Carrots are cool season vegetables that prefer sunny locations and fertile, deep, well-drained soil. For more information on carrots,
VARIETIES: Carrots come in a variety of root types and colors. Suitable varieties include Danvers, Chantenay, Scarlett Nantes and Imperator.
Before planting, incorporate up to 2 to 4 inches of well-composted organic matter and apply 2 to 4 cups of all-purpose fertilizer per 100 square feet. Work this into the top 6 to 8 inches of soil. For more information on soil preparation, click here.
- Seeds should be planted at least ¼ inch deep and thinned when plants have three to four true leaves.
- Crusting soils will limit seedling emergence and affect plant stands.
- Maintain a uniform and moist soil surface to ensure good plant stands.
- Seeded carrots should be spaced 2 to 3 inches between plants in the row with rows 12 to 18 inches apart.
- Dense planting will reduce seed pressure.
Irrigation: While watering requirements depend on soil type, it is best to maintain a regular watering schedule. Avoid over-watering as hairy roots will form and forking will occur. Mulching around the plants helps to conserve soil moisture. Water fluctuation can also cause root disorders, slow leaf development and contributes to bitterness. For more information on watering, click here.
Fertilization: Apply ¼ cup per 10 feet of row with a nitrogen-based fertilizer six weeks after emergence to encourage rapid plant growth and root enlargement. Place the fertilizer to the side of the plants and irrigate it into the soil. For more information on fertilizing, click here.
Harvest: Carrots can be harvested when the roots begin to size, generally 70 to 100 days from seeding. Use a digging fork to loosen soil and pull up needed plants by the tops and trim off the leaves. Plants can be left in the garden after light frosts. Many gardeners keep carrots through winter under heavy mulches and harvest them as needed.
COMMON PESTS AND DISEASES: Carrot flies are detrimental to carrot development. They can be controlled using soil applied chemicals at planting or with a fabric row-cover placed over the emerging seedlings. Leaf blights and root rot also impact carrot growth, but can be prevented with proper watering and a fabric row-cover. For more information on controlling pests and diseases, click here.