Carrots are a cool-season crop, hardy against frost and light freezes. They tend to develop normally under any condition except for extreme heat. If you wait until after the first frost, your carrots will taste sweeter.
Carrots tend to grow quick, starting with a large green sprig and shooting a small orange root down that grows tremendously in the last part of the growing season. Keep the rows clear of weeds with either heavy mulching or light cultivating and keep the seedlings moist steady, and waterless as the plant starts to mature. If they receive too much moisture near the end of their growing cycle, they will suffer from root crack. If you want to keep the should from greening, try hilling earth against the shoulder and stalk as it becomes visible.
When to Plant
Carrots are very hardy and can be seeded as soon as the ground thaws. For a continual crop through the summer, you can start planting rows at 2-week intervals until the end of May. For a later fall crop, you can seed during the middle to end of July.
How to Plant
Carrots tend to germinate slowly compared to other garden plants. Lettuce grows well with carrots and will germinate sooner to show your rows. Pulling the lettuce also offers a way of thinning the row, growing large and more nutrient-rich carrots. DO NOT transplant carrots as they do not do well, but start them outside as soon as the soil hits around the 7 C range for best results. Remember to seed rows every two weeks until the end of May to enjoy fresh vegetables through the fall.
Sow your seeds evenly in a shallow furrow approximately 1/4" deep and keep them moist until they germinate. Rows should be spaced about 12" apart and thin the plants to 1" as they start to grow. When true leaves emerge, proceed to thin the plants to about 3" apart.
If you delay the second culling of true leaves by a couple of weeks, you can use the removed roots as baby carrots.
How to Harvest
Mature carrots will be ready for harvest in just over two months. Although, some people find the carrots more sweet and succulent if harvested sooner than this. You will know your carrots have matured when a tiny orange crow starts showing above the top of your soil line. The crow diameter is a good indication of the length of the carrot. If the crown is the correct size, the chances are good that the length is as you would expect. In the end, the only way to be sure is to remove a few to see with your own eyes. Be sure to pull what you need or intend to use soon as carrots will remain fresh in the ground for an extended time. You can harvest the late summer crop in the winter if properly mulched. A light frost also sweetens the flavour of the carrot. The DARKEST and GREENEST tops tend to indicate the best carrots.
Carrots keep best in the refrigerator if covered in water.
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