Carrots are one of the most popular vegetables that people plant in their gardens. If you prefer starting your plants from seed, you might be wondering how many carrot seeds to plant per hole. To answer this question, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about planting carrot seeds.
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How to Grow a Carrot from Seeds
There are many things that go into growing a healthy carrot plant, including the number of seeds per hole. But, if you’re not planting the seeds in the right conditions, you’re unlikely to have success.
Here are the conditions to consider ensuring your seeds grow into healthy plants.
Carrots do best when you plant them after the last hard frost. If there’s a random night where the temperature drops below freezing, the plants will usually be fine. But, you definitely want to wait until the hard frosts have stopped.
You should also consider the soil temperature. Carrots are a root vegetable, which means that the soil conditions drastically affect their quality. Monitor the frost conditions, but make sure you measure the ground temperature, too. Carrots do best when the soil is at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.33°C). If it’s too hot or too cold, the carrots might taste bitter.
Be sure to check the soil pH to monitor the acidity. Carrots like a neutral soil with a pH of around 6.5. They don’t like acidic soil, so if your soil pH is any lower than this, you should correct it.
Like most vegetables, carrots like loose, loamy soil. Because they’re a root vegetable, though, the soil quality affects them in ways you don’t have to think about with other types of veggies. If the soil is too compact or rocky, the carrots either won’t develop or will be deformed.
The first few weeks of growth are the most important for carrots as this is when the taproot, which will mature into the carrot, grows.
The best way to improve the quality of your soil is composting. Not only does composting help with the texture of your soil, but it can also help balance the nutrients.
How to Plant Carrot Seeds
You can grow carrots seeds in the ground or a raised garden or container as long as the soil is deep enough. Most carrots need deep soil so the root can develop, but some varieties are smaller and do well in shallow soil.
When planting seeds, make sure you don’t push them into the soil too deeply. Dig small, shallow holes so you can place the seeds just under the surface. The best way to arrange them is in rows, leaving about 15 inches or sp between each seed.
Now, the answer to the question you’ve been waiting for. Put two to three carrots seeds in each hole. Cover them lightly with soil, water, and wait. You should start to see some sprouts developing in about a week, but in the right conditions, it may take as little as five days.
After about a month, you can go back and plant additional seeds in between the growing carrots. Carrots don’t take long to grow – about two months or so from seed to harvest. The idea is that, once you harvest the first batch, you will have a second batch a few weeks later.
When to Harvest Carrots
Since carrots are root vegetables, the only way to make sure they are ready is to pick one. Make sure the carrot looks healthy and strong. It should be crisp and crunchy. Wash away the dirt, then taste it. If it’s ready, it’s time to harvest.
In the summer, you can pull carrots as soon as they are ready. In the fall, though, you can leave them in the ground a little longer. Just make sure you pull them all before the first frost.
After harvesting, it’s important to store your carrots correctly. To make sure they last as long as possible, cut off the leaves. Remember, the carrot is the root of the plant, and the leaves and stems will still pull some of the nutrients from it when it’s harvested. Cutting off the greens is the only way to prevent this from happening.
Next, lay the carrots outside in the sun to let the skin dry a bit. This seals in the freshness and helps them last a little longer.
One they dry, place them in a Ziploc bag or air-tight container and place them in the coldest part of the fridge. Leave them unwashed; just remember to wash them before you eat them.
Also, keep carrots away from potatoes, pears, and apples, which produce ethylene gas that will affect the freshness and taste. When stored properly, fresh carrots can last up to three months.
Benefits of Growing Carrots from Seed
If you plant a lot of vegetables, you know that for some things, it’s easier to start the seeds indoors a few weeks before the last frost and then transplant them outside. This approach is a great way to extend the growing season for a lot of vegetables, but it’s not always the right choice for carrots.
Why? Because carrots are root vegetables. When transplanting seedlings, the roots are the part of the plant that is most likely to be damaged.
With other vegetables, this might not matter very much. The strong plants will reestablish their roots underground. The plant will grow strong and begin to produce fruit. With carrots, though, the root is the edible part, so it’s important to do everything possible to support root health.
For the best results, you should plant two to three carrot seeds per hole, but that’s only a small part of what you need to know to successfully grow a carrot from a seed.
Because carrots are root vegetables, soil health is extremely important. Make sure your soil has the right nutrients and the right texture before planting.
Finally, take care of your carrots after you harvest them. But cutting off the greens, letting them dry in the sun, and storing them in your refrigerator properly, your fresh carrots can last as long as three months.