Overview: Carrots come in a variety of colors, are easy-to-grow, and store nicely after harvest.
Seed Starting: Carrots prefer rich, sandy soil and a sunny location. They can also grow well in containers. Regular varieties prefer a soil depth of 10-12 inches. Short varieties, like “Scarlet Nantes,” “Chantenay,” or the unusually round “Parisian,” are perfect for more shallow gardens.
Sow carrot seeds directly into soil, ¼ inch deep, in rows about a foot apart (source: Farmer’s Almanac). Thin carrots to about 3 inches apart once they’ve sprouted. Clip off little seedlings to be thinned (perhaps using nail scissors) because pulling them up might also disrupt the carrots you want to keep growing. Almost all seed starting advice says to keep seeds moist after planting, but it really is true with carrots.
Growing Advice: Carrots can even be grown twice a year in New England! Plant a spring crop (starting a few weeks before the last frost date) and a fall crop in late summer.
Harvesting: Carrots often show their “shoulders” to give a preview of how wide they are. Harvest early for “baby” carrots or wait for a bigger carrot. Carrots take 60-80 (or more) days until harvest. Try to be patient.
Carrots store well (with their tops snipped off), in a sealed bag in the fridge. Consider using the tops to make pesto!
Recipe for Carrot Cake
Try this Southern Living carrot cake recipe that Chrissy Teigen loves. Dr. Perks made it near the start of the pandemic and agrees its delicious.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups grated carrot
- 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
- 1 (3 1/2-ounce) can flaked coconut
- 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- Step 1 Line 3 (9-inch) round cakepans with wax paper; lightly grease and flour wax paper. Set pans aside.
- Step 2 Stir together first 4 ingredients.
- Step 3 Beat eggs and next 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in carrot and next 3 ingredients. Pour batter into prepared cakepans.
- Step 4 Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Drizzle Buttermilk Glaze evenly over layers; cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.