How to Grow and Harvest Carrots
Carrots are easy growers, you really just need to be concerned about the initial stages of sowing up to thinning seedlings out, after that they basically just want water and some love.
There are some really cool colored carrots out there and it’s always advisable to grow more than one type at a time for some rainbow on your plates.
Soil Preparation and feeding
Carrots does not require good soil however it is important that soil is loose and deep. Sandy soil free of small stones is ideal, clay soil and “dead soil” will give dismal results at best. When we talk about dead soil we refer to soil that has been exposed to sunlight for a considerable time with no cover like mulch or other plants. Even exposed sandy soil becomes extremely hard due to the lack of microbial life in the soil. Tilling such soil is of limited use, it will very quickly return to its un-natural hard state, in fact you will only worsen the problem through tilling. Please refer to the section on our website that handles Soil Improvement
Do not add nitrogen to the soil. Carrots, like most root crops, would rather you spare nitrogen rich fertilisers for other needy plants. You can however enrich your soil with a quick absorbable calcium supplement such as calcitic lime, bone meal or gypsum.
Planting times for carrots in South Africa
It is important to keep in mind that although carrots can be grown almost all year round they prefer the cooler times of the year and are excellent for your winter garden. Many gardeners than grows carrots during summer sow their seeds in areas that gets half shade, this normally ensure a respectable crop, however it will not beat full sun during the cooler parts of the year.
Ideal times to sow carrot seed in South Africa:
February to June and Aug to Sept
Please note: Planting times supplied is in a general South African sense and is based on typical South African Highveld conditions. Your particular area of South Africa might vary.
Seed Planting and Germination
Sow seeds direct.
So what to do with the fine seed? Here is the easy part. Estimate your number of seeds and calculate how many meters of rows you require if spaced approximately 4cm apart. Make rows that are spaced 7cm apart in the soil approximately 1cm deep for the estimated length you require. Mix your seeds in a bucket of sand, river sand is ideal if you got or at least very sandy soil. So the mixture evenly in the rows, cover lightly with more sand or sandy soil.
As an example: We typically put approximately 200 seeds in a packet of carrot seeds from Glen Seeds. At 4 cm apart you require 8 meters of planting rows. 4 rows of 2 meters = your required total of 8 meters.
There are three benefits to previous
- You make it easy to sow the fine seeds
- The sand mixture assist in keeping the seeds and small seedlings intact when you water them.
- The even spread you will receive makes for spacing that will require very little thinning out, if required at all!
Carrot seed germination takes approximately 8 to 10 days.
Full sun during cooler times of the year
Half sun during summer.
Carrot Plant Spacing
Space carrots 5 cm apart in rows that is 7 cm apart.
You need to thin small carrot plants out to this required spacing if, after germination your density is too high.
Days to harvest
Days to harvest carrots vary greatly dependent on conditions, conditions is not always season dependent although it does play a big role.
Harvest at finger size 60 days and more
Harvest at full maturity 90 days to 180 days
- Days to harvest is based on typical good growing conditions and can sometimes vary dependent on climate, state of soil, in some instances day length as well as the climate for the area in South Africa where you reside.
- The specific plant might have characteristic that falls out of the typical type norm.
- Days to harvest is counted from germination or seedling transplant date whichever is the latest.
Saving of Crop
Carrots store well in the fridge, excess carrots can be frozen or used in all kind of preserves. Try this delicious Curried Carrots Recipe
Click to view which Carrots Seeds are available to you now