Carrots are a source of beta carotene.
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Carrots are a good source of beta carotene, an antioxidant that helps fight many cancers, including lung cancer. You can plant carrots from the spring until mid-summer and harvest them from summer until early winter. They are grown for their roots, which are eaten both raw and cooked.
Wait until the roots are a minimum of three-quarters of an inch in diameter to harvest carrots. You can harvest finger carrots, a variety of baby carrots, when their roots are a half-inch in diameter. Maturing to these widths takes approximately 50 to 75 days depending on variety. Baby carrots are ready for harvest in about 50 or 60 days, while Danvers carrots are ready for harvest in 75 days.
Pull the carrots out of the ground carefully with your hand. Grab the carrot as close to the ground as possible. If the carrots are not strong enough to be pulled out without breaking, use a trowel to dig them out.
Keep pulling carrots through the harvest season, generally three to four weeks. You can harvest carrots that you planted late in the season, until well after the first frost if you prepare the ground. Place some hay or straw mulch over the ground to keep the ground from freezing, and the carrots will be fine until the ground freezes solid.