How to grow

Carrot Harvest Time – How And When To Pick Carrots In The Garden

Carrots are easy to grow in a garden with deep, loose soil; and as you may have guessed from the name, they are packed with beta carotene. A half-cup serving gives you four times the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene. Growing and harvesting carrots is a great way to take advantage of their nutritional benefits.

In mild climates, grow this nutritious crop almost year-round by planting successive crops and using heavy mulch to protect the carrots from winter temperatures. If your soil is hard or heavy, grow short varieties to get the most come carrot harvest time.

How to Tell When Carrots are Ready to Harvest

Knowing how to tell when carrots are ready to harvest is important for getting a good crop. First, consult your seed packet to see how many days it takes your chosen variety of carrots to mature.

Baby carrots are usually ready to harvest 50 to 60 days from the planting date. Mature carrots need a few more weeks and are usually ready in about 75 days. Most carrots are ready to harvest when the shoulders are 1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter, but again, there is much variation depending on the variety.

How to Harvest Carrots

Now that you know when to pick carrots, you’ll want to know the best procedure for how to harvest carrots from the garden. Grabbing the foliage and giving it a pull often results in a handful of foliage with no carrot attached. It helps to loosen the soil with a garden fork before harvesting carrots. Cut off the green tops 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the top of the carrot and rinse and dry the roots before storage.

When deciding when to pick carrots, consider how much you can use in a two- to four-week period of time. Carrots can be left in the ground for an additional four weeks or even longer in winter. Make sure you harvest the last of the carrots before the ground freezes solid.

When carrot harvest time arrives, have a storage plan in mind. Store clean carrots with the green tops removed in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator for two to four weeks. They will keep in a bucket of sand in a cool cellar for several months. Don’t store carrots near apples or pears. These fruits produce a gas that causes carrots to become bitter. Carrots can also be canned, frozen or pickled for longer storage.

How to grow carrots

This delicious cupboard staple tastes even better when you grow it yourself!
Image: LiliGraphie

Carrots are a tasty and versatile root vegetable. They’re easy to grow, too, so they’re ideal for novice gardeners as well as those with more experienced green-fingers.

When to sow carrot seeds

There’s a variety to suit most locations, but good drainage and sunshine is key.
Image: Jane_Mori

Carrot seeds can be sown from early spring right through to late August and can be harvested almost all year round.

Most varieties are sown outdoors between April and July. Early cultivars such as the ‘Nantes 2’ can be sown under a cloche or started in greenhouses from February. Check the seed packet if you’re unsure when to sow your chosen variety.

For a spring harvest, you can grow carrots in a greenhouse throughout the winter. However, as a general rule, they prefer to be cool and don’t do well in greenhouses during the hotter summer months.

Choose a sunny spot with light, fertile soil and good drainage. Heavy and stony soils, or clay-based beds can make growing more difficult, but short-rooted varieties like ‘Caracas’ can still do well in these conditions.

Add plenty of organic matter to the soil before sowing but remember that carrots dislike freshly manured earth. Prepare your beds the autumn before to allow a period of rest before planting.

For further information on different varieties, have a look at guide:

Early Maincrop Chantenay (good for containers) Colourful varieties
Nantes 2 Red Samurai Caracas Sweet Imperator Mix
Tendersnax Autumn King 2 Chantenay Red Cored 3 – Supreme Cosmic Purple
Mokum Bangor Purple Sun

How to sow carrot seeds

Leave each seed plenty of room and thin the plants out as they grow
Image:

Before sowing, weed the seedbed well and break up any larger lumps of soil, digging to a fine tilth. Water the ground before marking out rows 30cm (12in) apart and 0.5-1cm deep. Carrots need to be sown shallowly.

Sow your seeds roughly 5cm (2in) apart to reduce overcrowding and to make it easier to thin out the seedlings later on. It’s a good idea to sow just a little thicker than the desired final crop. This allows for losses due to poor germination or other growing issues.

Cover the seeds very lightly and water the area as gently as you can with a fine-rose watering can to minimise disturbance. Keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate, which usually takes between 10-20 days.

Caring for your carrots

Be careful not to overwater which can lead to splitting or rot
Image: Jurga Jot

If seedlings are too close together, thin out the weakest plants to give each room to grow and prevent them competing for nutrients. A great tip is to thin out in stages, so you’ll have spare seedlings in the event of a slug or pest attack. Weed regularly to retain precious resources in the soil for your plants.

Carrots are reasonably drought-resistant once they’ve germinated. Water minimally but consistently – too much fluctuation in moisture can lead to split roots. And if the shoulders of your carrots start to show above the soil, earth them up slightly to prevent them from turning green.

How to grow carrots in containers

Urban gardeners can grow carrots in containers
Image: tchara

Containers are just as good as veg patches if you use the right variety, so don’t be put off if you don’t have a large garden. Patios and balconies can be great little growing spaces.

Choose a container that’s about 45cm (18in) deep to give the roots as much space as possible. Small or early varieties like ‘Mokum’ or Chantenay varieties such as ‘Chantenay Red Cored 3 – Supreme’ are the most successful for growing in pots.

Choose a soft, humus-based soil with a pH level of 6.0-6.8 and feed your plants regularly throughout the season to ensure good growth. Try using a potassium-rich liquid feed fortnightly or a slow-release fertiliser. Keep the container moist and watch out for dry compost in warmer weather.

When to harvest carrots

Gently prise carrots from the ground with your hands or a fork
Image:

Depending upon the variety and growing conditions, you should be able to harvest most carrots between 12 and 16 weeks after sowing. Fast-growing autumn-sowing varieties such as ‘Nantes Frubund’ can be ready by mid-February. The best way to ensure your carrots are ready is to pull one or two test plants to see how they’re doing.

Carrots can be stored in the refrigerator with their green tops removed for 2-4 weeks, or in a bucket of slightly damp sand in a cool, dry place for up to 4 months. Don’t store with apples or pears, as these fruits emit a gas that can cause carrots to become bitter. If you end up with a glut, you can freeze or pickle the excess harvest.

Common pests and problems

There are a couple of common issues you might face
Image: Napoleonka

Forked roots are common when soil is heavy or rocky, or seeds are sown too close together and not thinned out. This is an aesthetic issue and shouldn’t affect the flavour of your vegetable.

Carrot fly is a common pest which can spoil a whole crop. Larvae burrow into the roots and leave them susceptible to rot. Unfortunately, once your crop is infested it’s not possible to reverse the damage so it’s best to be vigilant from the start. Here are some quick tips to help prevent carrot fly:

  • • Grow fly-resistant varieties such as ‘flyaway’ or ‘resistafly’ alongside a sacrifice crop of a non-resistant variety to lure the carrot fly larvae away.
  • • Thin out weaker plants in the evenings when flies are less active – the females are attracted to the smell of freshly pulled carrots and broken foliage.
  • • Cover the seedbed with horticultural fleece or clear plastic, at least 60cm high, or fine netting. This also helps ward off slugs, aphids, and other more benign garden pests.
  • • If your crop does become infested, rotate your carrots to a new location as carrot fly can remain in the soil and re-emerge the following spring.

Tips for growing carrots

If you want a quick visual recap, watch our short video tutorial for step-by-step tips on how to sow carrot seeds in the garden. Here are our top tips for growing carrots:

  • • Choose a fly-resistant variety.
  • • Prepare your ground well, removing stones and weeds.
  • • Don’t use manure less than a year old.
  • • Create “drills” about 30cm apart – a broom handle placed on the soil will make a straight row.
  • • Plant the seeds shallowly, no more than 1cm deep.
  • • Cover lightly with soil and water gently. Keep the soil moist to help with germination.
  • • Once foliage appears, thin out your plants and remove weeds to avoid competition for resources.
  • •Feed during the growing season with a potassium-rich fertiliser.

We hope you enjoy growing (and eating!) your carrots. Tag us in your photos if you share them on Facebook or Instagram – we’d love to see how you get on!

Carrots

Daucus spp.

I’ve got a confession to make… I don’t really like carrots. I love growing them but I just don’t like eating them. This state of affairs pleases my neighbours no end as I plant a plethora of these pointy orange babies every year… and then I give them all away!. My dad always said I was hopping mad!

Planting Schedule

Warm Areas: All Year (except mid-summer)
Temperate Areas: September to March
Cool to Cold Areas: August to February

Position, Position, Position

As we are dealing with a root vegetable here it’s going to be necessary to get your hands dirty. Rocks, stones and really heavy soil will slow down growth and deform your carrots. So much so that you will want to film them for Australia’s Funniest Home Videos! Manually pick through your bed before planting, remove obstacles and treat really heavy soils with a mixture of sand and compost. Maybe even consider putting in a raised garden bed!

Talking Dirty

Carrots need good drainage and loads of gardeners will add sand to their clay or heavy loam soils to improve drainage. Carrots taste best when they are grown really quickly and good soil preparation is paramount here. Compost is good and, depending on the carrot varieties you going to grow, a nice deep topsoil layer is important. But if you want to grow a wee variety, like the round “ball” carrots or the baby carrots, topsoil depth is less important.

Feeling Seedy

Carrots are best planted from seed rather than seedlings as they don’t transplant well. This is what is known as “direct sowing” and here’s how to do it. Firstly make a trench about 2cm deep and as long as you like. Then sow your carrot seed by tapping them out of the packet along the row. Fill this trench halfway up with a soil/sand mix or a shop bought seed raising mix – it’s pretty much the same thing. Press lightly on the covering mix to ensure contact with the soil and seed. Water it in gently so you don’t blast them out of the ground. Cover the bed with a light sprinkling of straw mulch. Keep the bed damp until your carrots pop their little heads through… this should take about 2 – 3 weeks.

Once the seedlings are 5cm high it’s time to go “Jenny Craig” and thin them out. This means pulling out the weaker or smaller seedlings and leaving about 3cm between each of your carrots. You will need to do this again when they get to about 12 – 15cm high, at which time you need to leave about 5cm between them. While this may seem a bit wasteful and unsustainable (heavens no!), it isn’t really. Seedlings from the first thinning can be composted or feed to the chooks, and the carrots pulled at the second thinning can actually be eaten (hooray!).

Feed Me

Carrots don’t mind a feed, just as long as it is not high in nitrogen. High nitrogen fertilisers will make big, bushy carrot tops but do nothing for the all-important root zones! I give mine a liquid feed of fertiliser tea every few weeks just to speed up the process – impatience and laziness are not good traits for a gardener. They really don’t need much these carrots!

What about the Water?

Like a couple of other Yummy Yard plants, over watering is a more serious issue than under watering. Seeds need to be kept damp when germinating but of course damp doesn’t mean floating away, or dying of thirst! Free draining soil is a must, as is using your soil moisture indicator (your favourite finger) to test the amount of water in the soil. Dry = bad; soaked = bad; slightly damp = perfect! Inconsistent watering regimes, especially allowing the soil to dry right out and then flooding it with water, will cause carrots to crack or split… a very ordinary result for all concerned!

Are We There Yet?

Often I am asked, “How can I tell if my carrots are ready?” and always I respond, “When did you plant them?” Keep track of when you sowed your carrot seed because you can start harvesting them after about 8 weeks. I harvest what neighbours need, when they need it -remember I don’t actually like them! This harvesting technique prolongs my crop and means all my carrots don’t come (and go) at once. However, you’ll want to get them all out of the ground before the sugars turn to starch, which happens at about 16 – 18 weeks.

Pests and the Rest

Pest and disease problems are almost non-existent for carrots apart from the carrot fly. Carrot flies lay their eggs in the young seedlings and their larvae eat and tunnel their way through the growing root. They can be deterred by using plenty of compost as well as by using some good companion plants, like spring onions, to act as decoys.

Carrots, like coriander, can bolt, which means they have a tendency to run to seed before producing their roots, generally when unusually cool weather is experienced in early spring.

Hot Tip

Here it is…breaking news set to revolutionise vegetable growing as we know it… carrots can be grown in pots! I know, you’re shocked, but it’s true. Some of the small “golf ball” carrots are awesome in pots, as are baby carrots. They’re an excellent addition to any Yummy Yard as they offer a really high yield to space ratio. Check out the many varieties of carrots available. You’ll be amazed at the shapes, sizes and even colours that abound.

Eat Me

Carrot Cumin Salad

Such a simple salad yet so delicious. It goes with everything from a curry to a chicken parma. Whip this up in the morning before work! It’s a great lunch.

A couple of handfuls of homegrown spinach, lettuce, rocket or other greens
A carrot or two, plus their green tops.
A handful of walnuts and sultanas
Dressing:
1 tsp cumin
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp oil of your choice
Salt and pepper

Coarsely chop or tear greens and the carrot tops.
Peel strips off the carrot using your vegetable peeler.
Combine greens and carrot peel strips in a large bowl.

Place all dressing ingredients in a jar. Shake well then pour over salad. Toss so that everything is coated.

Learn How to Grow Carrots

Learn How to Grow Carrots

Prepare the planting bed by loosening the soil to at least 12 inches deep. Thoroughly mix in a 1-inch layer of mature compost or a half-inch layer of vermicompost (carrots love what earthworms leave behind).

Sow your seeds about a quarter inch deep and 2 inches apart, in rows spaced at least 10 inches apart; carrots do well in double or triple rows. Thin seedlings to 4 to 6 inches apart, depending on the variety’s mature size.

Harvesting and Storage Carrots

Pull or dig spring-sown carrots when roots reach mature size and show rich color. Taste improves as carrots mature, but do not leave mature carrots in warm soil any longer than necessary (many critters like carrots). Summer-sown carrots that mature in cool fall soil can be left in the ground longer, but should be dug before the ground freezes to preserve their quality. Remove tops to prevent moisture loss, rinse clean, and store in a refrigerator or cold root cellar. Most varieties keep for several months in the fridge. Carrots also may be canned, pickled, dried or frozen.

Saving Carrot Seeds

Carrots are biennial and therefore won’t flower and make seed until their second year. In cold climates, open-pollinated carrots kept in cold storage through winter can be replanted in early spring for seed production purposes. When the seed clusters have ripened to brown, collect them in a paper bag. Then allow them to dry for another week indoors before crushing the clusters and gathering the seeds. Discard the smallest seeds. Store the largest seeds in a cool, dry place for up to three years.

Carrot Pest and Disease Prevention Tips

Aster leafhoppers look like one-eighth-inch green slivers, which hop about when the foliage is disturbed. Leafhopper feeding causes light damage, but leafhoppers can spread aster yellows, a disease caused by a tumor-forming bacterium sometimes present in otherwise healthy soils. Trying to eliminate it would be unwise because of its close family ties with nitrogen-fixing rhizobia that benefit legumes. Instead, grow carrots in compost-enriched soil far from grapes and nut or fruit trees, which often host the parasitic bacteria. Use row covers to exclude the leafhoppers.

Row covers also protect a crop from carrot rust flies and carrot weevils, which make grooves and tunnels in carrots as they feed.

Hairy or misshapen roots can be caused by excessive nitrogen or aster yellows disease.

Carrot Growing Tips

Keep the soil moist for at least 10 consecutive days after sowing, because carrots take longer to germinate than other vegetables. To reduce surface evaporation during the germination period, cover newly seeded soil with boards or old blankets for five to six days. Check daily, and remove the covers as soon as the first seeds germinate. Seeds germinate best when soil temperatures range between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Reduce weed competition by sowing carrot seeds in shallow furrows filled with weed-free potting soil. Cover the ground between rows with newspapers topped by a mulch of grass clippings.

Sow carrots with a “nurse crop” of radishes. The fast-growing radishes will shelter tiny carrot seedlings while helping to suppress weeds.

Be stingy with nitrogen. Among fertilizers, carrots favor compost or vermicompost worked into the soil prior to planting; they respond to abundant phosphorous and potassium more than to high nitrogen levels. Carrots take up nutrients best in soil with a pH between 5.8 and 7.0. Use lime to raise the pH of acidic soil.

Harvest carefully. Before pulling carrots, use a digging fork to loosen the soil just outside the row.

Harvest small blossom clusters from overwintered plants to use as cut flowers. Thinning the blossoms helps the plants channel energy to the biggest seed-bearing umbels (flower clusters springing from the same point).

Max out the season. To eat carrots year round, grow fast-maturing varieties in spring, and make summer sowings for a season-stretching fall crop.

Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation lines to keep the soil constantly moist.

Cover the shoulders of all maturing carrots with mulch to keep them from turning green.

For more in-depth information about growing carrots, read Growing Carrots: Carrot Varieties, Soil Conditions and Harvest Times.

Carrots in the Kitchen

Carrots will caramelize with their own sugars when braised in a little oil or grilled until tender. Grate raw carrots into muffins, cakes or pancakes to provide moisture and extra vitamin A. Use carrots generously to bring nutritious color to salads, stir-fries and soups. Try steamed carrots with fresh mint and a dab of honey or brown sugar. Orange and yellow carrots are great as nutritious raw snacks, but red carrots taste best cooked.

Contributing editor Barbara Pleasant gardens in southwest Virginia, where she grows vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers and a few lucky chickens. Contact Barbara by visiting her website or finding her on Google+.

Raising a garden offers many benefits to the gardener.

It is much healthier to grow your own food. You are fully aware of what has gone into the product and know what you are eating.

A vegetable garden also saves a lot of money.

Many are intimidated to take on the task, but starting a garden can be simple if you grow the right crops. There are many that yield a great product and don’t require a ton of work.

To encourage you to start with this very rewarding task, we compiled a list of the easiest vegetables to grow, so that anyone can have success.

1. Lettuce

There are many types of lettuce that can be grown. You can grow leaf lettuce which is great for a mixed green salad.

You can also grow head lettuce such as Romaine or Iceberg.

The seeds can be found at most any general store and are very inexpensive. You also have the option of picking up lettuce plants at your local nursery.

Lettuce is a cool weather plant so it can be planted in early spring or fall. Lettuce seedlings can actually handle a little bit of frost. As long as the temperatures don’t dip below 45 degrees Fahrenheit then the plants should do just fine.

If by some chance the temperatures do drop or if you experience some snow, just cover the plants with plastic or a sheet, and they should be fine. Lettuce can actually be grown year round in a cold frame greenhouse because of its hardiness in cold weather.

What makes lettuce so easy beyond the fact that it is cold resistant, is that it can be direct sown. When first learning how to garden, starting your own seeds can be a difficult task.

Here you can learn more about starting seeds on a budget.

Planting items that can be directly sown makes planting a lot easier. Just be sure to go over where you directly sowed a few weeks later. You’ll notice that some areas probably have too many plants clustered together.

It is important to thin a few of those out so the plants have room to grow.

The key to lettuce is that you can plant small crops at a time and keep fresh lettuce coming in for months. This technique also keeps you from being overrun with too much lettuce at once.

It is a good idea to plant a fresh crop of lettuce every two to three weeks during the growing season.

Planting chives or garlic between lettuce crops will help with keeping pests off of your crops as well.

Be sure to plant your lettuce in well-drained soil with compost. It will be ready to harvest when the lettuce appears full grown. It is best to harvest lettuce early in the morning.

As the day goes on the sun will cause your lettuce leaves to go limp which is not prime for picking.

Here is more information on growing lettuce and a bonus of growing lettuce indoors, as they are some of the easiest vegetables to grow.

Harvest time 65-80 days (depending on type)
Ideal temperatures 45-75 °F
Planting time Spring, Fall
Spacing 6-18 inches (depending on type)
Germination time 2-15 days
Light preferences Sun or partial shade
Best companion Carrots, radishes, beetroot

2. Spinach

Spinach is a very easy crop to grow and deserves a top spot in the easiest vegetables to grow list.

It is much like growing loose leaf lettuce. You will need to plant it in well-drained soil with compost. It can be planted in full sun or light shade. It is best to direct sow spinach.

When you plant your spinach seeds, you will need to go through and thin where you planted a few weeks later. Just be sure to remove any area where you see clusters appear.

Spinach can be planted year round in most climates as it is very cold weather friendly. It can actually survive in weather as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here we have more information on growing Spinach.

Harvest time 40-50 days
Ideal temperatures 35-75 °F
Planting time Spring, Fall
Spacing 8 inches
Germination time 6-21 days
Light preferences Sun or partial shade
Best companion Cabbage family, strawberry

3. Green Beans

Green beans are a simple plant to grow with an abundant harvest. They are another plant that you will need to direct sow.

There are many different types of green beans so you’ll need to decide what you are looking for. Some people love half runners. They are very tender beans, but they literally run along a vine.

You’ll need to be sure to grow these along a homemade trellis for easier picking.

You can get an idea of how to make a trellis here.

If you decide to plant half runners be advised they have strings. This means when you pick them and are going to fix them to eat you will have to string them.

You can learn how to do that from this video:

Other than learning how to do these few simple tasks, they are very simple to grow.

For those that don’t want to worry about stringing beans or picking beans from a vine, then a bush bean might be right for you.

The name explains them completely.

They are beans that the plant bushes out instead of running along a vine. You can just go along your row of green beans and pull them directly off of the bush. They also don’t usually have strings on them.

In order to plant green beans, you will need to plant them in well-drained soil where they will get adequate sunlight. Place a thick layer of compost over the row. Then you will directly plant the seeds into the compost.

Go over the row with a hoe or rake and lightly cover the seeds with the compost.

In a few weeks you will have tiny green bean plants sprouting in your garden.

Green beans require adequate water. You will notice when they need water as they start to shrivel up. If your green bean plants start to turn yellow it will be because your soil is lacking nitrogen.

You can buy blood meal or bone meal and place it around your plants. If you have rabbits, their poop will do the same job usually. Green beans are also a favorite for bugs to munch on their leaves.

If you see this, you can set bug traps like this one as a natural alternative to pest control.

Harvest time 55-65 days
Ideal temperatures 55-85 °F
Planting time Early summer
Spacing 6 inches, 18 inches (row)
Germination time 8-16 days
Light preferences Sun or partial shade where hot
Best companion Potatoes, cabbages, radishes, peas

4. Cucumbers

Cucumbers are another simple plant to grow. Some people really like them while others don’t. The important thing to remember about cucumbers is that even if you don’t like them on a salad, you might enjoy putting them in a jar as a homemade dill pickle.

When planting cucumbers, you can either plant them in your garden or plant them in containers.

Cucumbers can be planted directly into the ground, started indoors three weeks before planting, or you may purchase cucumber seedlings at your local nursery.

Either way, they are a warm weather crop that should be planted after the last spring frost.

If you choose to plant cucumbers in your garden, plant them in well-drained soil with ample sunlight. Be sure to use compost when planting them as well.

Cucumbers are a vine so as long as you give them ample space for their vines to run you will have ample amount of cucumbers. This is another plant that creating a trellis for their vines to run along would be a good idea.

If you decide to plant them in containers, you can plant regular full sized cucumbers or buy a different variety. They actually make a patio cucumber meant specifically to be grown in containers on a patio. If you decide to use this method, fill the bucket with dirt and compost.

Plant one cucumber plant per bucket. Be sure to place them in the sun and water the plant regularly. It is a good idea to fertilize your cucumbers every month or so.

Once the cucumbers grow to full size they are ready to be picked.

Harvest time 48-65 days
Ideal temperatures 70-85 °F
Planting time Summer
Spacing 12 inches, 3 feet (row)
Germination time 4-13 days
Light preferences Sun or partial shade
Best companion Beans, carrots, parsley, cauliflower

5. Yellow Summer Squash

Summer squash is another one of easiest vegetables to grow. It is recommended that you either start your squash seeds indoors or buy squash seedlings for a quicker harvest.

When planting squash be sure to plant them with compost into well-drained soil. Squash enjoy the sun so planting them in direct sunlight or where they will get majority sun throughout the day is important.

Squash grow on a vine as well so be sure to give them ample room for their vines to run. This can be done through a trellis or left to run along the ground.

Water your squash regularly and fertilize once a month or so and your squash should do just fine.

You will know the squash is ready to be picked when they have turned yellow and the stem is easy to break off of the plant.

Harvest time 48-65 days
Ideal temperatures 70-90 °F
Planting time Summer
Spacing 12 inches, 3 feet (row)
Germination time 6-12 days
Light preferences Sun or partial shade
Best companion Peas, beans

6. Root Vegetables: Radishes and Carrots

Root vegetables are usually pretty easy to grow. Radishes and carrots are the easiest vegetables of them. I love to grow these vegetables because again, they can be directly sown into the ground or grown in a container.

I actually prefer growing these in containers.

The key to growing successful root vegetables is not overcrowding the seeds and have loose enough dirt for them to grow in. If you decide to plant these vegetables in the ground, you will want to be sure to really make the dirt loose when planting.

Be sure to plant in compost as well.

Radishes and carrots need to be direct sown. Once the seedlings start coming up you will need to go through and thin any clusters so your plants will have room to grow.

If you have clay or other really clumpy dirt, you will need to choose a variety of carrot that is stubbier so it can grow to full capacity without having to push through all of that hard dirt.

If you have good, loose dirt then you should be able to grow full size carrots with no problems.

Radishes can grow to full size regardless.

Maybe you have clumpy dirt but desire to grow full size carrots. That is where container gardening comes into play.

You will need a large container such as a 5 gallon bucket or planters that you could plant a tree in. Fill the bucket with loose dirt and compost. Then you will plant your seeds. You will have to go through a few weeks later and thin out the clumps of seedlings.

Be sure to water your vegetables as needed in the containers. Fertilizing once a month is a good idea as well.

Whether you decide to plant your root vegetables in the ground or in a container, knowing when to harvest is still the same. When the tops of the radishes or carrots get to be big, green, and bushy it is time to pull a few to test the size.

If you pull them, and they appear full grown then it is safe to harvest. If you pull a few to test, and they still have some growing to do then keep watering and fertilizing for a few more weeks.

Then go back and test your product again.

Harvest time 60-80 days
Ideal temperatures 60-70 °F
Planting time Spring, Summer, Fall
Spacing 3 inches
Germination time 6-21 days
Light preferences Sun or partial shade
Best companion Peas, lettuce, tomatoes

7. Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are a very flavorful vegetable that are terribly easy to grow.

Again, these plants are recommended to either be started indoors 4-6 weeks before transplanting outside or to just be purchased as seedlings from your local nursery.

Bell peppers love heat! Do not plant them until after all threat of frost has passed.

Be sure to place them in direct sunlight where they will get the most sun all day long. You will need to plant them 4-6 inches apart into well-drained soil and be sure to remember the compost. Then you water them regularly and fertilize on a monthly basis.

Be sure to keep down any weeds that grow around your pepper plants.

That is all there is to it!

In a few months you’ll see beautiful peppers. You’ll know they are ready for picking when they turn bright green (or yellow or red….depending upon what color you planted.)

When they are first starting to ripen they will have a lighter shade of their color. Once they turn that bright, waxy color then they are ready.

If you see them starting to fade then you have let them go too far.

Harvest time 60-80 days
Ideal temperatures 70-90 °F
Planting time Early summer
Spacing 18-36 inches
Germination time 8-25 days
Light preferences Sun > 6 hours
Best companion Basil, onions, carrots, radishes

8. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of the most sought after produces during the summer time. The reason is because there is no comparison when it comes to homegrown tomatoes. They taste like nothing on a store shelf anywhere!

The amazing thing is that tomatoes are super easy to grow too.

Just like peppers, it is recommended that they be started indoors 4-6 weeks before transplanting outdoors. Otherwise, just pick up the seedlings that have already been started at your local nursery.

Tomatoes come in all varieties from Beef steak tomatoes, to yellow tomatoes, to purple Cherokee. The list goes on and on. Try all types until you find the one that thrills your taste buds because they all grow the same.

Once you have your seedlings, plant them in full sunlight in well-drained soil. It is important (just as with the peppers) to be sure that all threat of frost is gone before planting.

Tomatoes love the heat and hate the cold!

Be sure to add your compost around each plant when planting. Tomatoes will need to be watered regularly and fertilized monthly.

If you see your tomato plants turning yellow they are lacking nitrogen. All you will need to do is add some bone meal or blood meal around the base of each plant and water them. This should help add back the nitrogen that your plant is missing.

That is all there is to growing tomatoes. If you water, they will grow.

Once your tomatoes have turned their proper color and have grown to a good size then harvest them and enjoy.

The only thing that needs to be mentioned in planting both tomatoes and peppers is that you should never plant them together.

Bees will cross pollenate your peppers and tomatoes. This will ruin the flavor of your tomatoes. Be sure to plant a row of tomatoes, then plant another row or two of another crop, and then plant your peppers.

They can be in the same garden, but they need a few rows to separate them.

Planting your own garden can be so fulfilling.

Placing food on the table that you raised from start to finish is quite the accomplishment. Though growing a garden may seem complex, some of these easiest vegetables will give any beginner success.

Harvest time 60-100 days
Ideal temperatures 60-90 °F
Planting time Early summer
Spacing 18-36 inches
Germination time 6-14 days
Light preferences Sun > 6 hours
Best companion Chives, basil, carrots, peppers

And that is our list of the 8 easiest vegetables to grow, with a clear guide on what to do and when, so you can have great success with your garden.

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How To Grow Carrots – Growing Carrots In The Garden

If you are wondering how to grow carrots (Daucus carota), you should know they grow best in cool temperatures like those that occur in early spring and late fall. The night temperature should be dropping to about 55 F. (13 C.) and the daytime temperatures should be averaging 75 F. (24 C.) for optimum growth. Carrots grow in small gardens and even flower beds, and can accept a little bit of shade as well.

How to Grow Carrots

When you grow carrots, soil surfaces should be cleared of trash, rocks and large pieces of bark. Finer pieces of plant material can be mixed down into the soil for enrichment.

Start out with soil that will help your carrots grow healthy. When you grow carrots, soil should be a sandy, well-drained loam. Heavy soils cause the carrots to mature slowly and the roots will end up unattractive and rough. Remember that when you grow carrots, rocky soil leads to poor quality roots.

Till or dig up the area where carrots will

be planted. Make sure the soil is tilled up to soften and aerate the ground to make it easier to grow carrots long and straight. Fertilize the soil with one cup of 10-20-10 for every 10 feet of row you plant. You can use a rake to mix the soil and fertilizer.

Planting Carrots

Plant your carrots in rows that are 1 to 2 feet (30-60 cm.) apart. Seeds should be planted about a ½ inch deep and 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm.) apart.

When growing carrots in the garden, you’ll wait for your carrot plants to appear. When the plants are 4 inches (10 cm.) high, thin the plants to 2 inches (5 cm.) apart. You may find that some of the carrots are actually large enough to eat.

When growing carrots in the garden, make sure to plant, per person, five to ten feet of row to have enough carrots for table use. You will get about one pound of carrots in a one foot row.

You want to keep your carrots free of weeds. This is especially important when they are small. The weeds will take nutrients away from the carrots and will cause poor carrot development.

How Do You Harvest Carrots?

Carrots grow continuously after you plant them. They also don’t take too long to mature. You can start the first crop in mid spring after threat of frost has passed and continue to plant new seeds every two weeks for continuous harvest through the fall.

Harvesting of the carrots can begin when they are finger size. However, you can allow them to stay in the soil until winter if you mulch the garden well.

To check the size of your carrots, gently remove some dirt from the top of the root and check the size of the root. To harvest, gently lift the carrot from the soil.

Grow it yourself: Carrots

“If you don’t go to sleep, bugs bunny will come and eat you!” That’s what mother carrot tells her children when they’re naughty. And that’s why our mister carrot is a wee bit afraid of rabbits, although humans are also quite partial to his flavor. No wonder, when it’s so packed with goodness, good for clear vision and the ultimate free radical killer. Let’s say hi to the king of crunch.

Bugs Bunny might scare all the poor little carrots, but he has made sure that generations of kids around the world know that carrots are great for your health. Packed with health-promoting beta-carotene, they promote good vision, especially night vision, and help combat health damaging free radical activity. Easy to pack and easy to carry, carrots are a nutritious, low-calorie addition to your healthiest way of eating, any time of the day.

Edible greens

The King of Crunch, scientifically known as Daucus carota, is a biennial herb in the Apiaceae family grown for its edible root. Not many people know that the root also produces gorgeous flowers if you leave it in the ground for the second year although very, very few carrots ever reach that stage of course. Carrots are related to parsnips, fennel, parsley, anise, caraway, cumin and dill. The foliage of the carrot plant can reach a height of 5 feet when in flower. Carrot roots have a crunchy texture and a sweet and minty aromatic taste, and the foliage is fresh tasting and slightly bitter. Yes, you read it right. The greens are also edible, so stop throwing them away!

Carrots are packed with nutritional value, can be processed into many forms, and can be stored for months – and all this means that they quickly became a popular foodstuff wherever they were taken from their home in Iran and Afghanistan. During their journey across the centuries and continents, countless botanists have managed to improve the composition, look, flavor and size of ancient carrots.

Oh, the Dutch

We are all familiar with King of Crunch’s bright orange hue, but the modern-day orange carrot wasn’t cultivated until the late 16th century, when Dutch growers took mutant strains of the purple carrot and gradually developed them into the sweet, plump, orange variety that we all know today. Before this, pretty much all carrots were purple with mutated versions occasionally popping up including yellow and white carrots.

Some think the reason the orange carrot became so popular in the Netherlands was as a tribute to the House of Orange and their struggle for Dutch independence. This could be true, but it also might just be that the orange carrots that the Dutch developed were sweeter tasting and larger than their purple counterparts, thus providing more food per plant and tasting better.

Currently, the largest producer and exporter of carrots in the world is China. In 2010, 33.5 million tons of carrots and turnips were produced worldwide, with 15.8 million tons in China alone.

Healthy little bugger

Forget about those vitamin A pills. With this crunchy orange power food, you’ll get vitamin A and a host of other powerful health benefits. And I’ll let you in on a little secret: carrots really are good for your eyes. It’s not just an old wives’ tale. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. In the retina, that vitamin A is transformed into to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision.

Beta-carotene has also been shown to protect against macular degeneration and senile cataracts. A study found that people who eat the most beta-carotene have a 40 percent lower risk of macular degeneration than those who consumed little. And vitamin A also helps the liver secrete bile and flush toxins out of the body, aiding any natural detox regime. The high fiber content of carrots also helps to regulate the digestive system.

And how about this? Vitamin A promotes healthier skin because it protects the skin against sun damage. A vitamin A deficiency will cause dryness in the skin, hair and nails. Similarly, vitamin A prevents premature wrinkles, acne, dry skin, pigmentation, blemishes, and uneven skin tone. Would you like one more little tidbit on the benefits of the King of Crunch? Ok, here we go. Carrots help to prevent infection. They can be used on cuts, shredded raw or boiled and mashed. Bet you didn’t know that. So are you ready to grow now?

  • It is actually possible to turn your skin a shade of orange by massively over consuming orange carrots.
  • In ancient times, the root part of the carrot plant that we eat today was not typically used. The carrot plant however was highly valued due to the medicinal value of its seeds and leaves. For instance, Mithridates VI, King of Pontius (around 100 BC) had a recipe for counteracting certain poisons, the principal ingredient of which was carrot seed. It has since been proven that this concoction actually works.
  • The Romans believed carrots and their seeds were aphrodisiacs.
  • The largest carrot ever grown was ten kilos: grown by John Evans in 1998 in Palmer, Alaska.
  • Carrots are the second most popular type of vegetable after potatoes.
  • The name “carrot” comes from the Greek word karoton.
  • The beta-carotene that is found in carrots was actually named for the carrot itself.

Grow the King yourself

Carrot seeds are best planted in early spring and left till late summer, specifically February, March, April, and August and September. For the best results, carrots should be grown in sandy soil that does not retain water for a long time. The soil should also be free of stones. To prepare your carrot patch, dig up the soil, loosen it and turn it over. Then, mix in some fertilizer. Weather, soil conditions and age will all affect the taste of your carrots. Experts say that warm days, cool nights and a medium soil temperature are the best conditions for growing carrots that taste great. Carrots benefit from a plentiful supply of moisture and should be provided with 1 inch of water each week. Mulching around the plants helps to conserve moisture and reduce weeds.

Sweet

Carrots need time to develop their full sugar content. This is what gives them their taste. If they are harvested too early, they will not have enough sugar. But carrots also lose their sweetness if you wait too long to remove them from the ground. The best way to judge if a carrot is ready to be harvested is by its color. Usually, the brighter the color, the better the taste.

Most people do not know that carrots can be grown during the winter months. If the winter is not cold enough to freeze the ground, you can grow and harvest carrots in the same way as during the summer months. If the ground does freeze where you are, simply cover your carrot garden with a thick layer of leaves or straw. This will prevent the ground from freezing. You can remove the ground cover and harvest the carrots, as they are needed.

Reaping the harvest

Your carrots will be ready for harvesting about twelve to sixteen weeks after sowing. Harvest carrots as soon as they are large enough to use; don’t aim to get the largest roots that you can or you’ll sacrifice flavor. Carrots are harvested by gently digging around the plant to expose the top of the root and gently, but firmly pulling the root from the soil by grasping the top of the carrot just above the root. Carrot tops should be twisted off and the roots washed prior to refrigeration in airtight bags. Carrots may also be stored in moist sand to keep them fresh prior to use.

Cook it yourself: the soup of kings

Can you smell that? It’s the smell of carrot soup in the afternoon. If you are not growing your own yet, run off to the farmer’s market and buy a bunch of crunchy kings and soup it up.

  • 1 bunch medium carrots (any kind, any color)
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3-4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 red pepper, minced
  • Chicken or vegetarian broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Thyme or other favorite herbs
  • Lemon juice
  • A little cottage cheese

Step 1: Sauté all the veggies in olive oil until soft. Add chicken or vegetable broth and water to cover vegetables and simmer for thirty minutes or so until soft. Add salt and pepper and your favorite herbs.

Step 2: Puree the soup in blender or food processor until smooth. Return to the pan and heat through. Add a dash of lemon juice and a dollop of cottage cheese. Now that’s the way to treat a King.

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