August Plant of the Month: Carrots!
Carrot Daucus carota is an edible plant from the Apiaceae family. Carrot seeds should be direct sown in your Dome in spring or fall. They grow best in the center zone of your Dome in sandy loam soils that are well-drained and prefer a lot of sun in the cooler seasons. The seeds are tiny, and seedlings should be thinned to 3″ apart and can be harvested 50-75 days from seed.
Funny fact: Did you know that carrot leaves were worn in the hair in 17th century England?
Carrots do well with companion plants like tomatoes, radishes, sage, and rosemary, as well as with pungent companion plants such as onions, leeks, and chives to help repel carrot root flies.
What are the best varieties of carrots? This season we planted carrot seeds saved from previous harvests, including rainbow carrots (purple, red, orange), and they all popped up. Growing Spaces employee Tina would also like to recommend Red Core Chantenay carrots.
“In my little raised bed garden (only 7″ deep), I planted Red Core Chantenay carrots and just harvested my first one Saturday. They were what I was able to buy locally from Seeds of Change. I just tasted it, and I give it two thumbs up.”Tina Jones
The best way to know if it’s time to harvest carrots is to check the diameter of the carrot just below the soil line. Most carrots are ready to harvest when the shoulders are 1/2 to 3/4 inch (1.5 to 2 cm.) in diameter, but again, there is much variation depending on the variety. If you are stuck on when to harvest, we recommend consulting your seed packet or reviewing this informative article from Gardening Know How: How and when to pick carrots.
Root vegetables like carrots are perfect if you are growing a survival garden to maximize nutrient-dense food production. They can be eaten raw, juiced, cooked, roasted, and prepared in many ways and are also medicinal. If you find yourself with an abundance of carrots this season, we recommend turning them into a lovely carrot cake as carrots are a sweet vegetable, and who doesn’t love cake?