So- I planted some carrot seeds back in January and now it's somehow May already! I have them in mostly full sun (at least 6+ hours) but they are in a slightly alkaline soil that tends to have more clay than sand consistancy. They have wonderful foliage, about a foot and a half at this point, BUT I've yet to see anything like an actually carrot top poking above the soil. They're Danver's #126. On the seed packet it says 70 to 80 days maturity, but we all know how that goes...I don't want to disturb the plant if it's still growing, but at the same time I know if I leave them in the ground too long they can get woody. Anyone else in the North Gulf Coast growing carrots and having luck?
I run my finger around the stem where it meets the soil to see how big the carrot top is. If I think it's big enough, I pull it, while trying not to disturb the carrot neighbors. If it turns out to be too small, I toss it to the dog - she loves carrots.
In my clay soil, I find "short-n-sweet" does well.
HoneyBee, I wonder if *all* dogs love carrots -- I had to put a fence up mainly to keep the dogs out, as they would dig the carrots (and pick the pole beans) otherwise!
Otherwise, yes, lots of variable with carrots, such as water supply and so on; you really just have to check them. Danvers and Nantes are my favorite varieties. The good thing with carrots is you can start pulling some when they're little to use in salads or for munching, then pull bigger ones as they mature. (Not a real rocket science vegetable!)
So after my last post I went and very carefully started removing some of the dirt from around the biggest carrot and it looks like it has a top that's about the diameter of a nickel so I think I'm going to let them all go a bit longer and time it to pull the first one up at the same time my first tomatto is ripe :) Should be in the next two weeks.
I'll have to try offering a carrot to a dog, that just seems so odd...but then again I do have a cat that likes to lick cantaloupe and strawberries...
neworleansdude - It depends on which type of carrot you sowed - but take a look at carrots in the store, and when your tops look the same - pull one up :)
You'll soon know how large to let the tops grow before you pull them - and if some get too large, you can leave them alone. They'll put up a seed head (the following year I believe) and you'll have free carrots! The flowers are very pretty.
Linda, you make a girl blush... I grew Vitana last fall in raised beds and replanted this March. I checked them the other day and found some slim ones about the size of my pinkie. 1lisac is right, not a good crop for the impatient gardener. :) My fall carrots-September planting- weren't ready until late December, early January, but I harvested all the way into February.
We love carrots so just plant 'em and fagitaboutit - lol... We harvest them all winter long. I still have carrots growing! Unusual but it's been such a mild spring for us here in Phoenix. No 100° days in the forecast for at least the next 10 days. We've been close. Low 80s today! Last year we hit 100° the 3rd of April and it didn't let up until late October!
hummingtammy - personally I would not recommend any other method for carrots besides direct sowing. They are very hard to successfully transplant. You can plant them as soon as the soil can be worked and there are many many varieties that are considered early - under 60 days - that should do well for you...
I agree with Kelly -- they do fine for me up here in northern Mich., so you should have no problems. The "secret" for me seems to be to (1) plant them shallow -- I really just sprinkle the seeds along the row that I've marked out and then use a garden rake to kind of pack them down (not rake them in); and (2) keep them very well watered -- because they're so shallow they also dry out very quickly. I usually cover them with Reemay/floating row cover to help keep in the moisture (and keep my cats from digging them up).
1lisac - I have to laugh at your post about the carrots. Last year in our raised beds there was one section just for my husband and he put carrots in there - nothing much happened - then by accident I spilled a bunch of leek seeds in there (I was planting the adjoining section but got clumsy and the excess seed i was going to save fell into his carrot bed) I thought oh well maybe the leeks will never germinate and he will never know i screwed up. Well the leeks got huge and guess what else all of a sudden decided to come up - the carrots. It was a very crowded bed. The carrots had green shoulders and were not too tasty, but the leeks were fabulous. I harvested all excess and put in freezer. Found a recipe on internet for potato leek soup that is fantastic & i just take 4 leeks out of the freezer each time to prepare the soup with. The green shoulders on the carrots - does that mean they were planted too shallow?
I am glad for the help I have never grown carrots your right the seeds are so small it is hard to see just where they fall.
I looked at the leeks on line the look like something I ,d like and I like soup I like Weedwhackers idea of sharing your recipe I know my family is tired of plain potatoe soup.
I planted some Scarlet Nantes that locaKelly sent me the first of December. We had thirty days of extremely cold weather for our part of the country. Temps were in the upper teens the whole month. Those darn carrots grew in the middle of all that cold. We've been eating carrots a long time. Sure hated to see the last of them go.
LOL Jim - those Scarlet Nantes are one of my favorites. Would you believe I still have some in my garden? It was a gamble late planting and we've had such a mild spring - they are yummy. Will be harvesting the last 3 squares tomorrow as the temps are climbing. Glad I gambled and won for once!
rockgardener - I forgot to answer your question... Carrots take a long time to germinate, but not as long as your's have been. Maybe the seeds were not viable if they were really old or they got planted too deep. Another problem may be if they weren't too deep they dried out. It's hard to keep them moist when they are planted shallowly (as they need to be). I would say sow some more at this point.
I do only raised beds and they dry quickly, especially the top inch. When I plant carrots, lettuce or radishs I sprinkle lightly every day and then every couple of days after they come up until they are actively growing.
Loca, I pulled one of those little carrots after they had been up a while and it had a little carrot about the size of a match. The super cold weather set in and it was a little over thirty days before the temp got above freezing. After the cold let up I went to the garden to check on stuff and pulled another carrot. The joker was about 3 inchs long and as big as my finger. I could not believe that they actually grew when the temp was that cold.
I really like the Scarlet Nantes and will order seed from Johnny's and plant a lot more of them this fall. Thanks for putting me on to them.
Harvested the final bunch of carrots today. I think this is the longest I've been able to keep them in the garden in the spring. Usually we're so hot by now. No 100s in the 10 day forecast - unbelievable!
Weedwhacker - I discovered the Potato Leek Soup recipe at http://www.pinchmysalt.com
You will find many lovely recipes there. I took many liberties with the recipe - using 2% milk instead of whole cream - adding pinches of fresh herbs from my garden(greek oregano, thyme, marjoram and from the pantry Pimenton de la Vera - Dulce (Spanish Sweet Paprika) - which brightens all of my soups. I also garnish each bowl with bacon bits, fresh chives from the garden, and a generous pinch of shredded cheddar. Serve with some hearty bread for dipping.
Also because my garden grown leeks are smaller than the ones in the store - I used 4 leeks instead of three.
August -- thanks for sharing the site, I'm anxious to check it out! (I actually thought I had nearly every cooking site already on my "favorites" list but apparently not, LOL -- just what I need, another source for recipes when I barely seem to find time to cook, especially this time of year) Your description of the soup is making my mouth water, though, so I'm pretty sure I'll find some time somewhere. Might have to go buy some leeks to try it out while I'm waiting for mine to grow up!
Well, I ended up pulling my first carrot a couple days ago. It was about four inches long and ok diameter, the top ended up being about the size of a quarter and tapered down nicely. It wasn't the darkest orange and wasn't the sweetest carrot I've ever had - but it came from the yard along with the lettuce and swiss chard to go into a salad for dinner tonight.
On a side note I had to pull all my remaining lettuce today. We've had five or six 90f + days now and the let. is bolting and getting that bitter taste.
So for those who have had good success with carrots should I maybe do another planting in October when the weather finally starts to cool down in this part of the country?
Those were some beautiful looking photos, Locakelly, thanks for sharing.
Sure thing dude! Yup - start planting again in the fall. You can succession plant every 2 weeks or so to have continuous crops. Carrots can take cold weather. People in some parts cover them with straw and leave them in the ground in the winter/snow...
I planted some Dec. 1 that kelly send me seed of. When the extreme cold weather hit they were about an inch long and the size of a match. After 30 days of below freezing weather they were six inchs long and the size of a quater. Darn things grew in sub freezing weather.
Jim- if they survived this last winter I'll certainly do a row or two this fall. Don't want to jinx us but it's unlikely we'll have a winter that cold again in the next decade.
All the poor hibiscus, gingers, and bananas,ect...
Actually my gingers and bird of paradise have come back, but most folks palms and hibiscus really look dead or knocking on the door.
Kelly- I always have loved carrots...my aunt still shares the story to this day that about 25 years ago she said she brought me carrots for Christmas - thinking I'd be upset when she was just playing a joke, but instead I said, "thanks". She had a toy or two for me, but no carrots. I think I was slightly disapointed, but then again I was 7 or 8 at the time and memories do tend to fade.
Must be something in them that my brain/and/or/body needs.
I'm going to plant my carrots sometime in Sept. this fall. Hopefully the heat will be broken by then. You are right about the winter, it has been many years since I have seen a sustained cold for that long. I have two young palms and surprisingly it didn't hurt them. They are only about a foot tall.
Anothe surprize to me was that the lettuce I had planted wasn't damaged by the cold. As long as I've gardened I had no idea that lettuce was that hearty.