The carrot is a cool weather crop that is easy to grow and has a delicious flavor all its own.
With a little care, carrots can be grown for up to nine months out of the year in many areas. The carrot is the second most consumed root crop behind the potato. Carrots come in many varieties.
There are round carrot types, tapering carrots, and stubby carrots. Carrots can be white, orange, dark red or yellow. some can be grown by digging a one-inch trough and planting the seeds three inches apart.
Others can be grown in pots. Check with your local agricultural extension or garden shop to determine which varieties are best for your purposes.
Carrots grow best in sandy soils or soils that have a good mixture of compost such as dried manure. Water sparingly as carrots can deteriorate if over watered. Overwatering often causes the root to split. Carrots have tiny seeds. Till the soil well before planting. Plant the seeds in rows or a bed and cover with a half inch layer of soil. Plant at three-week intervals starting in May and continuing through the end of July.
This way you will be able to harvest your carrots over an extended period. When they are two inches tall, thin your plants to allow five inches between each. Carrots need space to develop strong, healthy roots.
You can harvest carrots in 60 to 80 days. Be sure to add a layer of mulch 1″-2″ deep after you have thinned your crop.
Mulch helps retain moisture and, at the same time, allows the soil to dry quicker. keeping the roots from splitting.
Harvest when the carrot roots are the desired size. Some like baby carrots; others like them large and full bodied. Nothing beats the cool crisp crunch of a carrot straight from the garden on a warm summer afternoon.
Carrots can be eaten raw, added to salads, soups or stews. The sweet taste adds a lot of delicious flavor to most cooked dishes. Cook carrots lightly — adding during the last thirty minutes of cooking. Overcooking can result in loss of sweetness and nutrients.
Carrot juice has recently become a popular drink. It is both refreshing and nutritious. The carrot is high in vitamins C, D, E and A. Carrots contain potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
The beta-carotene in carrots helps the eyes function better. Carrots are easy to grow and contain many nutrients that promote healthy human development.
Grow several varieties so you can have a colorful assortment for your soups or use them as a garnish. Carrots require little care and are a fun first crop for young people to grow and learn to appreciate the miracle of gardening.