Interested in growing carrots but wondering how long they take to grow? How long do carrots take to grow to maturity if planted later in the season? Learn all you need to know about the stages of carrot growth and the carrot life cycle from gardening guru Liessa Bowen.
Carrots are a well-liked veggie and a breeze to cultivate in a backyard garden. Carrots may be planted in the ground, in raised beds, or amongst other plants in the garden.
Carrots may be grown successfully in pots. Carrots, from the tiniest seed to the largest orange root vegetable, are delicious no matter how they are grown.
Grow your carrots confidently if you familiarize yourself with their fundamental requirements and developmental phases.
In addition to full light, fairly loose and well-drained soil, and somewhat cold temperatures, carrots need just these conditions for optimal growth.
You’ll need patience while you wait for the seeds to germinate, diligence in keeping the plot weed-free, and diligence in watering your seeds and seedlings as they begin their trip from seed to crunchy carrot snack. Let’s explore the stages of carrot growth and the length of time the plant spends in each.
Commonly cultivated crops like potatoes and carrots need specific approaches to farming. Seed potatoes are portions of fully developed potatoes that retain eyes or buds that may be used to grow new plants. Farmers may swiftly and easily develop many potato plants using this strategy.
A mature carrot plant’s foliage will grow if its top is above ground, but the carrot will not renew. This is because carrots have a short life cycle, just two years.
The plant’s first year is spent establishing its taproot and generating leaves; the following year, it blooms and produces seeds. Once the plant has finished producing its seeds, it will die.
Different Carrots Varieties:
Five broad types of carrots are available: Danvers, Nantes, Imperator, Chantenay, and Mini. Within each of these classes, there are a plethora of unique subclasses to explore.
The Imperator variety of carrots accounts for the vast majority of commercial plantings. This is because carrots from Imperator’s cultivars always turn out to be uniformly bright orange.
Taste, yields, top growth, length, uniformity, colour, and disease resistance are all important considerations when growers choose a cultivar.
The most important characteristics of commercially viable carrots are their colour and consistency.
To put it simply, carrots are flowers. They are mustard family members and come in yellow, orange, and red hues.
The life cycle of a carrot consists of four distinct stages: seed, bud, juvenile, and adult. The bud emerges from a carrot seed and develops into a baby carrot.
What Are The Stages Of Carrot Growth?
Carrots, technically known as Dacus Carota, may be grown for over a year because of their biannual nature. However, the stages of carrot growth vary between the two seasons.
Planting the seeds, waiting for them to germinate, the emergence of the first set of true leaves and taproot, developing the vegetative phase, and finally, the harvest.
Your plant will become dormant before the beginning of the second growing season. Your dormant carrots will resume growing as soon as spring arrives.
The second-season carrot growth phases are flowering umbel formation and seed maturation.
For me, the best carrots come from annual plants, but sometimes the only way to obtain the seeds is to wait for the plant to produce them.
Let’s look at what a carrot looks like at each age as it develops.
1) Selecting Seeds:
Growing carrots may be an enjoyable hobby. Carrots are a fun crop for everyone to cultivate, but they are particularly popular among young people.
Nothing beats planting a little brown seed, patiently waiting as the carrot greens expand, and harvesting a large, beautiful carrot.
You may be shocked to find out how many different kinds of carrot seeds are available. Carrots come in many shapes and sizes, with pointy and rounded ends, and in a wide spectrum of colours besides orange.
Carrots may be found in a wide spectrum of hues, from orange to red, yellow to white to pink and purple.
Choose a dependable seed bank to purchase your seeds from. Carrot seeds have a shelf life of roughly three years, so you may safely keep them yearly if you want to grow your crop.
Carrot seeds lose their viability rapidly after three years, and even if they do germinate, the success rate will be minimal.
Carrots are versatile since they may be planted in large quantities in a short area and harvested in the spring and autumn.
Naturally, a carrot won’t keep growing after you pick it. If you want to plant some in the spring and more in the autumn, you may want to invest in several seed packets.
2) Sowing Seeds
Carrots need full exposure to sunlight and rich soil to thrive. Carrots need at least 6 hours but preferably 10 hours of direct sunshine daily.
The soil should drain properly; sand is preferable. Carrots, like other vegetables, thrive in soil rich in organic matter.
If you want your carrots to grow smooth and straight, you’ll need to plant them in a bed 8 to 12 inches deep with good drainage. Soil pH between 6.0 and 6.8 is optimal for growing carrots, although a range of 5.5 to 7.5 is acceptable.
Starting seeds inside and transferring them to outdoor gardens is a popular way to beat the heat and get a jump start on the growing season.
Carrots, however, are better sown outdoors in their final locations. Therefore, this method is not recommended. You must choose a spot with the right amount of sun and soil before planting seeds.
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How to Sow:
Carrot rows are a popular method of cultivation. Plant the seeds a quarter of an inch deep and one inch apart for clean rows.
Make as many parallel rows as you want, spaced from 12 to 24 inches apart. Once the seeds have germinated, they must be separated by 2 to 4 inches before being thinned.
Carrots may be grown on a raised bed or even a huge container for more efficient use of space. Plant each seed a quarter of an inch deep and an inch apart. Seeds placed densely may fill a limited area.
One seedling should be left every three to four inches after the seeds have germinated and begun to produce leaves.
You may set them up in a grid or be a little more random with the spacing. Distances between plants don’t have to be precise as long as there are a few inches.
After planting seeds, the soil should be kept damp but not soaked. Tiny carrot seeds often lose moisture. Make sure your seeds are always damp by watering them often. Keep your fingers crossed that your seeds will sprout.
3) Germination Process:
Depending on the soil’s temperature and moisture, germination might begin 10 to 12 days after planting. In cooler climates, germination may take many weeks.
The first root formation (the “radicle”) occurs now. The radicle is the part of a plant that grows into the soil to tap into water and nutrients.
A little sprout will emerge from the earth shortly after this radicle has matured and developed in the sun’s direction. Weeds should be pulled by hand from the area surrounding the sprout since it is too soon to apply mulch.
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The cotyledon, the first green leaf you see, is technically not a leaf at all. Cotyledons, the first leaves that emerge from a seed, appear distinct.
When a carrot seed germinates, the first green parts to appear are the cotyledons, which are long and slender. Don’t worry if the cotyledons don’t appear like the characteristic frilly carrot leaves.
Cotyledons are the first apparent indicator above ground that your seeds have grown, appearing immediately after germination. The genuine leaf stage rapidly follows the cotyledon stage.
The cotyledons become yellow and fall off soon after the first true leaves appear, making way for the genuine leaves to take center stage.
The whole process, from emergence through shedding and complete replacement by genuine leaves, may take up to two weeks in a carrot plant.
5) Formation Of True Leaves And Taproot:
Your young carrot plant uses nutrients saved for a long time before development; these nutrients gradually deplete as the plant grows.
The taproot, or primary root, will grow first, followed by the side roots. We consume the taproots of the carrots before they mature into full-fledged carrots. Taproots are similar to baby carrots in appearance.
The real leaves will appear after that, but the plants can conduct photosynthesis and sustain themselves by then. The appearance of leaves on my young carrot gives me great joy.
Carrots need some space between plants to have a strong root. Therefore, thinning is essential. Too close proximity will cause competition for space, light, and nutrients among the roots.
Pull the additional carrots straight up from the ground and carefully thin them out. They’re so little now that they should be simple to extract.
Carrots must be thinned so there is only one plant every two to three inches down the row if planted in rows. Carrots need to be thinned so that there are about 2–4 inches of space between each plant if planted in a raised bed or container garden.
The process of thinning might be spaced out if desired. One carrot should be left every 1 to 2 inches after the first thinning when the plants have just a few genuine leaves. After another 3–4 weeks, thin again, leaving one carrot every 2–4 inches.
The first batch of carrots you thinned down was probably too little to consume. Smaller carrots thinned out in a second round are safe to consume and may be harvested early for use as baby carrots.
7) Vegetative Growth:
Your carrots will see rapid growth right now. Carrot roots will become chunkier, and the leaves will grow thicker and bushier. Bright sunshine, moderate temperatures, and steady rainfall are all essential for plant growth at this time.
Carrots need a chilly climate to thrive. Temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for their development.
Too much cold or heat might destroy or severely slow the plant’s development. Keep the soil wet and the plants in full, direct sunshine throughout this first stage of development.
There aren’t many insect pests that target carrots, but there are a few that you should be aware of. If you have any issues with your carrot crop, it’s best to take care of them as soon as possible so they don’t worsen.
8) Harvesting Time:
The shoulders, or the top section of your root crops, are generally visible when it is time to harvest. Carrots are often treated as annuals in home gardens, but if allowed to overwinter, they will bloom and produce seeds the following year.
You may use a shovel, a gardening knife, or a gardening fork to loosen the soil before harvesting carrots. To prevent harming your carrots, you should proceed with extreme caution.
Waiting for rain is also recommended since it can soften the soil and simplify harvesting. The carrot plant may be dug out by gently pulling on the tips.
How to Harvest:
Don’t pull the green carrot tops out of the ground simply because you want to. If you do this, you’ll waste a lot of carrots and have to sift through the dirt to find any usable pieces.
To begin harvesting a row or cluster of carrots, you must first choose the individual plants. You don’t have to pick a complete row at once, but it’s easier to deal with them if you do so in groups. This is because picking them requires disturbing the soil.
Dig around the carrots you intend to plant using a shovel, spade, or garden fork to break up the dirt. Carrots are ready to be pulled when the soil around them has been loosened, and the roots can be wiggled freely.
Carrots should be readily detached from the dirt around them. If not, try working the dirt till it’s looser. If you pull too forcefully, you may uproot your carrots from the soil.
How long does it take for carrots to grow?
Carrots have varying times to harvest depending on the variety. They are ready to be harvested after 55 to 65 days. However, you may pluck a couple early and consume them as baby carrots.
For example, Nantes, Chantenay, and Imperator require roughly 70 days longer than other kinds to mature. On the other hand, the Danvers carrot may not be ready for picking for another 75 days.
Growing carrots has its challenges, but the rewards are great. You’ll need patience as you watch them grow. Water the soil regularly after planting and during the vegetative development stage.
To encourage healthy root growth, you’ll also need to provide deep, light, loose, and rich soil. Otherwise, you’re missing out on the great enjoyment of exploring exotic carrot kinds in a rainbow of hues.
And, of course, the greatest part is digging out a large, crisp carrot and eating it right out of the ground when it is at its most delicious and fresh.