How to Plant, Grow and Harvest Beautiful Carrots

One of the questions that new homesteaders and gardeners often have is how do you know when to pick carrot? 
Are you curious about when carrots are ready to harvest? Here's what you need to know.

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    It can be confusing since the rule for many vegetables is to wait until they are ripe before picking, but with carrots it's different. 

    We'll explain when to pick carrot so that you can enjoy this delicious vegetable at its peak freshness.

    how do you know when carrots are ready to harvest

    How do you know when carrots are ready to harvest

    Carrots need to come to fully maturity before they are harvested.  Look at the seed envelope to see how many days your variety of carrots needs to come to fully maturity.

    Next, look at the color of the carrot top. If the top is green, then the carrot is not yet mature. However, if the top is starting to turn orange or brown, then it's time to start checking the roots.

     Gently pull back some of the soil around the carrot to get a good look at the root. If it's orange and about 1-2 inches in diameter, then it's ready to be harvested. 

    Another way to tell if carrots are ready to be picked is by giving them a gentle tug. If they come out of the ground easily, then they're ripe and ready to be eaten!

    how do you know when carrots are ready to harvest

    How to harvest a carrot

    Harvest carrots is actually really easy.  First, consult your seed packet and make sure the carrots have come to full maturity.  It can be anywhere from 50-90 days. Make sure you give them plenty of time to reach full size.

    Once the carrots are fully mature, loosen the soil around the carrot.  We like to use a pitch fork to gently loosen the soil around the carrot. This prevents us from cutting a carrot in half with a shovel.  Be careful not to damage the roots.

    Once the soil is loosened, you should be able to easily pull the carrot out of the ground. If it doesn't come out easily, try twisting it slightly until it comes free.

    If you plan to eat them right away, feel free to wash them.  Carrots straight from the garden can be pretty dirty, so give them a good wash before eating or cooking.  

    If you plan to store your carrots for the winter, you don't need to wash them. However, you do need to remove the top leaves and stems.  If you don't, the carrot will become limp instead of crisp.  Putting all its energy into keeping the leaves alive.

    how to know when to pick carrots

    How to store harvested carrots

    The most common method is to place them in a root cellar or cool, dark basement. However, we have found placing carrots in a plastic bag punched with a few holes is a better option. We can store unwashed carrots for up to six months in our fridge in plastic bags.

    For long-term storage, carrots can be canned or freeze dried.  

    how to know when to pick carrots

    Where not to store carrots

    Carrots are a delightful and healthy addition to any meal, but they're also notoriously finicky when it comes to storage. If you're not careful, they can quickly go from crisp and crunchy to limp and lifeless. 

    Freezing carrots will change their texture and make them unpleasantly mushy. If you must freeze them, do so only for short-term storage (up to three months).

    Carrots need access to air to stay fresh, so the cupboard is a bad choice for storage. If you insist on storing them there, be sure to keep them in a perforated bag or container.

    Carrots are best stored at cool temperatures, so the counter is a no-go. If you're looking for a place to keep your carrots handy, try storing them in a bowl of water on the kitchen table.

    Are you curious about when carrots are ready to harvest? Here's what you need to know.

    It can be hard to wait to harvest those carrots, but the payoff is worth it! Once carrots are ready to harvest, we can't help but be excited to get them into our kitchens and onto our plates. 


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