Carrots (Daucus carota) are cool-weather root vegetables that are believed to be derived from the wild carrot known as Queen Anne's lace (D. carota var. carota). Carrots are both easy and fun to grow. They can be eaten raw, steamed, added to soups, grated or made into breads or cakes. They are rich sources of beta-carotene. Plant carrot seeds in fertile, well-draining soil and make sure they are provided regular, deep watering while they are growing.
Cultivate the soil in the planting area to a depth of 10 to 12 inches. You can use a garden fork or a shovel. At the same time, remove any clods, roots, sticks, rocks or weeds from the planting area. For carrots to grow properly the soil must be loose and have good texture.
Smooth out the area and make sure it's level by using a metal rake over the planting area. Create rows that are spaced 12 to 18 inches apart from each other. You can create the rows by using the long end of a yardstick or any similar object which can create straight, shallow (about 1/2 to 1/4 inch deep) rows.
Water the rows by letting a slow, steady stream of water pour down each of the rows. The soil should be damp to the touch, but not soggy. Let the water drain away completely before you proceed.
Pick up a pinch full of carrot seeds using your index finger and thumb. Lightly plant the carrot seeds down each row. Plant the carrot seeds so they are spaced at two to three every 1/2 inch. Pat down the carrot seeds in each of the rows using your hands, a small rock, or a piece of wood.
Cover the carrot seeds with a 1/4 inch layer of either vermiculite or fine compost. Sprinkle water over the rows using a very fine mist of water so as not to displace any of the carrot seeds. To mark the rows so you will know exactly where to water, push in 10- or 12-inch high planting stakes at the start and end of each planted row.
Water the rows as needed so the carrot seeds are never allowed to dry out. Carrot seeds will begin germinating in approximately 10 to 20 days at a temperature range between 68 and 75 degrees F.
Thin out the carrots to 1 inch apart from each other as soon as the seedlings sprout. Thin the carrot seedlings to between 2 and 3 inches apart when they have grown to about 1 1/2 to 2 inches tall. To thin out the carrot seedlings, either snip them off at soil level using a pair of scissors, or simply pull them out of the soil carefully.
Things You Will Need
- Carrot seeds
- Shovel or garden fork
- Vermiculite or fine compost
- Planting stakes
- According to the University of Rhode Island, the ideal temperature for growing carrots is between 60 and 70 degrees F.
- You can plant carrot seeds outside in the spring as soon as the soil is soft enough to turn over.
- Fertilize the carrots when they are about 3 to 4 inches tall. Use a granular 5-10-10 fertilizer (or similar) and broadcast it down each row as suggested by the manufacturer.