Organic Gardening

Mini Guide to Carrot Gardening Tips: How to Plant, Grow, Harvest, and Store

Carrots can sometimes be a difficult crop to grow if they aren’t given the proper conditions. They’re not fans of heavy, compact soils. Check out this mini guide to carrots to help you have a successful crop this year.

Flowering carrot plant in a garden
Flowering carrot plant

Mini Guide about Carrots Carrot Gardening Tips

Carrots are such a versatile vegetable. They’re the base for so many different dishes – sauces, soups, salads – just to name a few. We use carrots in our home cooking very often, almost as much as we use garlic and onions.  Carrots have so many health benefits too! They’re good for your eyes, help keep your heart health and blood pressure in check, help your immune system since they’re loaded with vitamin C, can help with diabetes, and help with your bones.

Carrots are a root vegetable that comes in all sorts of colors: yellow, purple, red, orange, and white. Carrots are a cool weather crop and they’re not really fans of hot weather. They aren’t fans of heavy, compact soil and prefer a sandier soil.

Since we are currently working on amending the soil of our in-ground garden, we plant carrots in our raised beds where we have a bit more control over the soil conditions.

When to Plant Carrots

Carrots come in all sorts of varieties. You’ll most likely have to start carrots from seeds. I’ve never seen carrot plants sold in stores as seedlings. They don’t like to be disturbed so transplanting isn’t recommended. Carrots shouldn’t be started indoors either simply for that reason. For carrots to germinate, make sure the top of the soil doesn’t become compacted or develop a crusty layer.

Soil temperatures

Always check the back of the seed packet for the suggested planting instructions. In general, carrots are direct-sowed outdoors 2 to 3 weeks before the last spring frost dates. The soil temperatures should be at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit and should not exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t forget – they’re a cool weather crop! If you want a fall harvest, plant 10 weeks before your first frost. As the soil heats up going into summer and in the summer months, seeds will probably not germinate.

How to Plant and Grow Carrots

Amending the soil

Remove any rocks, stones, lumps of soil, and anything else that could disturb the root of the plant. Add a good amount of compost and then some blood meal (according to the directions on the package). The soil should be loose and well-draining. Pay particular attention to how much nitrogen that’s added to the soil as that will aid the growth of foliage rather than the root. 

Caring for Carrots

Occasionally thin out the leaves of the carrots. It helps the plant concentrate more of its efforts on growing the root by distributing the nutrients and energy underground. Less energy and nutrients will be directed towards the leaves. Prune the leaves right after the seed germinates. When watering carrots, do frequent shallow waterings. Remove weeds since carrots don’t like to compete with them and monitor for pests and disease. Preventing weeds also helps with preventing deformed roots. Mulching is a great way to keep the weeds down. 

For disease prevention, keep the area clear of debris. Some diseases you should be aware of are:

  • Different types of leaf blight
  • Root knot nematode
  • Black root rot
  • White mold
  • Cavity Spot and Root Dieback
  • Crown rot
  • Scab
  • Aster yellows disease

Pests you should be aware of are:

  • Carrot weevil
  • Parsley worms
  • Nematodes 
  • Carrot rust fly
  • Wireworms

How and When to Harvest Carrots

How do you know when carrots are ready to pick?

Determining whether a carrot is ready to harvest partially depends on the variety of carrot. Keep in mind the “days to harvest” number on the seed packet as a general rule of thumb. That may not necessarily be the time the carrot will be ready. Uncover the top part of the carrot and see how wide the top of the carrot is. Most carrots should be ready to harvest (depending on variety) when the top of the carrot measures ½ to ¾ in diameter. Gently pull the carrot out of the soil. If necessary, uncover the root with a shovel and then pull. Harvest every other carrot in a given row. It will allow the carrots left in the soil to continue to grow bigger.

How to Store Carrots

It’s important to note that the greens of the carrots should be cut off if you’re storing them. Keeping the greens on the carrots will cause them to quickly become wilty. Removing the greens allows them to store longer. Store the carrots in the fridge. If you’re looking to store carrots for a few months, consider getting a storage carrot variety. The carrots can be stored in a bucket or wooden box in a very cold room, like a garage in the winter. Fill the storage container with sand or sawdust. Place the carrots vertically, but don’t pack them directly next to each other. They shouldn’t be touching. Next cover the storage container, but don’t tightly seal them. Air should be able to circulate in the container. The ideal temperature for storage is between 32 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit.


  • How long do carrots take to fully grow?

The length of time it takes for a carrot to fully grow depends on the variety. Check the seed package for an estimated expected timeframe.

  • Can you grow carrots from a carrot?

If you plant a whole carrot, you won’t be able to grow other carrots from it. Doing so would grow a carrot plant. If the carrot plant is allowed to mature, it will flower. Once the flower begins dying off, the seeds are exposed and you can harvest them.

  • Does 1 carrot seed produce 1 carrot?

Yes, 1 carrot seed produces 1 carrot.

  • Can you pull a carrot and replant it?

Carrots don’t like their roots disturbed and do not like to be transplanted.  With that being sad, carrot seeds should be directly sown and kept in that spot.

  • Do carrots need a lot of sun?

Carrots prefer full sun, but they can tolerate partial shade.

  • Are carrots easy to grow?

Carrots can sometimes be tricky to grow and need the right conditions. They don’t like their roots disturbed. They also don’t like compact soil.

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