Carrots are a crunchy and delicious garden staple in many home gardens. With their early harvest making them a favorite, you may be wondering how to properly care for your carrots to increase your vegetable yield. Every gardener knows that fertilizer is an important part of plant health, so what type of fertilizer should we use in our carrot garden? Can you grow carrots in manure?
No, you should not grow carrots in manure. Too much nitrogen in the fertilizer can cause problems with your carrots. Your carrots can fork, split, or grow hairy if exposed to too much nitrogen, usually found in manure.
Read on to learn more about planting, growing, and caring for carrots in your home garden.
How Do I Grow Carrots In My Garden
Growing carrots in your home garden may have a reputation of being difficult, but carrots are actually simple to grow once you know how! As with all vegetables, knowing when and how to plant seeds is important. Every plant has different preferences, and carrots are no different. Read on to learn all about growing carrots from seeds!
When Should I Plant Carrots
You can plant carrots in your garden about 2-3 weeks before the final frost. Carrots are an early spring crop and can handle a little bit of colder weather. You will want to be sure that your soil is not compact, or your carrots will not have proper room to grow.
You also want to check that your soil is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit and that it has dried out from the winter. If you wait too long to plant your carrots, they will grow but won’t be as delicious as early-season carrots. The summer heat is not ideal for growing carrot plants and will result in a subpar carrot.
How Do I Plant Carrots
Now that you are ready to plant your carrot seeds, you need to know how! Soil is critical when growing carrots as they need airy and loose soil. Experts recommend tilling your garden space twice to ensure there are no clumps of dirt, rocks, or roots that would inhibit your carrot’s growth.
Once your ground is ready, you can add an appropriate compost and about 5-6 inches of sandy topsoil. Carrots love sandy soil! Experienced gardeners know that it is best to sow your carrot seeds right into the ground of your garden instead of growing them in pots and then transplanting them.
Carrots generally do not like to be disturbed once they are planted. Place your carrot seeds about 1/4 inch deep and place them in a row with about 3 inches between the carrots. If you are growing more than one row or planting other crops in your garden, be sure they are about a foot from one another to avoid fighting for nutrients and resources.
How Do I Grow Carrots
After your carrot seeds are planted, it is crucial to keep them moist with frequent but shallow waterings. To check if your carrot seeds have enough water, use your finger to measure soil wetness. You should be able to stick your finger into the dirt and feel moist soil until your middle knuckle.
Carrots cannot grow properly in compact soil. You will also want to keep your top layer of soil from crusting. Add a mixture of sandy material or compost to prevent a layer of crust from forming. Carrots need full sun and prefer 6-9 hours of sunlight daily.
Tomato plants also love full sun and make a great companion plant for carrots. Grow a few tomato plants about 12 inches away from your carrots, but be sure the weather is warm enough for tomatoes as they do not handle frost well. With appropriate water and sunlight, your carrots will begin emerging about 14-21 days after planting. Carrots take a long time to germinate, so do not panic if you do not see them right away.
How Do I Care For Planted Carrots
Once they emerge, water your carrots biweekly depending on the weather, Hotter weather requires more water, and cooler, rainy weather gives you a break from watering. You will need to snip back extra carrot tops as they emerge so your carrots do not have to compete for resources or become clumped together. Snip these extra stems with scissors instead of pulling on them.
You may damage the roots of the other carrot plants if you pull. About six weeks after sowing, you can begin fertilizing your carrot plants. You will want to use a low nitrogen fertilizer. Fertilizers high in nitrogen nourish the top part of plants and their foliage. With carrots, you enjoy the root part of the vegetable, so you will want to aim your attention there.
Phosphate and potassium are great nutrients for helping nourish roots. An old gardener’s trick is to place a banana peel in a mason jar and cover it with water. Screw on the lid tightly and let your banana peel water mixture sit for a week.
After a week, remove the banana peel and use the water on your carrot plants! This mixture is high in potassium and a natural way to fertilize your carrot plants. You can continue to plant carrot seeds using this method every four weeks until midsummer to enjoy a delicious carrot season.
Can I Grow Carrots In Pots
Carrots make an excellent addition to your potted garden. They are easy to grow and take care of in small spaces. All you need to grow carrots in pots is a pot that is at least a foot deep and as wide as possible with a minimum diameter of 12 inches.
Add a potting mix that is not compact. A good option for growing carrots is to mix one part sand and one part potting mix. Fill your pot almost full, leaving about 1 inch of space. Place your carrot seeds on top and sprinkle with some more of your potting mixture.
Carrot seeds do not need to be sown deeply. Water your potted carrots daily, keeping an eye on the moisture level. You never want your plants to feel drenched, only moist. Place your potted carrot plants in a sunny location and watch them grow! You can harvest your carrots once the greens are finger length.
Now that you know everything about planting your carrot seeds, caring for your seedlings, and nurturing your carrot plants until harvest, you are ready to get those seeds in the ground! Carrots love sunny spots and sandy soil, so ensure that the area you pick is optimal for carrot plant growth.
If you cannot find a great place outdoors, you can always grow your carrots in a pot indoors; this is an excellent option for in-home gardens. Fertilizer is essential regardless of where you are growing your carrot plants. You will want to opt for a low nitrogen, high potassium, and high phosphate fertilizer. You can get these at your local garden center.
Hi there, my name is Allie and welcome to my blog; GareningWithAllie!
Much of what you see written here is just our personal experiences with gardening. Along with the content I write here, there is also a unique collection of gardening topics covered by some of our close friends. I hope you find everything you read here to be helpful, informative, and something that can make your gardening journey the most lovely experience ever! With that said, Happy Gardening!