Carrot (Daucus carota)

When to Plant

Sow outdoors in early spring as soon as soil can be worked. Successive sowings can be planted up until mid-June for full sized crops – later plantings can also be done but carrots will be smaller.

Location/Soil

Plant in full sun. Work soil well prior to planting as a softer soil allows roots to develop uniformly. Keep area free of weeds.

Planting & Growing Information

Sow seeds 6 mm (1/4″) deep and 13 mm (1/2″) apart. Rows should be spaced 30 cm (12″) apart. Carrot seeds are small and planting a specific distance apart can be difficult. The use of a small seed seeder can help or just lightly scatter the seed by hand. Generally it is better to seed heavier as the germinating seedlings can help push each other through the ground. Seedlings should be thinned to approximately 5 cm (2″) apart for optimal root formation.

Seeds germinate in approximately 10-14 days.

Days to Maturity

From date directly sown in garden.

Other Information

To reduce the work in sowing and thinning the carrot row, consider using Seed Tape which is a biodegradable product where seeds are already pre-spaced. Planting using seed tape is easier, accurate and no thinning required!

After planting, keep your carrot patch nice and moist to ensure better germination and to help young carrot plants emerge as sprouts will not push through dry crusted soil. Covering rows with finely sifted compost or potting soil is a great solution as they do not crust over like garden soil which can be very helpful in germinating the seed.

Excellent to be eaten raw, cooked or juiced, these easy to grow vegetables are an excellent source of beta carotene and Vitamin A.

Carrots can be thinned once they reach approximately 2.5-5 cm (1-2”) in height making sure to leave about 2.5-5 cm (1-2”) between plants. Water the carrots before thinning to make it easier to remove them. They can then be thinned again in another 3-4 weeks to leave approximately 4-8 cm between plants. Thinned out carrots at this “baby” stage can be enjoyed by lightly cooking and serving with butter, salt & pepper.

Carrots can sometimes push out of the ground when growing so keep a watch on them and hill up soil over exposed roots to prevent green tops.

The biggest reason for poor germination is lack of moisture. Moisture levels must be consistent from the time of planting and is essential for good root formation, texture and flavor. Be sure to continue watering during dry periods.

Poor germination can also occur when soil temperatures become too hot. Soil temperatures 27°C (80°F) and greater can stop seeds from germinating.

Harvesting & Storage

Carrots can be dug up after the first hard frost. They can be harvested at any size throughout the season but the flavor is best once they have turned bright orange.

Cut the green tops off approximately 1 cm (1/2”) above the crowns and store carrots in a cool, dark location or refrigerate to keep fresh.

It is a good idea to inspect stored carrots regularly to monitor any decay.

Companion Planting

Likes: Bush beans, pole beans, lettuce, onion, pea, radish, tomato