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Guide to Carrots

Photo: Jennifer Causey
Freshly-harvested carrots are full of earthy sweetness. And they’re easy to grow!

SEASON: Spring and fall

CHOOSING: Select carrots that are blemish-free and unbroken. If the green foliage is still attached, it shouldn’t be wilted.

STORING: If the green tops are still attached, snip them off about 2 inches above the orange root. This prevents the leaves from pulling moisture out of the carrot. Place carrots in a produce bag, and store them in the coldest part of your refrigerator.

GROWING: Carrots are best grown from seeds sown directly into sunny, well-prepared beds. If the soil in your garden is heavy or rocky, carrots may be stunted, misshapen, or forked, so either amend the soil or try small, round varieties such as Paris Market. Grow carrots in a raised bed or in a container for best results.

Seeds can take up to three weeks to push through the soil, so many gardeners like to sow a row of carrots next to a row of radishes to mark the spot. The radishes pop out of the ground quickly and will be ready to harvest by the time the carrots begin growing.

Thin carrots to stand 2 to 4 inches apart, giving each room to grow. Keep the soil evenly moist by watering weekly. You can pull and eat them anytime, whether they are small or large. Leave your fall carrots in the soil until you are ready to use them. If a severe freeze is expected, mulch to prevent the soil from freezing.