Growing Carrots in Garden

Growing Carrots

Once the carrots are up and growing, it takes little effort to keep them growing strong. The only two things you’ll need to do are to remove a few little weeds that may grow around the plant and keep them moist with your watering system.

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Gathering Carrot Seeds

There may be a few plants that will go to seed. If carrots go to seed their first year, they will not produce good seed.

To grow your own carrot seeds, you need to plant a mature carrot from last year's crop. Save it in the root cellar over the winter. This mature carrot will go to seed.

You’ll notice in the picture that just one plant produces abundant seeds.

Note: The root of the carrots that go to seed are small and woody. Most of their energy goes to producing seeds.

Collecting and Separating Carrot Seeds

Let the plant mature and harvest the seed floret at the end of the growing season.

After the seed head is thoroughly dry, remove the seeds from the head. Use a series of little screens to separate the chaff from the beautifully grown seeds.

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Harvesting Carrots

Harvesting Carrots

You can use your growing carrots all summer long. The easiest time to dig up a carrot is right after they’ve been watered.

At the end of the season when it starts to freeze at night, dig up the all the carrots.

Cut the tops off the carrots. You’re also cutting off any green that might be on the upper part of the orange root. If you leave any green on the carrot, it will tend to grow from that green portion later in the winter. This will cause the carrot not to store as well.

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Storing Carrots

Storing Carrots in Root Cellar

After harvesting and removing the tops, the carrots are placed in the root cellar for the winter. See Root Cellar.

Carrots stored in this manner keep beautifully until late spring when everything starts growing again. The newly planted carrots are already up and growing when the old carrots start to get soft. You’ll always have fresh carrots to eat.

Canning Carrots

Another way to store your carrots is to can them. It’s quick and easy to open a jar of carrots and use them in a soup or some other dish that calls for carrots.

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Return to:

Gardening Vegetables from Growing Carrots
Types of Soil
Garden Watering Systems
Garden Weeds
Root Cellar
Canning Carrots

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