Carrots are a great source of beta-carotene, a Vitamin A precursor. Vitamin A is essential to vision, immune function, reproduction, and cellular communication (1). Plant-based vitamin A is far better than animal-based sources because you can never overdose on it (2). Moreover, carrots are a great source of vitamins C, D, E, K, and minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium (3). Get the best quality nutrients and flavor from carrots by consuming it fresh. And you can’t get any closer to fresh than from garden to table. To get some tips on how to grow carrots, scroll down below.
Guide to Growing Carrots
As with many root crops (e.g. beets, turnips, radishes), carrots do not like to be transplanted. If you can, I recommend planting seeds in its permanent growing medium. Also, make sure to provide consistent moisture and fertile sandy loam soil.
I enjoy carrots for its naturally sweet flavor and crunchy bite. Carrots are tasty eaten raw, in a salad, or juiced. It also provides subtle sweetness to stirfry, stew, soup, and baked dishes.
There is nothing more satisfying in the garden than pulling on a carrot top and seeing a bright orange root pop out. Moreover, the best-tasting carrots I’ve ever had are the ones that I uprooted and consumed straightway. If you are starting a garden, carrots should be on your planting bucket list.
How to Grow Carrots from Seeds
Sow seeds once danger of frost has passed. Each seed should be placed 1/4 inch deep, 1/2 inch apart, and in rows 8 inches apart. Don’t give up if seeds don’t germinate straight away. Carrots take 10-20 days to come up. Just keep the soil moist to ensure germination. If rows become uneven, replant seeds where it’s patchy. When large enough to handle, thin seedlings, so there are 2 inches of space between each plant.
Water regularly and use mulch to help with moisture retention. If the soil is left to dry, the roots can crack and become bitter due to stress. Also, avoid soil with heavy clay content due to compaction and drainage issues. Moreover, carrots are easier to harvest in a loose and well-drained sandy loam soil. In clay, the tops may snap off while the root stay put in the ground.
Harvesting and Use
From seed to harvest, carrots typically takes 70 days. To gauge if carrots are ready to be pulled out, take a look at the base of the root. This portion often emerges out of the ground, but if not, pull a couple of carrots for a test. The root should have a fully orange appearance or purple, red, white, and yellow depending on the particular cultivar. Harvest as you need since carrots loose flavor very quickly after being pulled out of the ground.
My favorite way to eat carrots is raw and fresh from the ground. It can also be juiced, or cooked in a variety of ways. During cold weather, chop it up and add in stews or soup. It’s a great food to consume to fortify the immune system during the flu season.