Because our climate here in San Diego allows it, we try growing carrots all year long. It’s a versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked, and our bunny loves the carrot tops. Carrots not only are tasty but also contain lots of nutrients like antioxidants and vitamin A, fiber, vitamin C and much more.
When I say that we can grow carrots year-round, I have to admit that growing them during our cooler months, October – May, is much easier than during our dry summer months (simply because it does not rain). However, I have learned that growing carrots in the summer is doable if they are planted in a shady area of the garden.
Here is our YouTube video about how to grow carrots:
The most common problem with growing carrots, though, is their slow germination. The seed is so small that pushing through the soil is difficult, so if the soil is crusted or the topsoil is dry, the seedling may not make it. To grow carrots in a warm climate, I plant the seeds very shallowly in soil mixed with lots of homemade compost. I sow my carrot seeds ½ to ¾ of an inch deep when soil moisture levels are lower in the summer months, and a little deeper when we have cooler weather and rain. During summer when it’s hot, I make sure to water in the early morning as well as the late evening to keep soil moist and minimize evaporation.
Carrots do need direct sunlight, 6 – 8 hours normally; however, we do not want to heat the soil and therefore dry it out, so during the first week until plants sprout and mature, we shade our carrots with a fiber cloth that gives them the amount of light they need while keeping soil temperatures lower. We also always mulch our carrots to help lower the soil temperature and keep it moist. Good heat tolerant carrots are nates and romance.
Depending on the climate and which variety of carrots you are growing, usually they are ready to harvest in 50-75 days. I generally leave my carrots in the ground if possible and harvest only what we’ll eat because they typically will go soft after a few days in the fridge. Of course, because we grow a lot of carrots, we end up harvesting and preserving large amounts, too.
Our favorite carrot dishes are listed below:
We also preserve carrots when we have more than we can eat. And I will cook and make a carrot puree, which I freeze in reusable bags or mason jars, to use for creamy carrot soups. We also cut them into coins, then blanch and freeze them for use in soups, stews and stir-fry.