I am very new at gardening and am learning lots daily! I have been researching how to know when to pull up carrots and I cannot find the answer anywhere. Can anyone tell me how I know when to pull my carrots?
If they are planted very close together, look for the ones with the biggest green foliage that may be crowding other smaller ones next to them. You can pull a few that are also growing very close together so that it will give the nearby ones more room to grow. I do this with beets as their seeds tend to have more than one in a larger cluster. I do plant in a long row, but when some are showing larger tops, and there are smaller ones right next to them, I pull the larger ones. Usually, you can harvest a few times throughout the season, and just pull the bigger ones each time. I do use a good quality fertilizer for root crops, as it has given me some really nice sized carrots and beets. One of my favorite carrots is the stubby Danvers variety which was developed nearby here. If your carrots have gnarly roots and are deformed, its due to a very bad nematode that is called a root knot nematode. These are microscopic and feed off the roots while they develop. There is a 'benefical nematode' that is watered into the soil that will kill the bad ones, as well as other root eating bugs. If you like radishes, try a mixed batch of those too. They will mature in about 40 days, quite fast for a garden plant. Here in Z6, I can almost get three plantings of radishes during a summer months.
I also brush away the soil from the "shoulder" of the carrot where the foliage is attached to the root. If it's a reasonable size (3/4"-1" diameter), I pull it. If it's smaller, I cover it back up with soil and let it grow. I don't grow mass quantites, so it's easy for me to just check a few when I need them.
The orange shoulders should be pushing through the soil when they're ready, and you can see to estimate the size. It's very easy to get carrots too close so they won't grow big, like Ken says, and it's really tough for me to thin them out and throw them away. To avoid this, I mix the seeds of carrots and radishes together. They make really nice bedfellows, and the radishes are nearly ready to harvest by the time the carrots get a good showing of green, thus making room for the carrots to grow. As a bonus, the radishes, I think, discourage those nematodes.
Thanks everyone for the advice on carrots. I think that I may need to thin them out a little bit for sufficient growing room. Sounds like my carrots are still to small to harvest, so I will have to wait a little longer to see the results. Thanks again for all the great advice!
Gran, do you just put one seed per hole and plan the spacing right as you plant? My seed packet says not to thin them, but mine are way too close. I usually garden in containers so space is at a premium and I didn't want to gamble on one seed per hole...I kind of just spread them along. I planted the "little finger" variety so I think they can be closer together.
Thanks for the tip on mixing with radishes. I did them side by side in the same container, so when the radishes come out I will reseed with a second round of both mixed together.
Thin them, can also mean to pull up the biggest ones, and leave the smaller ones for another time. Pelletized seeds are helpful too. They are coated in cornstarch and allow you to plant much easier, as they are not as small. I have Portulaca flower seeds that are black, and smaller than a grain of salt. These reseed every year in my back yard. The seed companies sell these, as well as many other tiny seeds as pelletized versions. I would just wait until you see a few of the bigger green tops and larger roots, and carefully pull these when you need some. The ones nearby will loosen, but if the soil is well watered, you should be able to remove the bigger ones without too much disturbence. Your growing carrots in a container?? For them to be any decent size, it should be at least a foot or more deep.
Thanks Ken. These are the little finger variety, they grow about 3" long. I never thought of growing carrots until I saw these.
Because they grow small to just 3 inches, you may not have to be concerned with crowding as much, unless they are 3 inches long and are fat in diameter.
Nope, I don't even try to separate those tiny seeds! I just kind of sprinkle them in the row, but the radishes mixed in give a pretty fair distribution, and then pulling them up makes extra room. Actually helps to mark the row, too, because carrots are notoriously slow in germinating. Check your seed packet, love2grow, and it will tell you how many days to picking. They're pretty slow. Tops will be huge and stout enough to pull the carrot out of the ground that, by then, will be like concrete.
Good info. I like the idea of mixing Radishes with Carrots. I have two other questions.
1. My carrots are about 5-6 weeks old. can I thin and transplant some of the smaller ones fairly easily?
2. With Radishes, my family has felt that some of them are a little hotter in taste then they like. Is there an easy trick to taming them down while growing them?
For those who don't like radishes but want the same effect - they can mix the carrot seed with child's Play Sand or the sand used in icy places to get traction.
You can't easily transplnat carrots. The roots are not just the visable ones, but many more tiny threads of roots comeing from all around the main taproot. There are some radishes that are not too hot, I seem to recall a few in the 'easter egg collection', which had all shapes and sizes and a few colors too.
dlove - I find that radishes, like greens and lettuce, get "hotter" when the weather does. Get those radishes out early, pick them when they're small, and you should be fine. Yes, varieties matter, but so does the weather. If they get hot, you can tame them just a little by soaking in ice water for a while.
Big leaves tiny roots still.. Might be a bit too much for the heat here now. No problems. The 'easter egg' collection ahd soem very interesting combinations. Some of them and red globes. My garden always gte radishes that are quite hot, but when I ate a leaf, it was a bit of a shock when in the lettuce greens. Leaves were a bit bitter too, so its nice for maybe sprouts, but not really for adding to salads. Wish I could use up all the huge green leaves of my broccoli. These are edible, but way too much uric acid for me to deal with.
Thanks it worwked very well. My father was happy that I found A good site; but I would want to thank Deanna!!!!!!!!!!