Eps 2: Your Key To Success: Carrot


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Vickie Pearson

Vickie Pearson

Podcast Content
We are going to look at the varieties we recommend growing, best times to plant carrots, tips on preparing the soil, planting seeds, how to thin them, when and how to harvest, and storage tips. Heres everything you need to know about growing carrots in your own backyard, including planting, harvesting, mulching, watering, and more.
When learning to plant carrots from seeds, the first step is choosing what variety you would like to plant. With their long roots, crisp texture, and edible greens, there is no reason you would not want to know how to grow carrots from seed in your own garden. Knowing how to plant carrot seeds will ensure success in sprouting, and will provide you with an impressive harvest when it is time to harvest.
If you are looking to harvest carrots during the summer, the best time to plant carrot seeds outdoors is in the early spring, or three to five weeks before the last freeze. Harvest carrots when they have reached usable size, then sow additional seeds every 2 weeks. Sow in succession, or plant another carrot row every 2-3 weeks to continue reaping.
Sow a full-sized fall carrot succession around eight weeks before the first freeze. To harvest in the fall, start your October-grown carrots in the ground during the middle or late summer, or ten weeks before the first freeze. Start planting carrots again at the end of the summer to harvest them in the fall starting approximately 10 weeks before the first frost date of the fall. Later in the summer, you can return to picking some carrots for baby carrots and snacks, pulling out each carrot along your rows.
Keep your rows soil evenly moist until carrots are tall and growing well. Keep the soil evenly moist until the seeds pop up and your carrots are established. When I planted my carrots, I spread out the seeds onto the surface, then gently scraped the soil up with my fingers. Once your carrot seeds are planted, come back and use the same technique of gently spreading a very thin layer of the pots soil on top of the seeds.
You can sow your carrot seeds either in neat rows, or by lightly spreading seeds across a larger area of the soil. Carrot seeds are extremely tiny, so you should plant them close to the soil surface, which is the place that is more likely to be dry. Plant carrot seeds in a harsh soil and they will have trouble germinating and survive. The key to growing an excellent carrot harvest is making sure you plant them in a sandy, loose soil.
The key to growing heirloom carrots starts with planting them in the right soil. If you choose to grow carrots square-foot-wide, prepare the soil just as if planting them row-by-row. The best you can do if you have a soil that is just completely uncompatible with growing carrots, because it is rock-like, is to plant your carrots in a raised bed or a larger container.
Once the carrot seeds are established, add a layer of mulch on top of the soil, keeping it several inches from the tops of the seedlings, to avoid drowning the plants. Be sure to keep it thin enough so that tender carrot seedlings can poke their heads out through the soil.
Since radishes have shallow, rather weak root systems, it is easy to pull them out of the soil, leaving carrot seedlings unharmed. As radishes sprout, they will break through the tough crust that forms at the surface of the soil, allowing the delicate carrot tops to peek out. Radish seeds sprout rapidly, marking rows, and their rapidly growing canopy shades and protects soil until the carrots are ready to sprout.
Overall, carrots are relatively easy to grow, and once you get those soil conditions right, planted them in sun, and kept water on those emerging sprouts, you should be reaping a plentiful harvest of carrots. Growing carrots from seeds is the key to success as fragile root systems will not fare so well after being replanted.
Instead, the keys to germination of carrots are about the depth of your seeds and the constant humidity. The biggest problem with starting carrot seeds is keeping your soil moist throughout the lengthy sprouting period . Carrot seeds are best planted straight into the ground outdoors, which may take anywhere from 3-4 months from planting to harvest.
In colder climates, such as ours, the most reliable way to preserve carrot seeds for seed saving is by picking them, keeping them through the winter, then planting again, in spring. In milder climates, you may simply want to leave some carrots directly in the soil, so that they will last through the winter to save seed stock. If you want to raise seeds yourself, you will have to let some of your carrots stay in until next year, allowing them to produce seeds to be saved.
Growing carrots indoors in containers with plenty of light is a good way to keep a constant supply of baby carrots throughout the year. You can plant your carrots in deep containers and keep them indoors under growing lights, and then transfer the containers outdoors when the weather has warmed up.
A good carrot crop takes about two to four months to mature, depending on the variety, and you can plant carrots throughout spring and summer to get an ongoing harvest into fall. Admittedly, these can be a bit difficult to start, but I am going to share some of my secrets to ensure that you, too, are growing excellent carrots each year.
Once we plant our carrots, we lay the row covers down and immediately water them. For fall carrot crops, transplant a few carrots mid-summer, using the space vacated by lettuce, peas, or another early-season crop.