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The humble carrot is packed full of surprises and myths have surrounded it for years.

Eating carrots helps people to see in the dark?

False – although they contain a rich source of beta carotene (vitamin A), which helps to maintain eye vision, they don’t improve vision or help people to see in the dark.

Carrots do however contain essential vitamins K1 and B6 and minerals especially biotin and potassium.

Carrots began life as orange?

False – the first carrots started off purple as well as white, yellow, black and red. The orange carrot began life in the 17th century when the Dutch who were well known as carrot farmers developed a carrot high in beta carotene.

Carrots eaten hot or cold are one of the most versatile vegetables.

Carrots along with parsnip and celeriac are root vegetables that belong to the Apiaceae family.

Depending on the variety, carrots will take from 60-80 days from seed to harvest.

Follow our seven easy steps to successful carrot harvest including tips along the way.

How to grow vegetables - carrots
How to grow vegetables - spinach

When to plant and location.

When to plant.

  • Carrots can be grown in many parts of Australia in spring, summer and autumn, however, they don’t like extreme heat or cold or the summer rainfall of the tropics and subtropics.
  • As companion plants, try alongside leeks, lettuce, onions, peas and beans.

Location.

  • Carrots prefer a warm spot in the garden, so pick a spot to suit.

Soil.

Get the soil right to harvest a bumper crop of carrots.

Follow our steps for easy soil preparation.

  • Carrots must have free draining light soil.
  • Dig the soil down 30cm so that it’s free of rocks, stones or clumping soil, so you’ll have straight carrots.
  • Do not add any manure or compost to the soil as it can cause excess foliage, fine root hair and distorted growth. Carrots prefer an area that has had a previous grown a crop such as cabbages.
  • The pH of the soil should ideally be between 6.0 and 6.5.
How to grow vegetables - carrots
How to grow vegetables - carrots

Step 1 – Sowing seeds.

  • Sow seeds directly into the ground not seed trays as they don’t like to be transplanted.
  • Carrot seeds are very small so mix them with sand or use seed tape to make sowing easier.
  • Sow seeds in rows 15cm apart and 0.5 deep, cover lightly with soil.
  • Carrots are also great in pots. Use a container that is deep and wide enough to grow them. Make sure you space the seeds out so the carrots aren’t competing for space.
  • Water in well with Seasol to help increase seed germination rates.

Note: This is not carrot seeds, it’s just an illustration to show seeds being planted.

Step 2 – First growth.

  • Seeds will take 7-21 days to germinate depending on the temperature. Watch as the tiny leaves come through the soil.
  • Thin the tiny seedlings to 5cm apart when they are about 5cm high to reduce overcrowding and the risk of crooked roots.
  • Use scissors or tweezers when thinning to remove plants so you don’t damage remaining plants.
  • Water your tiny plants regularly every day and apply Seasol weekly, as this will help to stimulate strong root development and healthy growth.

Step 3 – Baby carrot seedlings.

  • Thin the carrots out again 2-3 weeks later to around 10-15cms so they are not competing for nutrients and space.
  • Keep your young seedlings moist by checking the soil daily and water where needed.
  • Apply Seasol weekly to stimulate strong root growth.
  • Apply a liquid fertiliser that is low in nitrogen (less leaf growth) and higher in phosphorus and potassium (root development) such as PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Roses & Flowers.

Note: Like carrots, roses & flowers like less nitrogen & more potassium.

Step 4 – Carrot seedlings ready for transplant.

  • Transplant seedlings from the seedling punnet you have purchased.
  • Plant them at the depth they were in the punnet, being very careful not to damage the roots. As little handling as possible is the best choice of action.
  • Water your newly transplanted seedlings in with Seasol to get them over transplant shock.

Step 5 – Carrot plant growth.

  • Watch your carrots grow over the following weeks. You can’t see the root development, but you can see the healthy green growth above.
  • Don’t overfeed as they can bolt and go to seed growing heaps of foliage with no root development.
  • Check moisture levels daily and water where needed.
  • Apply Seasol (30mL of concentrate per 9 litres of water- standard watering can) weekly to promote strong root development.

Step 6 – Carrot root growth.

  • Cover carrot crowns with a layer of mulch such as sugar cane mulch or pea straw as they poke through the soil. This also stops the carrots from becoming green and bitter.
  • Carrot feeder roots are easily damaged so carefully pull out weeds as they come through the soil.
  • Check moisture levels daily and water where needed.
  • Apply liquid PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Roses & Flowers a month later.

Step 7  – Carrot harvest.

  • Keep a close eye on your carrots and harvest when ready. Smaller, shorter carrots are juicer and have more flavour than older or larger carrots.
  • Sometimes you can tell by the size of the crown the possible length of the carrot, other times you need to pull one or two out to see if they are ready.
  • Once harvested, wash thoroughly to remove dirt and store in the fridge for use at a later date.

Things to watch out for…

  • Bolting Carrots like spinach and coriander can bolt and go to seed before they produce the roots or the carrot. This can usually happen if the temperature is too cold or hot.
  • Carrot flies These flies like to lay their eggs in young seedlings. Their larvae eat the roots. Deter by using compost and planting companion plants like leeks and onions.
  • Aphids If aphids are a problem, spray with the appropriate pest oil such as EarthCare Natural Pyrethrum insect spray to deter these pests.
  • Root rot This occurs if the ground is too wet and not free draining. Add some sand when preparing the soil or build up raised garden beds.
How to grow vegetables - carrots
How to grow vegetables - carrots

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