Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Secrets of Growing Carrots Unveiled!
Have you ever grown your own carrots?
Homegrown carrots are one of the sweetest most delicious things on the planet!! It's hard to buy them at the store after one taste. The problem is they are a little tricky to get to germinate and grow in some places... Want to know some simple secrets to grow enough for a whole year? and how to store them through the winter? Never buy the tasteless carrots from the grocery store again!
Carrots need cool weather (anything between 32-75 degrees is perfect), fertile well-drained soil and plenty of sun. I like to plant my carrots twice a year in zone 5- in the early spring and mid-summer for a fall harvest. You can plant a third crop in late fall also and harvest in early spring. If you live in a climate that is moderate i.e. (my Californians!) you may be able to plant all year long every four weeks or so!
Carrots are always planted by seed- plant no more than 1/4 inches deep and thin after germination to 3 inches apart. Irrigate consistent and even for best results.
Prepare the soil before planting with plenty of organic material and some complete organic fertilizer. For more on Organic Fertilizers which I highly recommend for anything you will eat check this link:
Make sure the soil is loose and deep- last year my carrots were short and fat because they hit the hard pan and couldn't grow any deeper.
Here are a few things I learned that greatly enhanced my carrot yield!
Carrot Secret #1-- Cover Seeds with a heavy mulch (leaves, straw etc.)to help with germination. This keeps the moisture even and you will get better results with germination and growth! No more tears over non-germinating carrots! You can actually keep the mulch on to cool the soil in hot temperatures. For fall grown carrots mulch also helps if you want to store your carrots in the ground over the winter- just dig when needed.
Carrot Secret #2-- Raised beds are the way to go with carrots- dig your beds to add 4-6 inches of soil to ground level and see your carrots grow easily deeper and more beautiful! Remember loose, deep, organic-material rich soil!
There are many new varieties of carrots out there so experiment a little; you can even find a purple variety that is so pretty and SO good for you! Check with your local extension and find tested and true varieties that will do well in your area.
Here is a link for suggested varieties in Zone 5
Want to know more about Carrots? Here is a link to my reference: the Utah State University Extension publication on carrots..
Enjoy the process- growing/eating carrots can be a lot of fun! And good for you too! Love that Vitamin A!!