To grow the best Carrots you must start with loosening up the soil deep enough to allow the Carrots to grow easily. The other key ingredient to growing great-tasting Carrots is providing the correct nutrients to the soil.
I will discuss how to prepare your Carrot bed for planting and some of my favorite varieties, you may have some of your own that you like better and there are so many to choose from so do not limit your plantings to one variety.
Carrots contain beta carotene, fiber, vitamin k1, potassium, and antioxidants. They are a great low-calorie vegetable that can help in weight loss as a crunchy snack and lower cholesterol and improve eyesight.
Some of the newer varieties that are purple on the outside and orange on the inside have been determined to be much healthier for you.
Preparing the planting bed
Start by tilling or turning over the bed several times as soon in the spring as you can to a depth of 10-12 inches to loosen the soil for the carrots to grow more easily. The bed should have good drainage you do not want your soil holding too much moisture.
Be sure to remove all debris such as rocks and sticks that could hinder the growth of the carrots.
The soil should have a PH between 5.9-6.5, and be fertile with organic matter. They like alkaline soil and one of the best ways to do this is by adding lime to the soil. As with all vegetables plantings you should mix in my recipe for COF to the soil to add the correct nutrient.
It is best to plant seeds and not seedlings. The seeds should be 1/4-1/2 inch deep and spaced 2-3 inches apart to allow the carrots plenty of space. If your plants are too close you can thin them once they have gotten a little larger to make it easier to thin them. Rows should be 6-10 inches apart.
It is important to keep the carrot bed weeded to allow your carrots to grow freely without competition from weeds.
Most varieties of carrots can be harvested in 55-70 days, best to hold the top of the carrot and leaves in the palm of your hand and pull straight up so that you do not break the carrot off.
Napoli- One of the earliest carrots with a harvesting time of 55 days. The carrot is 6-7 inches long cylindrical and smooth broad shoulders that have a mild flavor and are very crunchy with deep orange coloring.
Northern Lights or Rainbow- These carrots are multi-colored, purple, yellow, and orange which adds great color to any of your dishes and is a surprise to children when harvesting. These carrots are more slender and typically 5-6 inches long.
The flavor is mild and crunchy and is a great addition to salads for their awesome color.
They need a longer growing season typically 70-75 days.
Purple Dragon- This carrot typically takes 75 days to mature but it is worth the wait. The outside of this carrot is deep purple and the inside is deep orange. This carrot is known for its high anthocyanins. The carrot has a more spicy flavor that is great in stir-fries and other dishes.
Little Fingers Heirloom- This is a smaller carrot that is packed full of sweetness and deep orange color. The other good factor is that they can be planted much closer together and will still grow to their full size. This carrot has a shorter duration of 55 days to reach maturity.
If you want to use seed tape for your carrot seeds it will help you to space the seeds and not waste seeds and have to thin them. Another suggestion is to make your own seed tape with toilet paper, Elmer’s glue, and your own carrot seeds.
Get out and plant rows of carrots this spring to enjoy your harvest in early summer.