For healthy snacks and satisfying meals, there’s nothing quite like the taste and crunch of fresh carrots. Not only are carrots delicious, but they’re also filled with fiber, beta carotene, potassium, and antioxidants to keep you healthy. But if you have only gotten your carrots from the grocery store or a farmers’ market, you might be interested in growing your own at home using organic practices.
To enjoy fresh, homegrown carrots whenever you want them, here are some tips for growing organic carrots in a backyard garden.
Prepare the Grow Site
Choose where you want to plant your carrots and remove any old plant roots and rocks from the area. Your planting site should get lots of sunlight because carrots do best with lots of sun. Organic compost should be added to the soil. Although you may be anxious for your carrots to start growing, now is the time to be patient because they can take 70 to 80 days to reach maturity. Your carrot seeds will sprout best if the soil temperature is around 60 to 70 degrees.
When and How to Plant Carrots
The best time to plant carrots is a couple weeks before the last frost in the spring. Alternatively, you can plant your seeds about 10 weeks before the first frost in the fall. Seeds should be covered in a quarter inch of soil and kept continuously moist until sprouting occurs.
Plant your seeds in rows that are about a foot apart in the ground or in raised beds. This is a good time to apply a natural fertilizer, such as Seagate’s Fish Fertilizer Concentrate or Seaweed & Fish SoilTabs.
Caring for Growing Carrots
It’s important to always keep carrot plants watered so that they don’t dry out and get split roots. You’ll need to give carrot seeds about an inch of water per week to keep them continually moist. Weeds often pop up in carrot beds, so make sure to pull weeds as soon as you see them. Mulch will help protect the carrot roots during the growing process too.
Various diseases and pests can affect carrots, including leaf blight, aster yellow disease, carrot rust flies, and parsley worms. However, the biggest and most obvious pests that you might have to fight off are rabbits, gophers, deer, and other large mammals looking for a snack. Floating row covers can be placed over carrots to protect crops from insects. Other treatments to try are sprinkling crumbled egg shells or coffee grounds to repel pests, placing cardboard paper towel rolls around them to keep worms out, and building a fence around the garden for larger pests.
Harvesting Grown Carrots
Now comes the fun part…removing mature carrots from the ground and getting to eat them!
After approximately 50 to 80 days, you can pull finger-size organic carrots from the ground for harvesting. It’s easiest to water the carrot area before harvesting to loosen up the soil. Allow about an inch of leaves and stem remain on the carrots to extend their shelf life. You can place them in the refrigerator in a container of water or store them in the freezer to enjoy carrots later in the year.
There are varieties of carrot seeds that work best in different climates, so ask your local garden store for advice about which ones to try in your home garden. Alternatively, if you don’t have much of a green thumb, you can enjoy all the benefits of organic carrots with our 100% pure Carrot Powder or Carrot and Garlic Capsules.
Have you grown organic carrots at home? Share your experience with us in the comment section below.