I am such a huge fan of growing organic carrots, actually I garden everything organically. With spring heading our way over here in Utah it is time to start thinking what your going to plant this year in your garden and what varieties to plant.....ohh the choices! Carrots are so fun and easy to grow. If you take the time to prepare a bed with rich, loose soil, you'll be rewarded with a bumper crop of yummy carrots.
Growing Guide for carrots
Soil preparation: Carrots do best in raised beds filled with well-draining, fertile topsoil that contains plenty of organic matter. Remove rocks and debris from past crops to clear the path for maturing carrots and prevent misshapen roots. If you have clay soil, double-dig your carrot bed to loosen and aerate the
soil, and plant Nantes, Chantenay, or ball type carrots, because their shorter roots grow well even in heavier soils.
Spacing: Sow seeds as early as the ground can be worked, directly into rows that are twelve to eighteen inches apart. Make successive plantings until mid to late summer. When the plants are 2 to 3 inches tall, thin them to 4 to 6 inches apart. Seeds can take up to 14 days to germinate, be sure to keep them moist during this period.
Fertilizing: If your soil has lots of organic matter in it, your carrots won't need anything extra. However, sandy soils leach nutrients and dry out easily, so you should fertilize carrot seedlings monthly with fish emulsion fertilizer and retain soil moisture by surrounding the seedlings with an organic mulch.
Watering: Carrots need consistent soil moisture from the time you plant until harvest. Seedlings stressed by low moisture grow slowly and produce lower yields. Dry soil causes carrots to develop uneven surfaces, yet too much moisture encourages small, hairy-looking roots to form. If your carrot bed happens to dry out, re moisten the soil over a period of days, because sudden saturation causes carrots to split. Use an organic mulch around your carrots to retain moisture.
Special hints: Carrots do very well planted in an area where legumes (beans, peas) were before, because of the extra nitrogen that these plants leave behind. Carrots increase carbohydrate (sugar) storage and develop the best root color, shape, and length if grown when days are warm (59 °F to 70 °F) and nights are cool (45 °F). When storing carrots, don't expose them to ethylene gas, which is given off by fruit such as apples and pears. Ethylene triggers a bitter taste in carrots.Pest Watch: White maggots or tunnels filled with brown, crumbly material are the work of carrot rust flies. The carrot fly can be a nuisance insect but planting the herb Sage nearby is said to help repel insects.
Disease Alert: Dark, yellow-bordered spots on leaves signal fungal leaf blight. Stunted, light yellow leaves and woody roots with tufts of white side roots are signs of aster yellows.
Harvest Hints: Harvest carrots as soon as they're big enough to eat. Hand-pull carrots to avoid damaging their roots. Extend their storage life by cutting off all but 1 inch of the leaves and stem. Store carrots in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator, or layer them in a box with damp sand and store them in a cool room or root cellar....if you have one of those.
Did you know? Carrots originated in what is now Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan and by about 1000 A.D., they were being grown from India to the Eastern Mediterranean. By the 1300s, purple and yellow carrots had spread as far as western Europe and China. White and orange carrots first appeared in Europe during the 1700s. Orange carrots quickly displaced all other colors and dominate the world to this day.
One of my all time favorite seed company's in Victory seed they are all open pollinated and heirloom garden seeds. Find their complete seed collection HERE
Below are some fun seeds from Renee's Garden. Renee always does unique varieties and super funky mixes find her seeds HERE When you get Renee's mixes they are perfect for a nice sized garden and then you get a ton of variety not all one kind!
Carrot, Tricolor "Circus Circus" NEW for 2011
Exclusive - Our trio of cool carrot colors includes creamy white, bright orange and a deep, dark purple with orange centers. All 3 well bred Dutch varieties are sweet tasting, crisp and smooth. $2.99
French Nantes hybrid finger-carrots bred for early color, even cylindrical shape, high yields and delicious taste. Great baby carrots. $2.99
Carrot, French, "Bolero"
Carrot, Gourmet, "Round Romeo"
|Well-bred new hybrid Nantes carrots. Slender, 6 to 7 inches, perfectly cylindrical shape with consistent sweet flavor and beautiful deep orange color.$2.79|
Exclusive - Petite ball-shaped carrots with smooth skins that need no peeling, sweet flavor and crunchy texture. Romeo is widely adapted and doesn't need deeply prepared soil. $2.79
Carrot, "King Midas"
Carrot, "Sunshine Orange and Yellow"
Exclusive - These vigorous roots grow steadily into smooth, nearly coreless 8 to 9 in. beauties with rich carrot flavor. they have the deep orange flesh that indicates an especially high level of health enhancing beta-carotene. $2.79
|Exclusive - We've mixed two colorful varieties (Yellowstone & Nantes Forto) to sow in late summer or spring to yield bountiful, healthful crops of sweet, crunchy, deep orange and sunny yellow carrots. $2.99|