Top Veggie To Grow #3: Carrots!


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.  

Picked carrots 
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!


4/21/2013 1:32:50 PM

It appears that the issues with the GRIT landing page and comment section has been resolved. I'm looking forward to hearing about what has been happening on your gardening/homestead this last month. May GRIT blogs live and prosper.

1/29/2013 11:09:43 PM

Susan, carrots are another staple of the garden vegetables. So far your garden picks are right on top of my list as well. Well, maybe except for beets. No one in my family likes beets. I've heard that they are pretty tasty when pickled. I might have to give that a try. The best carrots I grew were decades ago when I read an article about fall planting. When the weather was cold and snows hadn't arrived yet but the ground temperature would not allow the seed to sprout, the article said to just sprinkle the seeds on the ground and in the spring they would sprout and grow at the right time. By golly it actually worked and we had the best carrots ever. Life got in the way and kids made demands so gardening was put on the back burner never to return for about 30 years. I really should try that experiment again and see if I can reproduce it. I have tried an experiment with tomatoes this last fall which is similar in nature. I took all the over ripe squishy tomatoes and threw them into the garden area that will be tomatoes next year. Then I chopped them up with a spade, sprinkled a little compost over them and covered the area with a light mulch of straw. My hope is to grow a crop of volunteer tomatoes that I can use for that part of the garden and maybe in my big garden as well. They are heirloom Rutgers tomatoes so if all goes well, I should have a great spring crop of volunteer tomatoes. Have a great carrot day.

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