Carrots are rich sources of Vitamin A and beta-carotene – a good addition to anyone’s diet. They are also very easy to grow, even in your own backyard, making access to healthy food easier!
Once you decide to grow your own carrots and make a patch in the garden or backyard your own carrot patch, it is important to remember a few things. In planting your carrot seeds, remember to choose the soil where you will grow your carrots. You should avoid rocky soil and, if possible, always go for and choose loamy soil as your vegetable bed.
It is also important to be mindful of the spaces between your carrot seeds. Ideally, seeds should be an inch away from each other to ensure decent distribution of soil nutrients.
Lastly, as with other plants, fair amounts of water and sunlight are must-haves in order to guarantee their proper development. Be sure to place your carrot bed in a place that sunlight regularly reaches and to water them regularly. Doing these will avoid growing deformed and undersized carrots.
After tending to your carrots, and a little bit of waiting, you now feel that they are ready. As you go through your garden patch, you feel the excitement at the thought of getting your carrots out.
So in order to avoid any surprises and disappointment, here are some sure-fire ways of checking if your carrots are already mature for harvest.
Things To Observe
Count The Days
Most carrot variants are ready for harvest around 70 to 90 days after planting. Some are good in as early as 60 days. To be sure, double-check the seed packets to see the number of remaining days you have to wait before your carrots are ready.
You can put markers on your calendars when you planted your carrots or set a reminder on your phone or planner to be sure that you won’t forget the proper dates.
Check The Greens
The green leafy part of the plant should be around 8 to 10 inches long at the time they are ready to be pulled out of the ground.
As it is impractical to measure the leaves of your plants one by one with a ruler, you can get a string, measure and cut it to the preferred length, and bring the string instead when you check the carrots.
You can also just try to memorize the estimated length. This makes checking the plants easier when you can compare them to the ruler in your mind’s eye.
The Tops Pop Out
When your carrots are already mature, the top section of the root sometimes starts to show out from the soil.
If you begin to see little orange hats sprouting from the ground, you can be fairly sure that your carrots are more or less ready for harvest.
Check The Size Of The Carrot!
Another way to see if the carrots are ready to be harvested is to check the size of the carrot itself. Just brush off some soil in order to fully see the top part of the root. If the root is around half to a quarter of an inch wide across, that carrot is good to go!
Again, you can go with the string technique if you are unsure of your estimates.
Alternatively, you can mark the lengths on a finger to use instead in measuring the carrots as a super short string can be very easy to lose.
Ask For Help
If you are unsure if your carrots are already ready, or if you forgot to take down the date when you planted them, don’t be afraid to call on a friend who knows vegetables, or a friendly local farmer to check them for you.
Who knows, you can also get even a tip or two from the more knowledgeable guys when it comes to growing your carrots and other crops.
So when you are stuck on the question that how you know when carrots are ready to pick, simply ask for help.
Adjusting The Dates
These guidelines are for those who want to harvest their carrots at their ripe mature age. But there may be times that you would want to harvest the carrots in their “baby” form!
These carrots tend to be sweeter than the usual regular carrots. If you’re gunning for the shorter, smaller carrots, you can begin harvesting around 20 days before the mature day of harvest.
Always remember to be careful when adjusting your harvest date if you plan to pull your carrots out before they mature. Sometimes, picking carrots too early will lead to super baby carrots! These little ones are very hard and contain almost no nutrition.
Alternatively, carrots are sometimes harvested sometime after they mature. These older carrots are a bit bigger and softer than the regular ones. Just make sure to always double-check these longer carrots regularly to avoid waste.
Harvesting your carrots way long after they matured will most often lead to spoilage. The carrot root would not be fit for human consumption anymore. Carrots harvested like this would not be pleasing to anyone at all.
But if you are only engaged in casual farming, leaving carrots you missed to harvest as is will let them go along their usual life cycle.
They will eventually grow flowers and develop seeds which will restart the cycle anew. Just remember to take care of them when the little green leaves begin to sprout and not to miss their harvest dates anew.
Pulling Your Carrots Out
When you are ready to harvest your carrots, you want to loosen the soil to make it easier to pull your crops out. You can do this with a hand or garden trowel by chipping off a small amount of soil. Just be careful not to hit the carrots in the process as doing so will certainly damage them.
You can also use water to make the soil softer by pouring a fair amount on the ground – just enough to loosen the soil, but not too much to make it muddy.
To get your carrot out of the ground, place a firm grip on the leafy parts near the base and tug it out gently. Voila! If you do this right, you should now be holding a carrot in your hand.
Carrots should easily come out of the soil, especially if it has been loosened or watered prior.
Sometimes, in harvesting, mistakes can be made. With a slip of the grip or a tug that is too hard, the carrots can break. Don’t be alarmed when this happens as it is fairly easy to remedy the problem.
With the help of the trusty garden trowel, just dig out the carrot part that was left on the ground. And you can proceed on your way to harvesting the remaining ones.
Harvested carrots should be washed and stored properly. Remove the dirt with running water and store it in a cool and dry container. You can also place them in your refrigerator, just be sure to place them first in an airtight pack.