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Carrots in the Garden

October 3rd, 2011

I’ve grown carrots in the garden almost every year. Here at Chiot’s Run they aren’t very fond of the heavy lean soil and thus they don’t get very large. As a result I generally grow the small round variety. In my mom’s garden however, she’s spent years amending the soil and it’s now a deep rich loam that grows some of the most beautiful carrots you’ve ever seen.

We planted these carrots at the end of June and have been waiting for them to size up. Of course you can start picking carrots as soon as they form small roots, but we prefer to let ours mature and harvest them as a fall and winter vegetable. Leaving them in the ground until after the weather turns cold seems to make them sweeter.

A great many different varieties of carrots were planted, as I finished off all the seed packets that were in my seed box. I did have a few new packs of ‘King Midas’ and ‘Sunshine Mix’ from Renee’s Garden, so there are a good number of those in the 4 x 10 foot row of carrots.

Another benefit of growing carrots is that you don’t have to harvest them all right away. You can leave them in the ground and harvest them as needed, especially if you planted them later in the summer so they mature in fall. Last year we harvested the last of our carrots in January right before the ground was fully frozen. It’s like they store themselves. We will dig these before we put the garden to bed, and they’ll be stored in the fridge or maybe in a box of sand in the garage, where they’ll stay sweet and crunchy for quite a while.

When I have more garden space I’d like to start growing both a spring and a fall crop of carrots. They’re one of my favorite root vegetables, especially when roasted, so I’d love having them on my table for more months of the year. I really appreciate that they don’t need much processing to stay fresh in storage, saving me precious time. Along with carrots, I hope to grow a wider variety root vegetables in my garden each year including celeriac, parsnips, rutabagas, and more.

What’s your favorite root vegetable? Do you have a kind of root vegetable to recommend?

21 Comments to “Carrots in the Garden”
  1. Gwen on October 3, 2011 at 5:32 am

    I grew a few carrots last year but unfortunately didn’t get good shapes because the ground was so hard.

    Unfortunately I can’t recommend any as I’m new to gardening, but I’m trying out some purple carrots this year in a raised garden bed, so hopefully that works out better for me! :)

    Your Mom’s carrots look amazing.

    Reply to Gwen's comment

  2. daisy on October 3, 2011 at 5:35 am

    Your carrots look lovely! What a great idea to store them in sand, I had never thought of that.

    This year we are growing potatoes and carrots. We love roasted sweet potatoes too and they are a breeze to grow here in Florida.
    Enjoy your harvest!

    Reply to daisy's comment

  3. deedee on October 3, 2011 at 5:58 am

    i love sweet carrots. they are on my list for planting my first garden next year (we just moved from an apt to a house with a nice size back yard :)). ill keep the sand storage in mind. also – what is that board with the holes in it? a seed spacer? pardon if this is a common thing since im a complete noob at this :)

    Reply to deedee's comment

    • Susy on October 3, 2011 at 9:11 am

      Yes, it’s a seed spacer that I had Mr Chiots make for me, I have a few with different distances for planting a variety of things. Here’s my post about my square foot gardening templates.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. Melissa on October 3, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Cosmic purples and Chantenay Red Cores are my favorites. The Chantenays are a great winter variety– very sweet and a short, fat carrot! Oh I can’t wait until November when they are ready!!! I just keep sowing more and more of them anywhere I find space in the garden right now!

    Reply to Melissa's comment

    • Susy on October 3, 2011 at 9:13 am

      I think the fat one in the picture are Chantenay as I had a few seeds left from last year. I too love short fat carrots, oxhearts are quite wonderful!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. Songbirdtiff on October 3, 2011 at 8:25 am

    I just sewed my first carrot seeds a few weeks ago and they are starting to sprout. I just did a small crop to see how they do this fall. I don’t really like raw carrots (from the store anyway) but I do loved them roasted and in soups.

    Reply to Songbirdtiff's comment

  6. Allison on October 3, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Those carrots are gorgeous. We don’t have much luck growing them :(

    Reply to Allison's comment

  7. kristin @ going country on October 3, 2011 at 8:54 am

    RUTABAGAS! Yes! I love them. I did not know I loved them, however, until last winter when the MiL bought some and then I ate about a pound of them by myself. Somehow I forgot to buy seed for them this spring, however, so I didn’t grow any. Stupid.

    I did, however, grow turnips, which have been nice in stews and things and are also yummy raw. If you like the taste of raw broccoli, that is, which it reminds me of.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  8. goatpod2 on October 3, 2011 at 8:57 am

    I like most veggies.


    Reply to goatpod2's comment

  9. Corrie on October 3, 2011 at 9:29 am

    I’ve had great luck growing carrots. I sow them all spring and summer. Whenever a little spot opens up in the garden, I sow it with either carrots or beets. My mom loves to pickle beets, so I try to grow a lot for her. I also tried sweet potatoes grown in large pots this year and was excited to get some really nice ones! I tried “Porto Rico” and another bush type.

    Reply to Corrie's comment

  10. Amy @ Homestead Revival on October 3, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Susy, despite the fact that one of the largest carrot growers in the nation is literally only a few miles down the road, I can not get carrots to sprout in my garden. I thought it might have to do with the fact that the soil was not “fine” enough and so I tried working it better this year, but still almost none of them sprouted. I thought the birds might be eating the seedlings, so I covered the area with bird netting. Zero. It’s so frustrating!

    Can you give me any tips to get them to sprout? Then maybe I can work on growing them nice and large.

    Reply to Amy @ Homestead Revival's comment

    • Susy on October 3, 2011 at 9:48 am

      I have a tip that might work for you. Carrots seeds need to be kept moist to sprout, and they take around 2 weeks to germinate. So you can water them lightly a few times a day to keep the soil moist, or you can cover the area with burlap and water when the burlap looks dry. Check under the burlap each day and when you see the first tiny carrot remove it and water daily until they’re all sprouting.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  11. MAYBELLINE on October 3, 2011 at 10:58 am

    My favorite are beets.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  12. Daedre Craig on October 3, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I’m terrible at growing carrots. I guess the only root vegetable I’ve ever grown successfully is potato.

    Reply to Daedre Craig's comment

  13. itchbay on October 3, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    I have not grown carrots in my garden at this house, but did try growing them years ago. I have grown beets and radishes, which are fun and delicious, and quite easy to grow.

    I have not tried celeriac, but mainly because we already get enough of those from our CSA, I’d be overwhelmed by growing my own.

    Reply to itchbay's comment

  14. Marcia on October 3, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Carrots are my favorite root crop. I find that they are the vegetable you can tell the most difference between organic and not, the taste is just THAT different. I grew 4 kinds this year and I love seeing the different colors in my meals. I grew purple haze, cosmic purple, atomic red and Nantes this year. I found the atomic reds to be a bit bitter and will not grow them again. I might try a yellow or white carrot. Any recommendations on those?

    Reply to Marcia's comment

  15. Lori on October 3, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    I have no luck with carrots, but I keep trying! I will try the burlap trick… I am dying to try some crazy colored carrots.

    As for other root vegetables, I love to grow turnips! You really get a lot of food out of them for the effort and they have always been really easy for me to grow. They mature early and pretty quickly, which is good for the gardening self-esteem! :-)

    Turnips are good raw with a little salt, but even better roasted with lots of onions. I’ve made a “mash” of roasted turnips and potaotoes, which is also very good. The tops are really tasty as well – I braise them southern style with a ham bone.

    Reply to Lori's comment

  16. sarah on October 3, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Beautiful. Your blog is wonderful! If ever I need inspiration to get my hands dirty in the garden, I just go to Chiot’s Run! I love your seed planter/spacer. I seem to remember a past post about these (you made them) Do you put one seed in each hole or a few and then thin? I HATE thinning – I always feel so bad. Also, do you sell your seed spacers? Thanks ahead!

    Reply to sarah's comment

  17. Sincerely, Emily on October 3, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    I love the color of carrots. So brilliant and vibrant. I grew carnival carrots last year. They were nice. Leeks would be a favorite to me. will try to grow them again this year. haven’t been successful at them yet. Emily

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

  18. KimH on October 3, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    I love fresh carrots too. Most of the ones from the grocery store are tasteless.
    When I was a kid, I lived in the middle of commercial agriculture and often times in the winter, they’d grow the most awesome large carrots. They were sooo good, and I’d help myself to a snack often. Every once in a while I’ll run across a great carrot, but none compare to the memories. ;)

    My daughter & I just became acquainted with parsnips about 5 years ago.. and man do we love them. I never met a root crop I didnt love. ;)

    Reply to KimH's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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