March is for planting and it’s time to plant carrots in your southern Utah garden. Home grown carrots are so delicious, easy to grow, and the varieties available will surely tempt you to plant a few.
Did you know that the original carrots were not orange? That’s right! The original carrots hail from parts of the middle east and Turkey. These were not tasty carrots, but were white and most likely used for medicinal purposes. Cultivation of carrots probably began in Afghanistan and were purple and yellow. After cultivation of carrots spread to the Mediterranean, western Europe, and Eastern Asia, the Dutch and French were ultimately responsible for the deliciously sweet orange carrot we eat today.
Varieties available include red, orange, white, yellow, and purple carrots. There are baby carrots, Asian carrots, French carrots, long carrots, and short carrots. I have grown and loved the following varieties: Scarlet Nantez, Sunshine Mix, Danvers 126, and Carnival Blend. My favorites are Danvers 126 followed by Carnival Blend. Choose a couple of varieties to plant. Carrot seeds are plentiful and inexpensive.
When you have prepared the soil in your southern Utah garden and chosen the varieties of carrots you want to plant, it’s time to sow your seeds. Plant carrot seeds 1/4 inch deep and three inches apart in rows about six inches apart. Water thoroughly after planting and again each time the soil is dry. Your seedlings should emerge in two to three weeks. Since carrots are cool season vegetables start planting in March. If you plant successively every three weeks through April you will have lots carrots coming on for a while.
Carrots are ready to harvest 60 to 75 days from the day you sow your seeds, and just after orange color fully appears. Check the label on the seed packet for specific information on days to maturity and how large the carrots should be when harvested. You will have about three weeks to harvest all the carrots from one sowing before they get woody and bitter.
Now you have a bit of information to successfully plant and harvest carrots from your southern Utah garden. Don’t be the least bit intimidated. Carrots are easy to grow. I’ve even seen gardeners spread carrot seed haphazardly in the garden and then rake them over to cover with soil. The carrots grew just fine, and talk about easy! So, get your hands on some carrot seeds today and get outside. Welcome to spring gardening.