- Foliage: Finely disected, fern-like compound leaves. The leaves are edible, but they contain furocoumarins and may cause allergic skin reactions.
- Flower: Carrot flowers have 5 petals and sepals and are born in compound umbels.
- Roots: Most are about 1-inch in diameter and anywhere from 1-inch to 12 or more inches long.
Days to Harvest / Harvesting and Storing:
Harvesting Carrots: Use the days to harvest guide on your seed packet as a guide to knowing when to harvest. Test that the tops of your carrot plants have filled out to the expected diameter by feeling just below the soil line. The only true test is to lift one and taste.
Harvest by twisting and pulling or digging. Remove the leaves, once harvested. The leaves will continue to take energy and moisture from the roots, leaving them limp and lessening the sweetness of your carrots.
Growing Carrots in Containers:
- 'Danver's Half Long' - Early, sweet and easy growing.
- 'Imperator' - Long variety that keeps its sweetness and crunch in storage.
- 'Little Finger' - Sweet 3-inch "baby" carrot.
- 'Paris Market' - Plump, round and bite-sized.
How to Grow Carrots - Growing Tips:
Carrots do not grow well in highly acidic soil. A soil pH in the range of 6.0--6.8 is recommended. And because they are grow for their roots, don't go overboard with nitrogen fertilizer.
When to Plant Carrots:Carrots grow best in cool weather. You can begin planting carrots as soon as the soil ca be worked in the spring, even 2--3 weeks before your last frost. You can succession plant carrots every couple of weeks, throughout the spring.
In warmer climates, you may have better luck growing carrots in the fall, through the winter.
Planting Carrots: Since carrots are grown for their roots, they are direct seeded in the carrot rather than transplanted. Carrot seeds can take up to 15 days to germinate. Keep the soil moist until seedlings appear.
To prevent the soil from crusting over and making it difficult for the seeds to sprout, you can plant the carrot seeds with radish seeds, which will sprout first and loosen the soil.
Carrot seeds are tiny, making it difficult to plant them evenly. Plant them only about 1/4 inch deep. Spacing the seed about an inch apart is ideal, but impractical. Chances are good you will wind up doing some thinning. Thin any plants that are within a 1/2 inch of each other, when the seedlings reach 1--2 inches tall. Snipping or pinching the seedlings off at the soil line is the best way to avoid hurting the remaining roots.
If you need to thin again later, you can use the tiny carrots in salads. When you've finished thinning, your carrots should be far enough apart so they won't rub shoulders when mature.
Keep your carrots well watered. Mulching will help conserve water and keep the soil cool.
Pests & ProblemsCarrots can be bothered by the carrot rust fly. The best remedy is to avoid the problem by not planting carrots in the same spot, 2 years in a row or by growing carrots under row covers. The larva or maggot of the carrot rust fly will tunnel into and eat the roots.
Carrot yellows is a virus transmitted by leafhoppers. There is no remedy once your carrots get carrot yellows.
Later plantings of carrots may also be bothered by flea beetles.
By far the biggest problem of growing carrots is keeping them away from 4-footed creatures. A good fence or a big dog are recommended.