Debbie Roland, Master Gardener
Texas is the fifth leading producer of Carrots. One-third of those go into plastic bags for sale. Baby carrots are simply the tips cut from much larger ones and are a great source of Vitamin A.
Carrots should be planted July to November. If you have room, plant every two weeks so that you will have an abundance during the winter. They do well with some shade although it is not necessary. I have seen them used as a border for flowerbeds and the lacy foliage was beautiful.
· Using a hoe roughen the soil and make a small ridge. If you have more than one row, they should be one to two feet apart
· Before planting scatter 1 cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer for each 10 foot row and mix into the soil
· Using a hoe or stick make a row in the top of each ridge about ½ inch deep
· Scatter about 20 seeds per foot
· On the day you plant, mark your calendar so you will know when to harvest. (They should be ready in 70 to 80 days.)
· Thin the plants to 4 inches apart
· Once plants emerge, scatter another 2 tablespoons of fertilizer per 10 foot row beside the plants
· When tops are about 6 inches tall fertilize again if they are becoming yellow
· Water enough to keep the soil moist to 3 inches
· Use a light mulch (vermiculite or hay) to keep the soil from crusting.
When ready to harvest, gently loosen the soil and pull the carrots. To prevent wilting, cut off the tops immediately and put them into your compost pile. Wash the carrots and store in the refrigerator. They will keep longer if you store them in a plastic bag to increase humidity.
The varieties that do well in West Texas include Danver’s 126, Danvers Half Long, Nantes Half Long, Red Cored Chantenay and Touchon (an Heirloom).
If you have questions, please call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700 for more gardening information.