Bright orange carrots fresh from the garden are a delicious, nutritious treat, loaded with Vitamin A and other nutrients. A versatile vegetable, carrots are sweet and crunchy eaten fresh along with other raw vegetables, but are also wonderful when added to stews, soups, salads, casseroles and even breads and desserts. Carrots are a cinch to grow by seed and should be planted as soon as the soil can be worked in early spring.
Choose a sunny, well-drained spot in your garden. Remove stones, weeds and clods from the planting area. Till the soil to a depth of 8 to 9 inches. Work the soil until it's smooth, as cloddy, rough soil can cause twisted, deformed carrots.
Create shallow trenches with the corner of a hoe. Allow 12 to 18 inches between each trench. Scatter carrots seeds evenly in the trench, then cover the seeds with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil. To mark the rows, plant a few radish seeds among the carrots, as radishes will germinate quickly. Water the area carefully, using a hose with a spray attachment to avoid washing the garden seeds from the soil.
Thin the carrots when the seedlings are about 1 inch tall. Leave three carrots per inch if you want to harvest the carrots when they are tiny fingerlings. Allow one or two seedlings per inch if you plan to harvest small carrots. For full-size carrots, allow 1 to 2 inches between each seedling.
Hoe the soil regularly to prevent weeds from becoming established, as weeds will compete with the carrots for nutrients and moisture in the soil. Hand pull weeds that are next to the carrots to avoid accidentally hoeing the carrot.
Keep the soil evenly moist at all times. Never allow the soil to dry out or become soggy, as a lack of moisture can cause woody, small carrots with poor flavor, and too much water can cause the carrots to crack.