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How to grow long straight carrots

Updated on March 11, 2016
Patsybell profile image

I inherited my love of gardening from my mother and grandmother. I am a garden blogger, freelance writer, and Master Gardener emeritus.

Gourmet Carrots

"Sunshine Orange and Yellow" carrots  can be harvested early (like these) or grown about 2 inches longer..
"Sunshine Orange and Yellow" carrots can be harvested early (like these) or grown about 2 inches longer.. | Source

Deeper soil for carrots

Increase the loose soil depth with a simple box.
Increase the loose soil depth with a simple box. | Source

Grow carrots in a box

Have you ever noticed that the smaller the food, the more expensive it is? Since this carrot combo has colored up, I pulled a few, just to see how they were tasting and growing.

"Sunshine Orange and Yellow" Carrot is a Renee's Garden Seeds exclusive. As June comes to an end, this carrot combo is not yet mature. They will develop brighter coloring and grow a couple more inches.

These two colorful varieties, Yellowstone and Nantes Forto, seed is equally divided. Each packet has more than a thousand seeds, plenty for two crops, a spring and a fall planting (plus, next year too).

Build a carrot box – the box sits on top of the raised bed. Use any scrap wood or new lumber. Cut four squares 1 foot long. For example: I used a four foot length of 2x8 scrap wood. Cut into four equal pieces.

Nail the ­four 2x8x12 pieces to create a box frame with no top or bottom. Set the carrot box onto the outdoor raised bed. You can easily place the carrot box anywhere in the garden to allow crop rotation.

Maximizing garden space - Fill box with light garden soil. Plant carrots in the box. Plant companion plants, like onions and lettuce, a few inches away from the outside of the box. As the lettuce is harvested, there will be more room for the bulbing onions. When the carrots are harvested, lift the box to give the surrounding onions all the space needed to grow to their full size.

Growing - I started with well worked soil in a raised bed. Mix in plenty of organic matter, keeping the soil light and rock free. Fortunately, there were no disease or insect problems in the raised bed.

The carrot bed box can move to any section of the garden. Buy a packet of carrot seed and plant in more than one location to increase your chances of discouraging insects and disease.

Young and tender

As carrots are harvested, succession plant with squash or peppers, then more carrots.
As carrots are harvested, succession plant with squash or peppers, then more carrots. | Source

Make it easy

Container Carrots - No room in the garden for carrots? Grow these small carrots in containers: "Baby Babette", a French Carrot, or "Round Romeo”, little ball shaped carrots. Both of these carrots are from Renee's Garden Seeds. In a few weeks, I'll Show and Tell about Baby Babette.

Another small carrot for containers is Mignon, a sweet, nearly coreless baby carrot from Nichols Garden Nursery. This is just so darned cute, you will wish that you grew more. Consider succession planting, seeding every two weeks all spring.

Second Season – enrich the soil in the raised bed, place the carrot box on top of the raised bed. Fill with rich, light garden soil. Sparsely seed the spoil, barely covering the seed. Plant a nasturtium or calendula in a corner for color.

If too few seeds germinate, plant a few more seed, filling in blank spots. Thin carrot seedlings. Crowded carrots will not reach their full size.

Grow more carrots – the fall crop of carrots here at Hobson Estates, will be Purple Haze. They are purple outside and orange inside. These long carrots, growing 8 to 10 inches, are a perfect use for the square foot mini raised bed. You will grow beautiful, straight carrots with the added depth of rich, light soil.

I bought Purple Haze carrots from Nichols Garden Nursery. Purple Haze is easy to find, for example, Purple Haze Carrots – Territorial Seed and Purple Haze (F1) - Johnny's Selected Seeds

Eat Carrots - My favorite way to eat carrots is fresh and crisp. Little carrots make great veggie dippers. They are small enough to serve whole, lightly steamed or, roasted with other fresh vegetables and herbs. Even these sweet and crunchy carrots should be peeled for the best taste.

Store bought carrots are often thick and woody, often months old. What they call baby carrots in grocery stores are really drilled or lathed giant carrots machined into short, chunky carrot stubs.

Carrots were not originally orange. Dutch growers selected orange carrots in the 17th century to honor the House of Orange. Early carrots were usually white or purple.

The box does not have to be square, you can build a 1'x2' box, for example. Make your own homemade carrot box to ensure deep soil for plenty of long, straight homegrown carrots. Or, just make more1-ft square boxes. Simply cut out four same length boards to build a square.

This is the first time to grow carrots and they are worth the garden space. Home grown is always best. Carrots are sweet, tender and worth a try.


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