Growing carrots all year round
Being self-sufficient in carrots is amazing! I do it by growing carrots all year round. It's actually surprisingly easy with a bit of planning. This is how it's done.
We haven't bought any carrots at all in the past few years. All of the carrots we need (and that's quite a lot with four children in the house) come straight from my kitchen garden.
But how do you get a steady supply of carrots all year round then? Well, the trick is to sow many times throughout the year. You would for example not succeed if you sow your carrots only once or twice in spring. Some of the carrots will go bad if they stay too long in the ground. Instead, I have decided to sow my carrot seeds on seven different occasions.
- Late fall/winter: Winter sow summer carrots outdoors, in a sheltered spot
- Winter: Winter sow summer carrots in a polytunnel
- Early spring: Sow summer carrots outside or in a planter box
- Early spring: Sow winter carrots outside (in one or two beds)
- Late spring: Sow summer carrots outside/in a planter box
- Early summer: Sow summer carrots outside/in a planter box
- Summer: Sow summer carrots outside/in a planter box
I also try to sow some carrot seeds in my hotbed, if I have the space. I sow these seeds in February and start harvesting my carrots in May. The seeds will of course grow in the order they were sown. The seeds in the polytunnel might get a bit of a head start though, depending on how sheltered they have been.
Utilizing the space
It might seem like I have an almost unlimited number of beds available to keep growing carrots all year round. That's of course not the case though. Remember that you don't need to sow an entire large bed at once. We have a system where we sow for example two rows of summer carrots first, and then use the rest of the bed 2-3 weeks later. This means that we don't have to harvest all of the carrots at once.
The same goes for pallet collar beds too. You can sow seeds in half the bed one week, and do the rest a few weeks later.
Why sow summer and winter varieties?
I enjoy growing several different types of carrots. I like getting carrots in many different colors, but it's just as important to have different varieties for practical reasons.
Summer carrots (also called early carrots) grow quickly and are ready to harvest after only three months (if sown in spring.) They might go bad if you leave them in the ground for too long, and it's difficult to store them for long periods of time. You can read more about when it's time to harvest your carrots here
The winter carrots take a long time to grow, but they can on the other hand stay outside for longer and you can store them all winter if you want to.
Sowing both kinds means that I get plenty of carrots at different times. Which of course makes my goal of growing carrots all year round a lot easier to accomplish! I grow the tender, fast-growing summer carrots to eat fresh, straight from the garden. We usually store the winter carrots and eat them when we don't have any summer carrots left. You can see the two types next to each other in the top picture. The small, tender summer carrots were harvested in late fall.
Harvesting vegetables in late fall.
I have been sharing a lot of pictures of the carrots that I sowed in July last year, and was able to harvest through November. Many of you were wondering which varieties I grew and how it was done. These carrots are actually regular summer carrots that I left in the soil throughout fall. You can try this in your own garden too, if you feel comfortable growing late in the year. Just put the seeds in the ground and let nature do the rest.
Read about how to fertilize your carrots here: Fertilizing carrots with bokashi
This is how I grow my carrots in pots: How to grow carrots in pots
So, if you want to keep growing carrots all year round, make sure to plan for several sowings. Set aside enough space, buy both summer and winter carrot seeds and keep sowing at regular intervals. Good luck growing carrots all year round!
Can you name your favorite varieties of Summer-Carrots and Winter-Carrots?? I happen to have no luck with this vegetable. It has been an great disapointment. I saw carrots in my little raised beds last Spring For the first time. I did not even Know that there are winter and summer varieties. It took lime for ever to germinate bit finally I got green foliage over the soil. But the carrots itself were a huge disappointment. Thank you very mich for sharing your experience.
My Favorite Summer carrots are Harlequin and Nantaise, and my favorite Winter Carrot is Rothild: Best of luck to you with your kitchen gardening!