Are you having trouble growing carrots? Keep reading to get some tips.
Carrots are a picky crop and one of the most challenging vegetables to cultivate.
Why Aren’t My Carrots Growing?
Your carrots are most likely not growing because your soil is too dense. If you have clay soil, check out this post on how to improve the soil.
Another reason for slow carrot growth is planting the carrots close to each other. Temperature extremes and dehydration are two more potential causes of carrot growth failure.
The following are a few pointers that may inspire you to try again next year.
Check your Soil
Like all root crops, carrots thrive on loamy soil with a hint of sandiness. They struggle and become stunted, gnarled and distorted, or worse, do not develop when there are impediments – most notably rocks or severe compaction.
Most of us do not have this beautiful blend of loamy sand. However, amending the soil with a large amount of handmade compost right before planting each year can significantly impact it. However, if you have impermeable compacted earth or clay soil that you cannot dig into or alter, your best chance is to create a deep raised bed on top of it and seed into it.
Know When To Plant your Carrots
People make the mistake of planting too early. Carrots germinate slowly but grow considerably slower and occasionally do not sprout if soil temperatures are too low. A temperature of 70-75°F is optimal.
I recommend planting seeds two weeks before winter ends. Add additional seeds over many weeks to spread the harvest and avoid excess carrots. But because the tiny seeds are only 12″ deep, it is critical to maintaining the soil wet during the extended germination period. The seeds will perish if the top layer dries out or freeze over.
Keep the Seeds Safe
Keep the carrot seeds safe from pests. If burrowing squirrels plague your garden, they will dig up the recently tilled or sowed soil, spoiling your hard work and interfering with seed germination.
To fight this, cover the bed with netting, a row cover, or chicken wire right after sowing. When small leaves develop, remember to remove the covering.
Maintain Soil Moistness
During droughts, carrots become woody and skinny. You’ll have a great harvest if you can maintain the soil consistently wet but not waterlogged during the growing season.
Composting will aid in creating soil that is both good for draining and maintaining moisture.
Carrots dislike extremely hot soil. Mulching the bed after sowing can hinder germination, but a tiny sprinkle of grass clippings mid-season, after the crop is germinating, can provide some shelter from the summer sun’s harsh rays.
If your summers are scorching, consider covering the bed with a light-row cover to keep the heat at bay.
Grow your Carrots in Containers
Believe it or not, this is achievable if you can keep the soil wet. The good thing is that you will not have to contend with rocks or lousy soil. Choose a deep pot that is at least 12 inches deep and use a soil mix ideal for carrots.
Brian Sheridan has an allotment in Edgbaston and is a competitive grower. Brian is also a keen photographer and loves cooking. Brian and his wife Mary will also be running a stall at Edgebaston artisan market this year, selling products made from the allotment, including his award-winning relish!