Why Didn’t My Carrots Grow?

Last year, I had so many carrots, I gave them to anyone who showed even an inkling of interest. My family. My friends. My boyfriend. My boyfriend’s family. Everyone received purple carrots and baby carrots from me, and I lived off them for months.

This year, you see my bounty below. “Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

IMG_5477
Yep–six carrots. How depressing.

What happened? Where did I go wrong? I used seeds from Baker Creek, just like last year. I planted them in the same plot. In fact, this year, I even did research on companion crops to make sure I was planting complimentary fruits and vegetables.

After some R&R (research and reflection), I realized my error. I did not water my carrots as often as I had the year before. We had some odd weather here in Zone 6 in 2018. We would go days without rain, then have downpours that would last hours. Of course, I could have pulled out the hose and watered my carrots as I did in 2017, but meteorologists would often call for rain the next day… rain that would never fall.

I’m not blaming my local forecasters. I should have just watered nightly as I did last year.  Now that I’ve seen the error in my ways, I will not make the same mistake in 2019.

If you are struggling to grow carrots, make sure that you are watering daily, particularly if you have sandy soil as I do. You will also want to follow these other tips:

Choose a Good Location

Since carrots are a root vegetable, you will want to avoid planting them in heavy soil. That being said, I have clay-like soil and have had good luck with carrots I simply plant baby carrots so that they don’t have to grow down very far. Additionally, before I sow my seeds, I sprinkle light soil in my garden and plant them on top of that.

Plant Early

Depending on your region, you will want to plant in early spring, when it’s still relatively cool (between 55 and 75 degrees F). If you’ve never planted carrot seeds: it’s easy (which is one of the many reasons I love them). You simply sprinkle the seeds into neat rows on top of the soil. After the seeds are sprinkled, water them thoroughly. It is also important to keep them moist as they germinate (I don’t think I paid my seedlings enough mind early on).

Thin the Herd

I always feel a bit guilty during “thinning season,” but you want to make sure your carrots are not growing too closely together. When you start to see seedlings, (about a week after sowing, depending on the weather), thin the plants to 1 to 2 inches apart. About a month later, as your plants grow, thin the carrots to 3 to 4 inches apart.

Really–as my success last year proves–carrots are not only delicious, they are easy to grow. If you follow these simple tips, you will have plenty to eat next fall.

Do you have any tips? Feel free to share them below!

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