Scientific Name: Daucus carota L. var. sativa
Eatable portion: Root, leaves
Preferred Temperatures (°F): 61 – 70°F
Preferred pH: 5.5 – 7.0
Plant spacing: Seeds are sown in the top half-inch of soil. They can be scattered in the desired area for a home gardener or established in rows, and then thinned as needed. *Rule of thumb: roots can be large when populations are low and small in higher populations.
Carrots contain high amounts of alpha- and beta-carotene, important in nutrition as precursors for vitamin A. Flesh colors can be purple, red, orange, yellow or white. Deep, friable, fertile, well-drained sandy loam or peat soil is preferred. Shallow and compacted soil can affect long-rooted cultivars. Having a uniform water supply is important in carrot growth since low moisture causes strong flavors to develop and high soil moisture can cause cracking and splitting. Seeds can emerge anywhere from 7 – 20 days after planting. They should be kept weed free throughout the growth. Planting to harvest can be between 70 – 150 days depending on variety and conditions. Several things to check for harvest time include seeing the crown of the carrot above soil, the tops falling somewhat flat and just picking one to see how large they are. Upon harvest, cool immediately if possible and store at 32°F between 1 – 6 months. Storing carrots with the tops can significantly reduce shelf life and carrots should not be stored with ethylene producing items, such as apples, melons, etc.