Who can resist carrots, they are so versatile and good for you. They can be eaten raw as snacks, shredded in salads, steamed, roasted, glazed, and even turned into a cake!
Carrots like loose, soil and for the longer varieties a deep growing bed is vital. Though a root crop and considered a cool weather crop by many, they can be grown all through the Summer and do well with mulch to keep them cooler in the heat.
There are so many different types of carrots now that it is possible to grow an entire bed or section of your garden just dedicated to these crunchy, healthy roots.
Our favorite carrots are the Nantes varieties, and they do very well in our raised beds. Since soil in raised beds is usually well groomed and very loose carrots love this growing environment. All root crops type veggies need phosphorus as this is the element in fertilizer that develops strong healthy roots. I add bone meal and lime to the bed that will hold our carrots as well as plenty of aged manure. I am a big advocate of planning ahead, so I always decide where something will be planted the season before. This is also important for crop rotation. So as I decide which bed will hold the carrots I work in the Winter or early Spring to prepare their growing spot by adding the manure and bone meal and lime as all three take a couple of months to start effecting the composition and nutritional value of the soil. As a boost once the carrot seeds have germinated I give them a light watering of seaweed/fish emulsion mixed in a gallon of water.
Carrot seeds are known to be tiny and very fine so it is easy to plant them too deep. For the first two seasons I tried to grow carrots I planted them too deep no matter how hard I tried not to. So I finally decided to try something to avoid this mistake. I sowed them as thinly as I could on top of a well raked, smooth soil bed. Then I sprinkle a light layer of peat moss over the row of seeds and very gently water them with a hand sprinkler set at the mist setting.
Once the seeds have germinated let them fill in and get sturdy before beginning to thin the row. Thinning is an absolute must since the seeds are so small it is difficult to space them properly when sowing. Thin the carrots to about 1-2 inches between and let them do their thing.
An easy veggie to grow once the sowing challenge is mastered, carrots are a joy to grow. A favorite of children to grow, they can be a great first veggie when gardening with kids.
I grow lots of extra carrots on Itzy Bitzy Farm because they can so well and my husband and I love them all year. I also grow some of the baby varieties to freeze and add to soups and stews all Winter long!