Carrots are a popular vegetable that can be grown in various climates and soil types. They are easy to grow and require minimal maintenance, making them a favourite among novice and experienced allotment owners.
Gardeners ask one of the most common questions: “How can I tell when my carrots are finished growing?” Fortunately, several signs can help determine when carrots are ready to harvest.
Time Since Sowing:
The time since sowing is one of the most reliable ways to tell if your carrots are ready for harvest. Typically, carrots take between 60 to 80 days to reach maturity, depending on the variety and growing conditions. If you’re unsure about the planting date, check the seed packet or ask the nursery where you purchased the seeds.
Carrots come in different sizes, but generally, mature carrots are about 7 to 8 inches long (unless Chantenay) and 1 to 2 inches in diameter. When the carrot’s diameter is close to the expected size, it’s a sign that it’s close to maturity – the tops should start poking out of the top soil so you can check the size and colour. Pulling out one to check is not a problem; you should have plenty.
Carrots are typically orange, but there are also purple, white, and yellow varieties. As the carrot matures, it changes colour from pale white to a deeper orange. Check the carrot’s top, which is exposed to the sun; if it’s orange, it’s a sign that it’s close to maturity.
Mature carrots have a smooth texture and a firm, crisp crunch when bitten. If the carrot is soft or rubbery, it’s a sign that it’s overripe or has been in the ground too long.
Carrots will start to grow tall, green stalks with feathery leaves. This signifies that the carrot has finished growing and is ready for harvest. The leaves are also an indication of the carrot’s health. If the leaves are wilted or yellow, it’s a sign that the carrot needs to be harvested immediately.
The ultimate test of whether a carrot is finished growing is the taste. Carrots harvested at the right time have a sweet, earthy flavour, while overripe or underripe carrots taste bitter or woody.
In conclusion, there are several ways to tell when your carrots are finished growing, including time since sowing, size, colour, texture, top growth, and taste. By paying attention to these signs, you can ensure that your carrots are harvested at the right time, giving you the best flavour and nutritional value. Happy harvesting!
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!