Spring Garden Tips

Carrot

Carrots410px.jpg

Botanical Name

Daucus carota var. sativus

Hardiness

Annual

Fruit

Variety of sizes, colors and shapes

Light

Full sun

Soil

Moist, loose, well-drained; free from clumps and clods - raised beds are an ideal location

Planting and Care

Cultivate the soil, removing clods and clumps where you plan to grow carrots. This allows the roots to penetrate the soil and develop uniformly.

Carrots germinate in temperatures between 50 F and 85 F in evenly moist soil.

Direct sow in early spring 2 to 3 weeks before last frost at a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep, 1/2 inch apart, in rows spaced 12 to 24 inches apart.

For more even spacing, use pelleted seeds or seed tape. Or mix these fine seeds with sand or fine vermiculite when sowing.

Thin to 1 to 4 inches apart by snipping seedlings when they are about 1.5 inches tall.

Sow seeds for a fall harvest about 10 to 12 weeks before the first frost.

Mulch or mound soil around the crowns of plants to prevent green and bitter shoulders.

Problems

Leafhoppers, wireworms, carrot rust worm, aster yellows, leaf spot, soft rot, carrot weevil, slugs

Varieties to Consider

Purple Haze - 10-12 inches, purple with orange core, All-America Selections winner 2006

Little Finger - 3-5 inches long, golden orange, very sweet

Gold Pak - 8 inches, good for juicing

Orlando Gold - rich in carotene

Harvesting

Dig or pull carrots when they reach full size or at least 1/2 inch in diameter.

Northern gardeners can leave carrots in the ground for winter storage. Mulch the plantings with straw or evergreen branches after the soil is a little crunchy with frost. This insulated the soil, protecting the vegetables and making it easier to harvest in winter. Harvest them throughout the winter for a little fun and fresh-from-the-garden flavor.

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