We all know and love this orange root vegetable with a crunchy texture and sweet taste. It is a versatile vegetable used in many dishes and is rich in beta carotenes.
But if you are growing it at home, how long does it take to grow a carrot?
It is important to know how long you should leave it in the ground because you cannot see how big the root is when it is not yet harvested. This article will help take the guessing game out of when to harvest.
Time from Seed to Seedling
Carrots can take a while to germinate. They usually take about 14 to 21 days to germinate.
The reason it takes so long is because they have hard coats. These coats are used to protect the seed from decay.
This can be a problem for novice gardeners because the seed needs consistent and constant moisture during this time.
To help improve germination rates, keep your seeds only covered with a small layer of soil. Do not plant them too deep. A trick some farmers use is to sow the seeds with another type of seed that germinates faster so they can know where to water. Using something like a radish seed would be suitable for this.
Another way to improve germination rates and simplify the process is to start the germination process indoors. Put the seeds in a starter tray with soil. Sow the seeds and water thoroughly. Keep the soil consistently moist, or you can even put the tray in a plastic bag and tie a knot at the end of the plastic bag. This will keep the humidity high within the bag and prevent evaporation. When the seedlings are ready, transport them into the ground outside.
Once it sprouts, you should see the small long leaves of the plant poking out of the ground. They look similar to small blades of grass. You can see our other article on how carrot sprouts should look.
Time from Planting to Harvest
Knowing when to harvest can be difficult because the root vegetable is hidden underground.
Generally speaking, it takes about 70 to 80 days to go from seed to harvest. The exact number of days may differ slightly depending on the variety. If you are interested in what is going on underneath the soil, make sure to check out our article on the different carrot growth stages.
It is best to plant your seeds during cool seasons like the spring or the fall. This means that you will likely harvest in the early summer or winter.
If you plant your carrots in the fall, you do not need to rush to harvest them. They can stay in the soil as long as it does not freeze over. Harvest them when you are ready to use them.
What to Look for to Know It is Ready to Harvest
In addition to the amount of time in the ground, you can also use other signs to tell you that your carrot is ready to harvest.
When a carrot is ready to be harvested, you will often start to see the shoulders of the vegetable appearing out of the soil.
If you cannot see the shoulders, but 80 days have elapsed, you can gently brush away the soil to see if you can expose the carrot. The root should be about ¾ to 1 inch in diameter, and it should be a vibrant color.
Factors that Affect Growth Time
As discussed earlier, different varieties may grow at different speeds.
Additionally, the temperature of the surrounding environment can also affect the rate of growth. The optimal temperature is 60-75 degrees during the day time and 45-50 degrees at night. If the temperatures are too high, it can lead to bolting, discoloration, and slow development. We also have a more comprehensive article on the proper care carrots require for optimal growth that you can check out.