Grow tasty, colourful, and organic carrots right in your home with our fuss-free guide on how to grow carrots.
Carrots might be one of the rare veggies that most of us can eat every day without complaints.
Babies slurping happily on carrot puree, youngsters grabbing it as an on-the-go snack, busy mom sautéing them for a quick side dish, health nuts replacing potato fries, or grandma making a delicious dessert - carrots are a staple for most of us.
Their burst of vibrant colour (usually orange, but also red, purple, yellow, and even black!) and crunchy texture can make any dish come alive. They also adapt well to a range of cuisines, flavours, and cooking styles.
Not to mention nutrients like vitamins (A, K, C), potassium, calcium, fibre, and beta carotene which make the carrots super healthy.
Carrots are also a favourite of home gardeners because they are pretty easy to grow and homegrown ones taste a lot better.
Have you ever fantasised about how to grow carrots that are colourful and tasty, right in your backyard or on your balcony?
We are here to help you make that dream into reality. Read on.
Here are all the details about how to grow carrots which will help you have a bumper crop right in your home.
The quality of soil can either make or break your crop because if carrot roots can not grow unobstructed, you will have a bunch of stunted and misshapen carrots on your hands.
The important factor to keep in mind while prepping the soil is that it should be loose, loamy, and airy so that carrot roots can easily push into it and grow. If your soil is heavy, add sand, and compost. Make sure that there are no rocks or chunks in the planting soil.
Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers. They might cause forking of the carrots and develop side roots. Mix in coffee grounds or peat moss instead. If you grow carrots in containers, use potting soil mix and avoid using the garden soil.
Carrot seeds are very tiny and easy to oversow, which can cause crowding in the soil bed and you will have to deal with thin seedlings later on. To avoid crowding, mix the seeds with sand and sprinkle them onto the soil. Alternatively, you can use seed pellets which you can sow one by one.
Your carrots need at least an inch or little more space around them to grow. So, place the seeds 3 inches apart and cover them with soil, press lightly with the back of your hand to make sure that seeds have good contact with the soil to help during germination, which takes around eight to ten days.
Transplanting carrots is a bad strategy as it can make them grow twisted and forked. So, plant your carrots right where they can complete the harvesting cycle without being disturbed. In containers, use big pots of at least 1-foot depth.
Another neat trick is to sow numerous carrot seeds in a shallow pan and harvest them to get micro carrots, which are tasty and nutritious.
Carrot seeds should be stored consistently and evenly moist until they sprout. Sprinkle the planting bed or container with water once or twice a day and do not let it become dry to touch. Once the seedlings sprout, keep the soil bed moistened with a fine spray.
As carrots and other root vegetables grow, they follow the moisture into the soil. So, once the roots begin to grow, water evenly and deeply, that is, Keep the soil moist until just below the tip of the deepest root.
If the foliage overground is wilting or the soil dries out to the depth of 2 to 3 inches, it is time to ramp up watering. Also, it is important to keep your carrot bed weed-free as they can compete for the moisture and nutrients in the soil with the carrots.
Water the carrots early in the day so that the plants can get enough moisture but avoid waterlogging as the soil has plenty of time to dry during the day.
The carrots grow underground, but the foliage or the plant above the ground does need plenty of sunlight. Sufficient sun exposure helps carrots to grow quickly and also helps in the development of their sweet taste.
Carrots can grow well even in partial shade but they need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight every day.
The roots shall be covered with soil and not exposed to sunlight as it can cause the exposed carrot tops to turn green and bitter. Mulching can help avoid this and also retain moisture in the plants.
Thinning is the process of removing some baby carrot plants so that there is enough space for the carrots to grow to their full size. You have to pick the small and scrawny plants or the ones growing on top of each other for thinning.
When the seedlings are four inches tall, hold the plant with your thumb and forefinger at the soil level and firmly pull away to dislodge the roots. Add more soil to cover the roots of the remaining plants.
Do the second thinning similarly after a month. The carrots removed during the second thinning can be used for cooking.
You can harvest carrots within 2 to 3 months of sowing. Another indicator is when their roots or carrot tops peeking from the soil are 1.3 cm in diameter.
For harvesting, loosen the soil around the roots by gentle digging, taking care not to damage the carrots. Then grip the carrot firmly and pull it out. Do not just pull on the foliage because it will break and the carrot will remain buried in the soil.
After pulling them out, wash them thoroughly with water and store them in an airy container.
Carrots are no doubt tasty, but seeing their orange tops peeking beneath the plants and pulling them out is a different level of fun.
As you can see from our how-to-grow carrots guide here, they are also pretty easy to plant and maintain.
Do you love eating carrots? If so, we are sure you will love growing them too! Try our tips and share your experience with us in the comments.