Carrots are nutritious, easy to grow, and should be in everyone’s garden. I remember as a child, we were allowed to pull heirloom carrots as long as they were large enough and we didn’t waste them. Mom grew some mighty tasty organic carrots! Today, whenever we buy them in the store, I am always disappointed by their taste. Hybrids are bred for looks and production (profit), and taste is not high on the priority list. Grow your own heirlooms and you will again know the bliss of fresh carrots. It will surprise your children as well and they will realize real food is delicious!
Carrots do best in light, sandy loam. Aged manure is ok, but fresh manure will cause them to fork and have odd shapes. If you soil is heavy, you should double dig the bed before planting. Plant 3-4 weeks before the last frost. You can sow them every 4-6 weeks to have carrots all summer long. In the fall they will last well in the ground in usable condition. Prepare your soil by removing any hard clods or rocks. Seed is very small and should only be covered with 1/8″ of fine soil. Carrots take between 1-3 weeks to emerge. They need to be kept moist during that time so water carefully so as not to blast the seed or seedling out of the ground.
Prompt weeding and thinning are necessary to grow good carrots. They should be 3-5″ apart.. Thin them when they are about 2″ tall. Keep them faily weed-free. Pull weeds when they are small to avoid uprooting the carrots. A fine mulch is very helpful in keeping the soil moist and the weeds down.
Begin your harvest when the roots are large enough to be worthwhile. Carrots harvested too young do not have as much flavor as a more mature carrot. They can get woody when left too long and too large. If your soil is heavy and the roots won’t easily pull out, you may need to use a potato fork to harvest. If you intend to store carrots, do not wash them or they will not last as long.
Heirloom carrots keep best in the ground. Where winters get very cold, cover them with 6-12″ of mulch to prevent freezing. They are excellent in a survival garden. Carrots have alot of Vit. A and potassium.