Carrots are one of the most nutritious vegetables that gardeners can grow in their gardens, but some people shy away from growing it because they think it’s too hard to get lots of healthy roots. Or maybe you know how to grow carrots successfully, but you really want to increase how much you get from each crop.
With these tips, you’ll not only be able to grow them well, but you’ll also get a bigger harvest than ever before.
Here are some of my best tips for increasing your carrot harvest.
- 1 10 Tips for Growing a Huge Carrot Crop
- 1.1 1. Know When to Plant Carrots
- 1.2 2. Work a lot on the soil
- 1.3 3. Don’t Plant Carrot Seeds Deeply
- 1.4 4. Use Carrot Peeled Seeds or Place Properly
- 1.5 5. Cover Your Carrot Rows
- 1.6 6. Water, water, and more water
- 1.7 7. Do regular weeding and then mulching
- 1.8 8. Make Sure You Add Compost
- 1.9 9. Start harvesting randomly in about 70 days
- 1.10 10. Don’t be afraid of frost during harvest
- 1.11 Was this article helpful?
- 1.12 We appreciate your helpful feedback!
10 Tips for Growing a Huge Carrot Crop
It took me a few years to figure out how to grow my carrot crop. Our family uses a lot of them, and now we enjoy eating canned and frozen carrots at home in winters. Over time, I learned what the difference is between a ho-hum harvest and a bountiful harvest.
Once you have implemented the steps below, you are likely to have a huge crop of carrots year after year. These tips have made a huge difference in my garden, and I’m sure they’ll help you too. Soon, you’ll have way more carrots than you can use up!
1. Know When to Plant Carrots
Carrots germinate and grow best in cool climates. These crops are considered cool season crops, but if you plant them later in the year, they overlap with the heat of summer.
The best time to plant carrots is three to four weeks before the last frost date in the spring in your area. Since they are frost-hardy, you don’t have to worry about freezing temperatures reducing growth. The seeds germinate best when the temperature is around 55°F.
If you want to grow carrots as a fall crop, they are best planted 60-70 days before the first frost date in your area. This means they have to germinate in warmer temperatures, but if you use the next tips, the germination rate should still be high.
2. Work a lot on the soil
Before planting carrot seeds, soil work is essential if you want a large crop of carrots. What do I mean by clay work? Let me explain
Carrots grow best when the soil is loose and non-compacted; 12 inches deep is ideal for growth. Make sure all large clumps of dirt are separated and remove any rocks or sticks that may be hindering the growth of your carrots.
Since carrots are root crops, they require loamy soil to grow without restriction in the bottom. Frozen soil or objects in their path will cause deformed or stunted vegetables. Nobody wants that!
While some people plow their soil, this is controversial because plowing destroys valuable ecosystems. Another way to work the soil is to use a wide fork and work your soil over several seasons. It takes planning, but it’s better for your earth.
3. Don’t Plant Carrot Seeds Deeply
Growing carrots is a little different than most other vegetables because you don’t want to plant them deep in the ground. Carrot seeds are small, and they need to be planted at most 1/4 inch in the ground.
The best way to sow carrot seeds is to make a shallow trench with your fingers, just making an indent to show you where the seeds should be placed in a row. Then, cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. This reduces the risk of seed spoilage and accidentally planting them too deeply, preventing proper germination and development.
4. Use Carrot Peeled Seeds or Place Properly
Let me tell you a secret—I hate thinning seedlings—but if you want to grow your carrot crop, you’ll need to thin them out to give the roots room to grow.
This year, I found a new trick that makes life a lot easier – peeled seeds.
The peeled seeds are essentially coated seeds and they make the distinction very easy. If you’ve ever tried to place specific carrot seeds, you know that it seems impossible to tell the exact distance apart. Carrots should be planted at a distance of two to four inches.
If you can’t get those seeds in the proper location, you’ll need to thin the plants to about three inches apart.
5. Cover Your Carrot Rows
Trust me on this one – it sounds like a lot of work, but you should cover the rows after planting the carrot seeds. Carrot flies are a serious pest for these crops, and covering plants is a valuable preventative measure.
If you want to increase your carrot crop then release the carrot flies!
6. Water, water, and more water
One of the most important tips for a large carrot crop is to water more carrots than you need. Watering is especially important when germinating carrot seeds, which can take up to three weeks. These seeds are slow to germinate and require a ton of water.
Without enough water, carrots will refuse to germinate and adult plants will not grow. I water my carrots daily, sometimes twice a day. I’ve found that the more I water them, the better they’ll be. This is only true if you have proper soil drainage. Make sure you don’t have any standing water or wet ground that can cause rot.
7. Do regular weeding and then mulching
Regular weeding around your carrot plants is another valuable tip for ideal carrot growth. Weeds compete for nutrients in the ground, and your delicate carrot plants can’t handle the competition.
Take regular time to weed around your plants. Keeping weeds away helps your plants start off on the right foot.
After the plants are three to four inches tall, it’s a good time to add mulch around your plants. Mulching helps for several reasons. Not only does mulch help suppress weeds competing for nutrients, but mulch also helps retain essential moisture in the soil.
8. Make Sure You Add Compost
Everyone knows that plants like tomatoes need to be fertilized, but it’s easy to forget that carrots need to be fertilized too.
When your carrot greens are about three to four inches long, it’s time to feed them. I fertilize after thinning because I don’t want the plants I’m pulling to take up any valuable nutrients.
Choose a fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in potassium and phosphorus. A 0-10-10 or 5-15-15 fertilizer is ideal. If you give your plants too much nitrogen, they will continue to produce tons of greens regardless of root growth, which is not what you want.
The second time you should fertilize is when the tops of the carrots are six to eight inches tall, especially if they begin to turn yellow in color.
9. Start harvesting randomly in about 70 days
I find that most carrots require longer than their seed packets say they need to reach maturity, but your garden may be different. The best way to determine if your carrots are ready to harvest is to randomly harvest carrots every few days starting with the date your seed packet says they should be ready.
When you see that the carrots are the size you want, pull them out. Waiting too long can cause carrots to have a fibrous texture that is unappealing.
10. Don’t be afraid of frost during harvest
If you grow carrots in your fall garden, fear not if frost is on your forecast. Like many other crops, carrots have a sweet taste when exposed to a few touches of frost. Most gardeners like to leave these vegetables in the ground for a few frosts before harvesting.
You will be surprised by the difference in taste! So instead of rushing to pull your carrots, let them ripen a little longer to increase your harvest.
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