Home grown carrog

This yellow carrot is only one of many colors you can grow in your home garden.

Carrots are not difficult to grow in the vegetable garden. Like many root crops, they are biennials, meaning they grow the first year and flower and set seed the second. Carrots need to be dug before they begin to form flower stalks or they will become hard, bitter and woody.

Grow carrots from seed. They don’t like to be transplanted so thin seedlings so there is space between plants for each to develop without crowding its neighbor.

Give carrots a rich, moist – but not wet – soil. They like compost but manure will cause roots to fork. Remove stones and plant them where nothing will interfere with roots growing downward. There are short-growing varieties that are best for stony or shallow soils.

Carrots grow attractive feathery foliage and can be grown among other garden plants if you don’t have a vegetable garden. They will need to be dug when they are large enough to be eaten, so if you plant them among other plants be sure to make sure you have room to dig without injuring their neighbors. You can also grow them in pots so long as they have enough depth for the long roots to grow uninhibited. Harvest them when they are big enough to be eaten. Younger carrots may be smaller, but they are tender and tastier than the older giants.

Not only are fresh carrots flavorful, but they are rich in vitamins. Look for wide, short, or round varieties or try one of the colorful cultivars in red, purple, yellow or white instead of the usual orange. Enjoy your garden carrots raw, cooked or store them in a cool dark place for the winter.