Growing Big Carrots
Since we get many compliments on our carrots for their size, appearance, and taste, I thought I would share how we grow them. Carrots need room to grow. You need to provide good soil that enables them to grow straight.
One year we just planted the carrot seeds in a regular row. Not taking special care of them yielded ugly, misshaped carrots. You can also get really thin and short carrots that aren’t good for much by improperly caring for the carrots.
The first thing we do is prepare our soil by tilling the ground as deep as we can. We remove any clods of clay or roots that might be present. We form a row that is higher than let’s say a row for lettuce. This allows the carrots ample room to grow straight down. We have a relatively thin layer of topsoil. It is sandy loam and very fertile, but you hit red clay without digging very deep. Building up your row gives the carrots more room to grow without hitting the layer of clay.
The only other thing we do is aggressive thinning. We plant the seeds in a straight line down the middle of the row. We take a stick an draw a line ¼” deep. Then we drop the seeds along the shallow furrow and cover them lightly. As the carrots start forming nice green tops, we commence to thinning. We throw the tiny carrots to the chickens and/or give them to the rabbits. The goats like them too. There is no special selection process, but when you look at the tops you can see which carrots are larger. Leave those that are bigger and more developed. Pick the smaller ones which allows the bigger ones more room in which to grow even bigger.
As the growing season continues, the carrots that you pick in the thinning process are perfect for cooking and eating. We continue to feed the tops to our animals. By the end of the season you have rows of sweet, tender, huge carrots. Ours don’t get tough or stringy in the middle.
So the next time you are planting carrots make sure that you are giving them enough room to grow. Its not much of a secret, but it really works.