When planting the garden, don’t forget about the carrots! Carrots are often thought of only as a spring time planting, but I like to plant carrots though the growing season into early summer and then again in the fall. Home-grown carrots have a sweet juicy flavor that can’t compare, thank goodness, with supermarket carrots bland taste. I plant closely and start to thin out baby carrots for early nibbles and roasted baby carrots. When growing your own carrots you have so many more choices. Carrots are diverse. Some varieties are pencil thin and some short and stubby. Colors go beyond the familiar orange. Purples, white, and yellow are so fun to display on a white dish at the dinner table. And who can’t resist eating a few straight from the ground.
If you have ever grown carrots and they each seem to have grown many legs in many directions, you can probably blame your soil. Carrots grow best in sandy soils with good drainage. Work in plenty of organic matter (compost). If you have clay soil you can amend with perlite or vermiculite and peat moss. This opens up the soil allowing your carrots to grow longer root systems. If your soil is still being worked and is not yet loamy, don’t let that stop you from planting carrots. Just plant varieties that are shorter like, Chantenay varieties. They are also very good winter keepers. Just let them stay in the ground over winter. This is a great way to have fresh carrots all winter long without taking up space in the root cellar or frig. If you live in a cold region put a layer of straw over them the keep the tops from getting damaged from frost. Carrots require an open sunny site. Sow seeds outdoors in early spring until summer. Carrots do not transplant well. Broadcast seed, tamp down and cover with a thin layer of fine compost. You can also sow carrots and radishes in the same row. Just be very careful when pulling radishes that you don’t disturb the carrots too much by pulling the radish with one hand and the other holding down any carrots that might want to come with. Water with a gentle wand so as not to disturb the seed much. Keep soil surface moist till carrots germinate. I wait to thin my carrots until they are big enough to eat as baby carrots, 2-3″. This does take away from the size of later carrots a bit, but I don’t mind a smaller carrot. You can thin early when greens are 1-2″ tall to 2–3″ apart. Put thinnings into your compost pile. Keep weeds out of your crop making sure not to disturb the roots too much. Carrots are companions with onions and chives. Now! Go plant some carrots!
Roasted Baby Carrots With Honey and Rosemary
Scrub baby carrots. Trim off all but 1/2 inch of the greens, arrange carrots in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and roll back and forth to coat. Roast until carrots are tender when pierced with a fork, about 20-40 minutes. remove from oven and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle hot carrots with a little honey and finely chopped fresh rosemary. Easy and so good!