Carrots are a most satisfactory vegetable, both in the garden and in the kitchen. By planting several crops in succession over the summer, you’ll have a constant supply of this versatile root. A warm weather vegetable, carrots grow until frost outdoors and then are easily stored in a cool place for another month or two indoors. Renowned for their vitamin and fiber content carrots are delicious both raw and cooked, and are a welcome addition to many traditional dishes.
Because there are many shapes and sizes of carrots that are suited for different growing conditions, there is bound to be a variety that will succeed in your garden. Essentially, carrots are big fat roots with fluffy green tops; each having an inner and an outer core. The inner core is somewhat tougher and more fibrous than the outer one, which includes the skin, and is sweeter and contains the vitamins. The best tasting carrots are those having the smallest inner core.
Size: Carrots will grow from eight to 12 inches high.
Foliage: Carrots have feathery foliage sprouting in a circle from the crown of the root.
Flowers and Fruit: Carrots are a biennial that flowers the second year after planting seed. Most vegetable gardeners will not see the flower because the purpose of growing carrots is for their root crop.
How Many Carrots to Plant
It is often difficult to judge how much garden space to allot to carrots. Of course, you do not have to grow them all at once, but wherever they are growing, that space is not available for other crops for more than 2 months. Also factor in your family’s appetite for carrots and your plans for storing any excess harvest. There is no need to plant an entire packet of seed in one season. The seeds will keep in an airtight container in a cool place for use next year.
As a rule of thumb, a 25-foot row of carrot seedlings, properly thinned, yields about 20 to 25 pounds of carrots over the season. Expect a bed 3 feet by 8 feet (24 square feet) to yield from 25 to 40 pounds of carrots. Be aware that a 2-gram packet of carrot seeds contains about 960 seeds, enough to sow a 20-foot row. A 1-ounce packet contains 6,000 to 9,000 seeds, which is enough to sow 250 to 300 feet of row over the season.