How To: Grow Carrots From Seed
Carrots are a staple part of the diet and they can be grown in a variety of places around the world. They are a must for anyone growing food at home.
Vegetables and fruits that contain lots of carotenoids are very good for your health. People who often eat carrots and other foods rich in carotenoids have fewer chances of suffering from a stroke, brain stroke and some types of cancer, especially lung c. Even smokers who regularly eat carrots and other healthy fruit and veg, rarely suffer from lung cancer.
Carrots also help to bring your cholesterol levels down and help to prevent food poisoning, especially with listeria. Even small portions of raw carrots will work when killing listeria.
Details for Growing Carrots
February, March, and April
June, July, August, early September
Temperature to Plant
45 F (7.2 degrees Celsius) +
Half an inch (1 – 1.3 cm deep)
Rows 8-10 inches (20- 25 cm) – Seeds 1-2 inches apart
Preferably full sun, minimum of 4-6 hours
North to south
A mix of compost, well-drained and rich soil, and sand
5.8 – 6.5 pH
Beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants
Seven Steps to Growing Carrots
There is a wide variety of carrot varieties available on the market, from shorter, longer, red or even round. When you buy the seeds, most of the time, the requirements for a specific type will be listed on the packaging, even though they are very similar.
When you have chosen the variety that you would like to grow, you have to choose a proper spot to grow them.
Full sun exposure is the best, and partial shade is an option but is not recommended. If you do choose a spot with partial shade, make sure they have a minimum of 4-6 hours of sunlight per day.
The perfect pH of soil for carrots, is slightly acidic, from 5.8 to 6.5. They might grow all up to 7.5 of pH if all the other conditions are favorable.
Soil pH Testing
You need to make sure that you accurately test your soil to give your plants the best chance. This Apera kit has ±0.1 pH accuracy, see the star ratings over at Amazon.
After you have chosen a spot with slightly acidic pH and a fair amount of sunlight, it’s time to prepare it.
The best way to germinate your seeds so that they have a great start is with a germination kit. Seeds that are grown this way produce greater results. Check the specs of the MXIC over at Amazon.
The soil will have to be loose and “fluffy”, without any rocks (small or big), clumps of clay, or other obstacles. If your soil is full of clay, you can make it softer by adding compost and sand. If the soil is clumpy, hard and full of rocks, the carrots will be smaller, thinner and “deformed”.
If you can’t find the proper soil in your garden to grow carrots, you can plant them in raised beds, where you can prepare the soil quality, and adjust all the necessary factors.
Even if your soil looks fine and loose, it’s advisable to fertilize it with some manure or compost. This will ensure that your carrots grow big and strong.
Carrots prefer a cooler climate. You can start sowing them 3-4 weeks before the last frost in spring.
End of February, beginning of March, to ensure enough time for them to reach full maturity. The seeds will survive the cold, and germinate when conditions are ready. After planting the seeds for the first time, you can add more seeds for an additional three weeks (once a week).
You can evenly spread the seeds in the planting area or plant them in rows. If you are planting them in rows, they need to be 8-10 inches (20-25 cm) apart. The seeds can be hand “sprinkled” and covered with soil, ensuring that they are at least 1-1.3 cm (half an inch) deep.
Your seedlings will sprout in 12-21 days, (depending on the soil temperature). If the soil is under 45 F (7.2 degrees Celsius), it will take longer. Through the growing season, the temperature of soil should always be from 45 F- 85 F (7-29 degrees), as carrot seeds won’t germinate if it’s too hot (above 90-95 F).
Gently water the small seedlings regularly, to prevent any damage that can be caused if the water flow is too strong. The soil has to be moist all the time and never dry out. Don’t use a hose, instead use a watering can.
When the seedlings reach at least 2 inches (5 cm), you can surround them by mulch, shredded leaves, or bark to help to retain moisture. Remove any weeds, but do it gently, not to damage the fragile carrot seedlings.
Bacteria and Pests
To avoid bacterial and fungal infections, make sure the soil is moist but well-drained, and the carrots get enough sun. Planting garlic, onion, parsley, rosemary and sage near your carrots, will repel certain pests.
Thinning Your Carrots
When the carrot tops are from 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) high, you will have to “thin” them for better growth. You have to remove small and weak plants and leave more space for stronger ones. This will give the remaining plants more space to grow, and form healthier roots.
Two to three weeks later, you should repeat the thinning process. The plants should be 3-4 inches apart (7-10 cm). This might be an unpleasant task, as you might think you are “killing” small plants, but actually, it will ensure that your carrots grow healthy, strong and big.
Water the area before harvesting, to avoid damaging the ones that you won’t pluck. You can pluck them when they are big enough to eat, but waiting some extra time will pay off, as they might get tastier and sweeter.
You will be able to harvest your carrots, 70 – 90 days after planting the seeds.
You can store your carrots in different ways:
- First, you will have to wash and dry them with a cloth
- Option 1: keeping them in your fridge from 2-4 weeks.
- Option 2: Cut it in larger pieces, place in water until boiling, strain and cool off, freeze in plastic containers or bags.
- Option 3: You can store your carrots for months. How? Pick a medium-sized bucket, placing a layer of moist sand/carrots and build up layers like this to the top. Sand always has to be moist (but not too moist). If the sand gets dry, the carrots will also dry out, if the sand is soaked, the carrots will rot. This process is a little harder to achieve, but it can be done.
One of the issues people have is that their crops produce all at once. The best way to overcome this is with a dehydrator so you can store your food for years and the flavor is amazing. The best one on the market is the Excalibur with a 10 year guarantee, see it at Amazon.