Carrots can and should be part of a healthy diet and they can be used in many dishes; from salad to stew. This is a vegetable that is also quite easy to grow in a home garden and most varieties grow well in cool climates. If you know how to grow carrots, you will most likely be successful with a minimum of effort. Knowing how to grow them also isn’t very hard to learn.
This humble vegetable can be traced back to its origins in Afghanistan, though it has been grown in home gardens throughout Europe and the world starting about 600 years ago.
Like many root crops, carrots grow best in loose soil that doesn’t compact easily, but which drains easily. If your dirt is clay, it should be amended by tilling in a large quantity of finished compost and/or well-rotted manure. This gives the carrots plenty of food during growth while also improving the tilth of the ground.
Carrots are sun-loving plants. However, they struggle when temperatures get high. If you have summers that get extremely hot, it can be helpful to these plants if they are furnished with some shade late in the afternoon and evening, when temperatures tend to be at their highest and the sun is the most intense. This can often be accomplished by planting heat-loving plants that grow taller than carrots, on the west side of the row of carrots. The taller plants function as a sun break against the afternoon and evening sun while still allowing the carrots to take advantage of the morning sun.
Carrots don’t need to be watered frequently. However, they should be watered deeply. Allow the soild to dry out a little before watering them, then apply one to two inches of water, letting it soak down.
Carrot seeds can be directly sown after the last frost. Sprinkle a little dirt over the top of the seeds and press them down firmly. When the small carrot tops are about an inch tall, thin them to an inch apart. Rows should be at least 10 inches or more apart.
Harvesting and storing carrots
There isn’t much more to harvesting than pulling up the carrot when you want one. If the soil is as loose as it should be, this is easy to do. Late in the year, though, if there are a lot of carrots left, storage becomes an issue. Thankfully, it is easy to store them. To do this, dig a trench next to the row of carrots, then pull up the remaining carrots. Lay these on their sides inside the trench and then cover them with several inches of straw. Add an inch or so of soil and mark the trench so you’ll know where it’s at. Even in the middle of winter, you can dig through the snow, dirt and straw, pulling out crisp, fresh looking and tasting carrots as needed.
It is interesting to note that different cultivars grow different sized roots. Kinds like Danver Half Long, develop roots that are around six inches long. Some species can get far larger than this, though. Some specimens can become huge. According to the Guinness World Records, the largest carrot ever grown measured 19 feet 2 inches long. It also isn’t unheard of carrots weighing in excess of 10 pounds and the heaviest was double this size. Naturally, not many carrots will attain a size that even approaches this. However, you could end up growing a record breaker under the best circumstances.
Carrots aren’t hard to grow in the home garden. They can produce heavily and even the leaves can be used to flavor various meals, too. This is a vegetable that has earned a solid place in the home garden.
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Posted in food and plants and tagged carrots, growing, Guinness World Records, home garden, vegetable by rextrulove with 10 comments.