Growing carrots in the garden is easy enough to do when you know the right way to plant and tend them through the entire season. As a root vegetable, carrots grow in flavor and size the longer they are left in the ground, but there are a lot of other factors that can make all the difference between having a decent crop to harvest or hardly seeing seedlings sprout. If you have never grown carrots in the past but want to give them a try this year, follow these five easy steps to growing success.
Step One: Prepare Your Garden Bed
Root vegetables, especially carrots are very particular about the soil and garden bed that they are added into. Sifted, rich loamy soil is what carrot seeds need to be planted into and grown in for the entire growing season. You should be able to run your fingers through the thin soil, and when water is added to the bed, it should quickly run down into the ground without pooling in any areas.
Step Two: Decide on the Type of Carrots To Grow
There are so many different varieties of carrots to grow, most of them have been developed to make them tastier, more shapely, able to withstand certain growing conditions and many other factors. Find out what types of carrots grow best in your growing zone. Then choose from them based on the length of your growing season, the amount of space you are able to dedicate to the carrots, and then the taste, shape and color.
Step Three: Sow Your Seeds
Carrots should always be grown from seed, and once you start looking, you will notice that no one sells carrot starters. Root vegetable establish themselves with root hairs that branch out into the soil so to disrupt that is to stop the growing process altogether. Plant seeds in rows a quarter inch into the finely sifted soil and then cover up without compacting. Plant as many rows of carrots as you have space for and time to harvest.
Step Four: Water and Thin Seedlings
Carrot seeds are tiny, which is another reason it is important that the soil they are planted in is well tilled. As soon as you get the seeds in the ground they need to be watered. In the beginning, it is important to water only enough to wet the soil because you do not want the soil to become compact to the point where the seedlings are not able to push through. After two weeks, you should have a beautiful row of carrot seedlings, and you are going to need to be ruthless and thin them out. Your carrots can only grow if they have enough space in the soil to spread out without bumping into each other. Pull seedlings so that there are four inches between each one.
Step Five: Harvest Your Carrots
Carrots taste better the longer they are in the ground, but everyone is always impatient to harvest them. Stick as closely as possible to the growing season that is indicated for the type of carrots that you are growing. When you begin nearing the time for your carrots to be harvested, pull a carrot as a tester, to see where it is in growth and taste. If you want to see some more length or bulk to your carrots based on the test carrot, give them another week before pulling another one. As long as your soil has been well tended and tilled you should be able to pull your carrots out of the ground by their green tops, otherwise use a hand shovel to loosen up the soil around each carrot.