If you’re wondering how to grow carrots in Florida or anywhere else, then you’re in the right place. This post will teach you how to grow carrots from seed successfully anywhere to give you the best harvest year-round.
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Carrots are cool season root vegetables that everyone would love to grow in their vegetable garden because they’re so delicious.
If you live in a place where there are cool temperatures longer, you probably have no issues growing carrots in cooler months. The same can be done here in Florida with the right timing and technique.
Even for someone like me who has grown in a completely different hardiness zone in the past. In both places I still found success growing many varieties of carrots using the best methods to grow them.
We will discuss all things carrots to educate you about this amazing vegetable crop. Use our table of contents to skip around each topic as we go through the facts about carrots, and how to grow them from seed.
Table of Contents
The techniques we will go over in this post helped me successfully grow homegrown carrots in Washington state and Florida.
Growing carrots is a good idea, especially if you have kids since harvesting them is so much fun. Children will love pulling out their carrots from the ground or container!
Quick Facts About Carrots
- This vegetable is a root crop, which means you eat the tap root..but you can eat the tops too!
- Carrots have a little over 4000 mg of beta-carotene which turns into a little over 8000 IUs of vitamin A.
- Carrots are technically bi-annual as the 2nd year of growth will create white flowers.
- The water content in water can run between 80-90%!
- There are about 20 different species of carrots worldwide as they come in different colors.
- The sugar content in carrots can be about 2-5 grams of sucrose, glucose, xylose, and fructose. Sugar in carrots does not turn into carbs and making them a very healthy treat for everyone.
Types of carrots
Back in the 1800s, this carrot was known for canning and freezing. This type of care is short and bulky and can grow well in hard clay-like soil type.
This is a classic type of carrot that can grow up to 7 inches long and is a good medium size carrot that most people are used to seeing. These carrots have a nice orange color to them and are known for their rich, but sweet flavor.
Known for their nice slender look, imperator carrots can grow up to 10 inches long and are very impressive looking. These carrot plants have a great amount of sugar content in them and you can grow baby carrots with this type just by picking them early.
Nate carrots grow quickly compared to other types of carrots and are known for their round shape from the top to the tip. These are heirloom types of carrots that are originally from France.
What is the Best Season for Growing Carrots?
The best season to grow carrots, especially in Florida is in the early fall and late fall. Carrots cannot handle hot weather, temperatures over 75° Fahrenheit, and prefer cooler temperatures.
This cool-season crop can withstand temperatures below 20 and even lower if a good amount of mulch is applied on top of them.
When to plant carrots seeds
Northern gardeners can sow carrots at least 3 weeks before last spring’s frost. Depending on your growing zone you can get a head start growing this cool season vegetable.
In Florida, the best time to plant carrots depends on what part of Florida you’re gardening in. Here is some guidance on when to start carrot seeds:
North Florida: Aug-March
Central Florida: Aug- March
South Florida: Sept- March
Select the Best varieties of Carrots
You can take your pick on all types of carrots varieties in all kinds of colors.
Some varieties of care that grow well are:
Nantes Half Long
Botanical Interest- Scarlet Nantes carrot seeds
Botanical Interest – Danvers 126 carrot seeds
White Carrot–Lunar White or White Satin
Purple Haze or cosmic purple
Botanical Interest – Cosmic purple carrot seeds
Other carrot varieties:
Chatenay Royal, Yellow bunch, Apache, Six Peace, New Kuroda, Choctaw, and Navajo
How To Grow Carrots from Seed
First, find a location that gets at least 8 hours of sunlight and that has well-drained soil. Carrots are root crops that need good drainage, and stone-free soil to help carrot roots to grow downwards.
Container-grown carrots are a good option, but you can also grow them in grow bags, raised beds, or in-ground beds that have a soil depth of 12 to 26 inches.
Moist soil is the best for germination and growing periods.
Preparing the soil to be rich in organic matter that is well-draining soil, loose soil, and free of large rocks, sticks or weeds is the best type of soil consistency to grow care in.
Organic rich soil is best for carrots if it has a mix of compost, peat moss, vermiculite, and garden soil (native or not native soil).
Soil for carrots should be around a pH of 6.0 to 6.5 and not be too acidic or rich in nitrogen.
Having organic-rich soil that has good aeration is key to growing nutrient-dense mature carrots.
Sowing carrot seeds
Sow seeds shallowly on the soil surface and place a little bit of soil to cover them. A simple way to sow carrot seeds is to make a small trough with your hand or tool and make a shallow indentation in the soil.
You shouldn’t sow carrots any more than 1/4 of an inch deep in the soil.
Get a few seeds in the palm of your hand, and slowly sprinkle a few while going down the line you created.
You can also poke very light indentations with your finger every 2 to 3 inches and sprinkle 2 to 3 seeds in each
However, you decide to sow your needs make sure to lightly sprinkle some soil on top.
The germination process can take up to one to three weeks.
Lay straw or mulch on top of the carrot bed. Carrots do not need light to germinate so you can use a tarp, burlap, or straw on top of your carrots to help them germinate faster.
Soil temperature should be between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit to have successful germination.
Caring for Carrots
Carrots are a low maintenance root crop so you do not need to do much if your growing them. Unless you live in a hot place,
After your carrot tops grow 1 inch tall start thinning them out by pulling out carrots every 2 to 3 inches. This is called thinning which is very important to do since carrots need to be 2-3 inches apart to grow successfully.
Carrots need at least 6 to 8 hours of sun a day for best results.
When your carrot’s seeds are growing in the ground, make sure you keep up with watering. Keeping the soil moist, but not drenched.
Specifically growing gardeners in Florida grow carrots during our drought timeframe, since our rainfall is decreasing at this time we need to make sure to water your carrots regularly.
Overall, it’s is good to know the tops below about how to water carrots:
- Water your carrots at least once every three days.
- A quick tip is to stick your finger in the soil, if 1 inch is dry soil then you should water it.
- Carrots soil should not be drenched and not be too dry
- Carrots do not need much water and shouldn’t be watered every day unless the soil is drying out every day.
- Too much water can suffocate carrots because they can’t get enough oxygen if the soil is too damper around them.
Give your carrots a nitrogen base fertilizer like fish emulsion, but to grow successful root crops like carrots you need more potassium and phosphorus.
Phosphorus and potassium-rich soil will provide the best nutrients for all root crops including carrots. These two nutrients encourage root development that will give you nice long carrots.
One of the best fertilizers in the market that is specifically made for carrots is called “Big A Carrot Fertilizer and Root Vegetable Fertilizers.”
Check it out for yourself!
Pest and Disease
Florida doesn’t have too many pests or diseases that attack carrots but in some instances, you might find past like:
Cutworms, wireworms, leftminers, aphids, and mole crickets
Some diseases that you may see that are fungal:
Alternaria leaf blight
Insects to look out for when you’re growing carrots are:
Carrot rust fly
Harvesting carrots is the fun part because to harvest you have to pull them out of the ground, raised bed, or container you planted them in.
Depending on the variety of carrots can take a couple of months to harvest usually within 2 to 3 months.
You can use the tool called a trowel to loosen up the soil around or carrots to help you pull them out. If you have a large area of carrots growing in an in-ground bed using a broad fork will be helpful.
Storing & preserving
You can store and preserve your carrots in the fridge if they are in an airtight container wrapped with a paper towel or submerged in water.
Place carrots away from apples, pears, and bananas to avoid carrots going bad quicker. Place your carrots in the coldest area of your refrigerator. Carrots will last up to a month in the refrigerator if you use these storage methods.
After you have harvested your carrots do not wash them if you’re storing them for a long time in a dry cool area. Be sure to cut off the carrot tips leaving at least 1 inch.
Place unwashed carrots in a dark cool place where temps do not reach above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Freezing carrots is another way to preserve them for long-term storage as the dan store for up to a year. Cut carrot tips off, and blanch them in boiling water for 5 minutes if they’re whole. Blanch for 2 minutes if they’re in pieces. Drain them and place them in an airtight bag.
Companion Planting for Success
Help your carrots grow by growing them next to vegetable friends like chives, radishes, rosemary, mint, sage, parsley, tomatoes, onions, leeks, lettuce, and beans.
Avoid planting carrots next to foes like parsnips, dill, fennel, and potatoes.
Are carrots easy to grow in Florida?
With the right timing, soil, seeds, and care carrots are relatively easy to grow in all parts of Florida. By following are steps to successfully grow carrots you will have a great carrot harvest every growing season.
Do carrots need full sun?
Carrots need full sun to grow successfully as they need about 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day. Poor sunlight will result in a poor harvest of carrots. They can be in part shade, but your yield would be as good as carrots grow in full sun.
What is the best way to grow carrots?
The best way to grow carrots is by direct seeding in any location that you choose. Carrots are known to do poorly if you start seed inside since they are root crops. Make sure your timing is correct and your germination process is done to give you the best harvest.
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