When to Harvest Carrots
When to harvest carrots really depends on the variety that you are growing. It is important to look at the harvest dates when buying your seeds packets. Some carrots can be harvested at 58 days while others are in the 75 to 100 day time period. After planting your seeds, make a reminder on your calendar or phone for the days stated on the seed pack when they are ready to be harvested. This will serve as one way of knowing when to harvest your carrot crop.
Pulling some “test” carrots can also be a way of finding out if the carrots are at the size that is ready to harvest. Again each variety will vary in shape and size – so ideally keeping your seed packet is best. Organizing them in a binder works well to keep track of when to harvest, what size the end product should be and what varieties worked well in your garden for future reference.
Another way of telling that your carrots are ready to harvest is by looking at the diameter of the carrot. If it is between ¾ to an inch in circumference, they are ready to pull. Some gardeners like pulling the carrots when they are immature as well for roasting or adding whole to garnish salads. However, when carrots are fully grown and deepest in color they are their sweetest and best in flavor.
How to harvest carrots is quite simple. Gently pull at the top of the carrot that has emerged from the soil (not the leaves, but the root). This will help it to give and loosen from the soil surrounding it. This can also be quickly done by using a garden fork or spade to loosen the soil around the carrots being careful not to pierce any of the vegetables. Once the soil is loosed, grab the carrot by the greens or at the top of the carrot if exposed, firmly pulling the carrot it should remove easily. Once free from the soil, shake off any excess dirt.
Carrots can be harvested well into the fall. However, it is important to pull all carrots before the ground freezes. In some climates, were the ground does not freeze solid and the temperature stays above freezing (32 degrees), carrots can be grown and harvested in the winter months. Insulating with straw around the crop is necessary to keep the crop growing. It is important to keep in mind, that during the spring this biennial that we treat as an annual will bolt in the spring. The bolting (or flowering) will ruin the flavor and texture of the taproot, but it will be wonderful for beneficial insects in the garden. Most gardeners will plant in the spring months for harvest in summer.
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