Oh golly. I have a love affair with carrots. They’re probably the vegetable that I’ve loved for the longest. Sweet and crunchy. Yum yum yum! I remember when I was 8 or 9 growing carrots and picking them from the garden when they were tiny, but I was so excited, I ate them straight after washing! And not much has changed. So naturally, I would grow them in my own garden. And here is how you do that!
PS I planted rainbow carrots (a mixture of colours), and some round carrots! AHH! So much excitement! Who knew there was more to carrots than just baby carrots and big long orange ones!
Carrots do best when grown between mid to late winter until late autumn!
So to begin, prepare your good quality soil (no rocks) that has some sunshine that can shine upon the carrots! Lose soil is essential if you want to grow long skinny carrots, but if you have rocky soil, growing the smaller rounder varieties should be right up your alley! Its easier to plant straight in the ground for these babies. I am growing carrots, not just IN my garden, but also, in my patio garden in some long planter boxes, as they work perfectly! And I like carrots. Lots of carrots.
In your soil, dig a trench a fingertip deep, in which to sprinkle a thin line of seeds, about a fingertip apart. Or you can sow a patch of carrots, by sprinkling seeds on top of a patch of soil, and then using some extra soil or compost to lightly cover the seeds. Once the seeds start to sprout they will at first look like grass, so don’t think they are weeds and then pull them out! But after a little bit they will start to grow the iconic carrot leaves! You can thin out the carrots around this time so that they can grow to their full potential. This means pulling out a few of the plants, so that the remaining plants can grow really well. However, don’t pull out too many, as carrots do well when a bit crowded!
As the carrots keep growing, you may find that you want to thin them out more. Leaving about 5cm or an inch between each carrot is ideal for growth!
Carrots like moist soil, so ensure that the soil is nice and damp, and not just on the surface, but actually goes a bit deeper, so that the roots (the carrot bit) can grow beautifully and uniformly.
Root vegetables need certain nutrients (not gunna get technical, but they need phosphorus from the soil). To meet this need, using bone meal (an organic fertilizer made from crushed up bones) or something similar, or an organic liquid seaweed plant food! I often put seaweed in my garden, and this does really well! But using a liquid seaweed means that it is absorbs a lot faster by the plants.
As the carrots grow, you may find the top of the carrot (the crown) starts to push out of the ground. When you see this, cover it up with soil, otherwise the carrot will go bitter, and discolour! And you do not want that! So cover up those cheeky crowns trying to pop out!
The great thing about carrots, is that you can pick them when they are babies, and they are still great! This is a bonus, because this counts as thinning out the garden, so you are doing something good for the garden, but also good for you cos you can enjoy those fresh bubby carrots! But carrots can also be left in the ground to mature fully. The carrots in the photo above and below took around 3 – 4 months to grow! Crazy eh! Thats why I have so many growing at once, because I like them!
Carrots store well in the ground (if you don’t need them yet, don’t pull them out), but they can also be frozen (I like to prepare mine to be roasted eventually), or just eaten fresh (cooked or raw).
So go and grow and enjoy your carrots! They really are simple to grow and very rewarding! Nom nom nom.