From Seed to Soup in a Short Time
Plant your carrot seeds in early spring. You will wait about 75 or 80 days for this planting to mature, which will be near the end of spring.
If you like baby carrots, pull your carrots earlier, about eight weeks after planting; they are already edible and tasty, and are great in salads and on veggie platters.
Have Fresh Carrots for Months
Because the growth cycle of the carrot is reliable, that is, it tends to take about the same amount of time no matter the variety of carrot or planting zone you’re in, you can stagger your plantings to have carrots maturing in batches, all season long.
By laying out your carrot patch in sections, you can sow seeds every two to three weeks throughout the growing season. Since carrots are a cool weather plant and enjoy a good frost, you may be able to plant early enough to get your first harvest in March or April, and your last as late as Thanksgiving!
The trick to this is to note the planting date of each section of your carrot garden and then remember to harvest at the correct time.
Keep Them Growing
For fresh carrots all winter long, you can leave your crop out and pull as needed. As long as the weather and ground are cold, your carrots will be fine. To do this:
- Don’t harvest all of your crop. Leave some to remain in the ground over the winter.
- Mark the carrots you’ve left behind; the greens will die in the winter, meaning you may not know where your plants are!
- Weed your garden well so invaders don’t steal nutrition from your crop.
- Mulch well. Press firmly around the base of the carrot top.
- Pull carrots as needed, all winter long.
For bigger carrots, you can leave them in the ground longer and they’ll continue to grow. For sweeter carrots, leave them until after a frost or two; carrots store more sugar in their roots when the weather is cooler.
For whatever reason you leave your carrots in the garden, be sure to harvest and store them before the ground freezes; cold weather is fine, but frozen ground is detrimental to your plants.