Carrots grown in the garden have a lot of flavor and texture. They’re a popular, long-lasting root vegetable that grows well in various climes. Learn everything there is to know about planting, cultivating, and harvesting carrots. Carrots are simple to grow if planted in loose, sandy soil throughout the cooler months of the growth season (spring and fall) (carrots can tolerate frost).
Depending on the cultivar and local growing circumstances, carrots can take anywhere from 2 to 4 months to mature. Plant them in the spring and summer for a crop that lasts through the fall! Carrots are a cool-weather crop, easily grown in the winter and early spring here in Texas. This article is a step-by-step guide on how to grow carrots in Texas.
- Step-by-Step Procedure on How to Grow Carrots in Texas
- How to Care while growing Carrots in Texas
- Final Remarks
Step-by-Step Procedure on How to Grow Carrots in Texas
Step 1: Find your soil type.
- To start your carrots, you will need first to find your soil type. This is important for how fast the carrots will reach maturity, so you know when to harvest them.
- Carrots prefer sandy loam with fine-grain particles and a pH of 6.8 to 7.0.
- If you are unsure about your soil type, have it tested at your local extension office.
Step 2: Choose the Proper Location
- Carrots require full sunshine for 6-8 hours/day.
- Though they can also take moderate shade, it’s better to plant them in a nice sunny location.
Step 3: Amend the soil if necessary (optional)
- Nitrogen and phosphorus are two of the most important nutrients for carrots, so adding compost, manure or bone meal are good ways to fertilize.
- If you are growing organically, adding alfalfa, cottonseed or soybean meal can also help.
- Bone meal will also add calcium, which is important for proper root development.
- Manure should be composted first before adding it to the soil because it generally contains weed seeds and pathogens that should not be in your garden.
Step 4: Prepare the Garden Soil
- Till down 12 inches and check for rocks, stones, or even soil clumps that could stifle the growth of your carrots.
- If you don’t want your carrots to fork and sprout little side roots, don’t amend the soil with nitrogen-rich materials like manure and fertilizer. Work in old coffee grounds instead.
- If your ground soil is thick clay or too rocky, plant carrots in a raised bed at least 12 inches deep and filled with airy, loamy soil (not clay nor silt).
- The soil must be loose, sandy or loamy, and airy for carrot roots to push down through it easily.
Step 5: Collect the Seeds
- If you are planting carrots for the first time, it is better to purchase seeds that have been treated for issues with rot and are labeled as “treated” or pre-inoculated.
Step 6: Sow the Carrot Seeds
- You can also start them indoors four to six weeks before the last frost date in your area.
- Plant the seeds 1/2 inch deep every 2 to 3 inches apart.
- The seeds are very small, so you will have to be careful not to plant them too deep.
- Attempt to spread seeds so that they do not grow together evenly.
- Use a seed-sower or thin aggressively to achieve the desired spacing.
Step 7: Keep the Soil Moist
- Water the soil frequently and shallowly to keep it hydrated.
- Using a burlap fabric to cover the area can help keep the soil moist.
- Wet the burlap to keep the area moist, then remove it after the carrots sprout.
- The soil must not form a hard crust on top for little carrot seeds to germinate; cover with a layer of vermiculite or fine compost to prevent this. (If you stick your finger in the ground to the middle knuckle, it should be moist but not wet.)
Step 8: Germination
- Carrots can take a long time to germinate. It may take 2 to 3 weeks for your carrots to show any signs of life, so don’t be alarmed if they don’t appear right away!
- Once they germinate, thin them out to about 4 inches apart for the best yield and largest carrots.
- Once your carrots have reached about 1/2 to 3/4 inches in diameter, they are ready to harvest.
- If you want to leave them in the ground longer and let them get larger, make sure they have at least one inch of stem and leaf growth before harvesting.
Step 9: Harvesting
- Depending on the type, carrots can be harvested anywhere between 60 and 90 days after sowing the seed.
- When the carrot shoulder is 1/2″-1″ in diameter and slightly pushed above the ground, it’s ready to harvest.
- To remove the carrot from the soil, wet the soil around the base of the carrot and gradually loosen it. Then carefully pull up on the carrot top at the base or neck of the carrot.
- You can expect good yields of about 5 to 7 pounds per 10 feet of row.
Step 10: Store the Carrots
- Wash the carrots and remove the leafy tops, leaving about one inch of green stem.
- Allow the carrots to air dry in a cool location before putting them in a perforated bag and placing it in the refrigerator drawer as soon as possible.
- A Ziploc bag with a few holes punched in it works perfectly!
How to Care while growing Carrots in Texas
- Carrots like cool weather (65-75 F.) and moist soil, so make sure you keep the ground moist, especially when they are germinating. To begin, water at least one inch each week (about 1/2 gallon per square foot), then two inches as the roots mature. You can cover them with a cold frame or row cover if they start to dry out. Do not let them stay too wet either, though, because they can be prone to mold and fungus.
- Mulch carrots gently to hasten germination and keep the sun off the roots.
- When they reach an inch in height, space the thin seedlings 3 to 4 inches apart. To avoid damaging the sensitive roots of the surviving plants, snip the tops with scissors rather than pulling them out.
- Weed thoroughly, but be cautious not to disrupt the roots of the baby carrots.
- 5 to 6 weeks after sowing, treat with a low-nitrogen but high-potassium and phosphate fertilizer.
Carrots will taste sweeter after a frost has occurred, so leaving them for a couple of weeks past maturity allows them to reach peak sweetness. Carrots are delicious, nutritious and easy to grow in the winter here in Texas!
Carrots are delicious, both raw and cooked, providing a crisp texture and sweet flavor. They are also nutritious–carrot greens are packed with vitamin A, beta-carotene, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, copper and manganese. They store well in the refrigerator but can also be frozen, canned or dried.
Carrots are very easy to grow. They do best in full sun but will tolerate part shade. Carrots have many different shapes, textures, and colors: purple, red or yellow! There are so many varieties of carrots to choose from that you can try growing several kinds each year if desired.
So, if you’re looking for a winter project, why not try your hand at growing carrots? Now that we’ve discussed how to grow carrots in Texas, with a little bit of care, you can have a bountiful harvest to enjoy all winter long! As of now, you know everything you need to get started growing carrots in your garden! Give it a try and enjoy the sweet, crispy taste of homegrown carrots this winter. Thanks for reading!