Carrots make a great vegetable to grow at home. However, some growers tend to run away from them saying they’re too hard to grow and take very long to develop the edible roots. If you’re one of those, this post is just for you. Here, we will not only answer “How Long Does It Take To Grow Carrots”, but we will also tell you how to grow them in the right way. So, keep scrolling down till the end!
- How Long Does It Take To Grow Carrots?
- Best Varieties Of Carrots To Grow Along With The Time They Take
- Basic Information About The Carrot Crops
- Favorable Conditions To Grow Carrots
- Easy Tips To Grow Carrots At Home
- How To Harvest Carrots?
- Caring Tips For Carrots
- Carrots Storage
- Benefits Of Growing Carrots
Hey growers! If we’re not wrong, you are probably here because you’ve planned to grow your own food. You might be wondering which fruits and vegetables can be grown easily at home. Carrots are one of the best vegetables to grow at home. But some people will tell you to run away from them because they can never be grown easily at home – which is completely a myth!
While it is true that these biennials require some extra care at the initial stages, they can be grown easily when provided with favourable conditions and a little bit of guidance. They don’t require high maintenance but need good soil and some weeding at the beginning stages.
Anyway, don’t worry and relax. We are providing everything you need to know about growing carrots. By the end of this article, you will be able to grow this beautiful root vegetable on your own.
How Long Does It Take To Grow Carrots?
Carrots come in a number of varieties. And just to inform you, different varieties take different times to fully mature. Typically, homegrown carrots take about 70 to 80 days to mature. However, there are some other varieties that can take longer than that. For example, A cultivar “Autumn King” takes about 120 days to grow fully and is often tastier when left for this long. These are very nutritious and flavourful crops and taste much better than what you purchase from the grocery store.
In order to give you a better idea, here we are listing some best varieties of carrots along with the time they take to mature. Have a look!
Best Carrot Varieties To Grow Along With Time They Take To Get Ready
Before jumping on to the list, first, allow us to bust a myth that carrots only come in orange color. While the original varieties are orange in color, there are many hybrids and wild carrot that you can find in white, yellow, red and purplish colors. Now, you can go further!
Short Varieties (2 to 4 inches)
- Minipak: This variety yields in short carrots which are about 2 to 4 inch and take about 60-65 days to grow.
- Tiny Sweet: Another short carrot cultivar that takes 60-65 days to grow.
- Amsterdam Minicor: Takes only 55 days to get ready.
- Chantenay Red Cored: Takes 70 days
- Nantes ‘Half-Long: Takes 70 days
- Nantes Touchon: Takes 65 days.
- Parmex: Takes 50 days.
- Thumbelina: Takes 60 days.
Medium Varieties (5 to 6 inches)
- Danvers half-long: Medium-sized carrots of about 5 to 6 inches and take about 75 days to mature.
- Gold King: It takes 70 days to grow.
- Royal Chantenay: Takes about 70 days to mature.
Cylindrical Varieties (6 to 7 inches)
- Nantes Coreless: This variety yields in early produce. Takes about 68 days.
- Royal Cross Hybrid: Takes 70 days to grow.
- Tuchon Pioneer: Takes about 75 days to grow fully.
Standard Varieties (7 to 9 inches)
- Gold Pak: Takes about 75 days to grow.
- Imperator: Takes 75 days to grow.
- Spartan Bonus: Takes 77 days.
- Tendersweet: Sugary carrot variety that takes 75 days to grow.
As you can see, a majority of carrot varieties take 70 to 80 days to grow. There are others that take a bit longer but you can totally go with these to enjoy your carrots a bit earlier.
Now that you got your answer to “how long does it take to grow carrots”, it is the right time to gather some additional information about growing them in your own garden.
Let’s start with the basics first.
Basic Information About Carrot Crops
Carrots are biennials that complete their life cycle in two years. In the first year of sowing the seeds, the crop develops its roots. In the second year, it produces seeds and flowers.
Typically the homegrown carrots don’t reach the second stage and die after harvest in the first year itself. You can easily grow these vegetables annually without having to wait for flowering.
Carrots prefer cool climates to grow. The winter chills enhance their flavour and make them more sugary. Therefore, you can plant them in spring and again in fall. Read below for a detailed description.
Favorable Conditions To Grow Carrots
As noted above, carrots love to grow in cooler climates; spring, autumn and early summer. They prefer temperatures about 60 to 65F to develop their roots. Moreover, they require a soil temperature of about 45 to 85F for their germination. Grow them at a place where the temperatures are cool. You can sow the seeds and let them germinate for 2-3 weeks. If you grow them in warm temperatures and warm soil, the quality and flavor will be compromised. So, if you want to grow the most flavorful and sweet carrots, grow them in the cool climate and cold soil.
Carrots prefer full sun, so plant them at the spot that receives maximum sunlight at least 6-7 hours. The growth will be hindered if grown in partial shade.
They need loose, well-drained and nutrient-rich soil with a pH of about 5.5 to 6.8. To enhance the quality of soil, add a good amount of aged compost, manure or readymade planting mix to the beds prior to planting. You can also add wood ashes and rock phosphate to increase the fertility of the soil.
Make sure the soil is free from compaction. Till the soil well and remove all the hard objects, rock before sowing the seeds. In the presence of these impurities, carrots will be malformed and may lose their shape.
Prefer raised bed planting for growing carrots as it will help to increase the drainage.
Carrots take a bit of time to germinate. Hence, you need to protect your seeds from birds, rains and storms until they begin to develop roots. You can use plant blankets when the temperature is below 40 to protect your seeds from getting exposed. During winter chills, use plastic tunnels to protect them.
The best way to grow carrots is to grow them from seeds, transplanting them can result in ill-shaped, forked and twisted carrots.
Lastly, provide enough moisture to the planting beds, don’t let the soil dry out. It will not only speed up the growth but will also enhance the flavour.
Easy Steps To Grow Carrots At Home
After knowing the basics and favourable conditions, it becomes much easier to grow carrots. Below is the step by step process to grow them.
1] Prepare The Planting Bed
The best practice is to grow the carrots on a raised bed. You can also grow them in open shallow containers like half-barrel filled with good quality planting mix. For preparing the raised bed, turn the soil about 12 inches deeper. If your garden has heavy clay, incorporate some sand and aged compost to improve its drainage as well as quality. Use a garden fork to turn it down and also remove any stones and clod that can cause malformation to carrots.
Make sure your soil is loose.
Incorporate some bone meal to the bed. It is rich in phosphorus which promote the root growth. Avoid adding manure to the soil prior sowing as the nitrogen in it can result in hairy roots.
Water the bed very heavily and leave it like this for a couple of days. This will help the soil to absorb all the goodness from the additives.
2] Sow The Seeds
Seeds of carrots are very tiny. Hence, you can easily end up over sowing them. But here is a hack, mix the seeds with sand. It will make it easier to sprinkle them evenly on the bed and you will also prevent over sowing them.
Another good idea is to use the pelletized seeds. They are a bit bigger and easier to work with. You can sow them in a line or by using a seed tape. Seed tape will help in spacing the seeds rightly. Using palletized seeds ensures that the carrots don’t come out weak and thin which will otherwise happen due to over sowing.
Sow the seeds thinly over the bed. Allow enough spacing between the seeds – at least one inch. You can use a garden hoe to dig a shallow trench to sow the seeds in a row.
Organise some drip lines near the rows to ensure that the soil stays moist always.
After sowing, cover the seeds with either potting soil or peat moss. With a light hand, spread the soil or peat mix and gently press it to cover the seeds. This will help the seeds to stay intact in the soil.
3] Protect Your Seeds From Any Exposure
To protect the seeds from rains and birds, cover the planting bed with row covers well. This will ensure your seeds are not exposed.
If the climate is hot and dry, you can use burlap stripes to cover the row. A good idea is to wet the burlap sheet by sprinkling water which will help the soil to retain some moisture until the seeds sprout.
Don’t forget to check under the covers once, every two days. When the sprouts are visible, you can remove the burlap. Leave the floating covers like that if temperatures are below 40F.
4] Keep The Carrot Bed Moist And Free From Weeds
It is very important to keep the soil moist and weed-free until sprouts are visible. Water the bed 1-2 times a day using a fine spray for a couple of weeks after sowing. The goal is to prevent the soil from drying out.
After the sprouts are popped up, continue to spray water until the roots are developed strong. Once the roots grow well, start watering the carrots heavily for healthy growth. Make sure that water reaches to the tip of the root.
One way to determine the health of the crops by assessing their green top. If it becomes dull, then know that there is a lack of water. The root vegetables follow the water into the soil.
Watering carrots deeply will also ensure the carrots grow straight and lean.
Moreover, remove the weeds from the planting beds as they tend to absorb the water and nutrients from the soil and leave the carrots in shortage of it.
5] Thin The Seedlings
Thinning the carrots is very important. It promotes roots to grow at the fullest. Thin them about 1 inch apart. To do this, lift the seedlings (which are too close to each other) with a gentle hand. You can also chop off them at the soil level using garden scissors.
No need to throw these thinners, use them just like you use microgreens in salads.
Voila! You’re almost done. Now, water them regularly, take care of your plants and have patience. Sooner you will be able to munch on them. Just watch over your plants, when they become big enough, you can harvest them.
Below is how you can harvest your favourite root veggie!
How To Harvest Carrots?
You can easily harvest the carrots after they mature fully depending upon the variety you’ve grown. As we already discussed, they will take from 50 – 80 days after sowing. If you’ve sown baby carrots, you will be able to harvest them after 30-40 days.
To check whether they’re ready or not, lift one or two carrots and see if they’re big and thick enough to eat. Usually, the thickness varies.
Use your hand for lifting the carrots from a spot where the soil is loose. If the soil is compacted, use a spading fork or the handle of hoe to loosen the soil. Lift the roots making sure they don’t break.
Always lift the carrots from moist soil and if the carrot doesn’t come out easily, leave it like this for a couple of days more.
Make sure you’ve harvested your crops before the ground begins to freeze. However, if it doesn’t freeze even in chilly winters, cover the carrots using heavy mulch to extend the harvest for about a month or so. Also, if the temperatures don’t fall below 20F, you can harvest them anytime from under the mulch. Just make sure you keep them covered until you finish harvesting.
Caring Tips For Carrots
- First and foremost, keep the carrots moist to speedy growth.
- Reduce watering frequency when the carrots reach maturity as the excess of water at this stage can result in cracked roots and dilute the sugars.
- Use good quality aged compost before sowing and after 30-35 days in the midseason.
- Thin the carrots to make sure the neighbour roots grow at least 2-3 inches apart from all directions. Thin them in two stages: first, when the seedlings are about 2 inches in height and second time at the midseason. Simply uproot or cut the head to the soil level and avoid disturbing the remaining roots.
- Avoid planting carrots with dill. Onion, leeks, peas, tomatoes, chives etc can be great buddies to your carrots.
- Male sure you remove the weeds foe from the beds as it becomes hard for carrots to compete with them.
- Carry out shallow cultivation to avoid any root damage.
- Mulch the beds in order to keep the moisture even and to maintain the right temperature. It helps the carrots to grow quicker.
You can leave the carrots unharvested in the ground as long as it doesn’t freeze. Once, you have your carrots, storing them is not a big deal.
You can either keep them in refrigerator or root cellar at 40 for up to 3 months. If you want to store them for longer, refrigerate after blanching them. Blanched carrots can be stored up to 6 months in the freezer.
But you know what the best idea is, munch on the fresh harvest as nothing can compare the flavour of carrots when eaten fresh!
Benefits Of Growing Carrots
- First of all, you will have your own carrots, free from harmful chemicals. Homegrown carrots are more flavourful than store-bought ones.
- Carrots are full of nutrients. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibres. Including them in your diet can help you in numerous ways :
- Improved Vision
- Improved Oral Health
- Healthy Skin
- Speedy Metabolism
- Promotes muscle health
- Reduce signs of ageing
- Detoxifies the body by flushing out the toxins.
- Apart from the health benefits, you can use them to bake delicious carrot cakes, cupcakes and creamy carrot pudding.
As you may know by now, growing carrots is very easy. Although they take a bit of time to get ready, it is totally worth having such homegrown goodness. We have done our part here, now it’s your turn to follow this guide and grow your own lovely carrots.