Carrots are a rewarding vegetable to grow, because with a little tending you will have a full crop of beautiful delicious home grown carrots 70-80 days after planting. Right now I am harvesting the seeds I planted in the spring 3 weeks before the last expected frost date. I just planted my second round of seeds for my fall harvest. A variety that I love and have planted for the last two years is the ‘Rainbow Mix’, the mix grows a variety of colors, white, yellow, orange and purple.
The trick to growing a beautiful straight root carrot is planting the seeds in loose, rock-free soil. I plant mine in mature compost with some sand blended in to lighten the mix. Turn the soil over a few times with a shovel before planting your seeds; think fluffing. Carrot seeds take awhile to germinate and they like an even amount of moisture during the germination process. Try to gently water every day so that you do not wash away your seeds, because you will plant less than an 1″ deep they can easily become disturbed. If you are planting now for a fall crop you can cover the moist soil with burlap to trap the moisture in the soil for the first two weeks, watering daily and checking at the end of 10 days for germination. Once you see sprouts you must remove the burlap and start to water as you do the rest of your garden. When your carrots sprout to about 2″ tall, you need to thin them to 1″ apart. If you do not thin your carrots will grow around each other and produce crooked roots. You will also need to be diligent with weeding around your carrots, so that they don’t interrupt growth.
Carrot rust flies may be a problem. If you start to see the egg-laying adult flies around your carrots, thin and snip off foliage in the evening.
Another reason to grow carrots is the superpowers it offers. When I was a little girl my older brother convinced me that if I ate my carrots I could see through walls. They are not quite that powerful but they are a powerhouse vegetable.
Along with vitamin A, carrots contain vitamins K, C, E and the B vitamin family. Minerals in a 1/2 cup serving of cooked carrots include manganese, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, sodium, iron, zinc, copper, selenium and a trace of fluoride.
The purple variety of carrot is called ‘purple haze’ and they have the vitamin A and beta-carotene of ordinary carrots, because of its orange center. But the bonus you receive growing this purple variety, besides its beauty is its bonus health benefits. ‘Purple Haze’ is also rich in anthocyanins, the antioxidant compounds that give blueberries their distinctive color and superfood health benefits.
A quick, easy, healthy and divine recipe for your homegrown carrots is to roast them with olive oil and drizzle with honey. Watch my video to learn how to make your own Honey Roasted Carrots.