Updated: Oct 2, 2021
One of the classic vegetables in the modern world finds itself on just about everybody's plate at some point. It is curious why more people don't grow carrots in their garden! In addition to the conventional carrot, they can be not only orange but purple, red, yellow, and black!
Carrots have a rich history, and seeds have been found in Eastern Europe dating back to around 3000 BC! They are found to having their origin in Central Asia, and spread throughout the old world quite steadily.
In ancient times they were not only grown for their root, but also for the greens. Be aware that the greens do contain alkaloids that are toxic in high doses so be careful. They are best eaten in small quantities as young plants, before the root begins to develop.
Carrots have a somewhat bad rap as of late due to the "pests" and leaf blight that has been known to wipe out entire crops of monoculture farms. However, companion planting and increasing biodiversity will drastically reduce the problems you can have. Carrots make great companions for marigolds, tomatoes, radishes, onions, chives, lettuce, sage, coriander, and more!
Simply sow your carrot seeds at the appropriate time, usually just before spring or when summer is about to end. This will allow you a summer and a winter harvest in many cases.
They will last a fair amount of time if they are unwashed and placed in layers in sand mixed with wood shavings, or even just leaving them in the soil is fine.They do not like to grow in hard, compact soil that is clay or rocky. Carrots prefer to have loose, well draining soil, sandy or loam.
Carrots are biennial, and they do mature on their own time (upwards of 120 days, some much earlier). To pull the carrots at the right time, simply find the top of the root and check its diameter. If you'd like you can let the carrot go to seed and you will see its spectacular flowers.
Just so you know, carrots can cross pollinate with Queen Anne's lace, so keep that in mind when saving seed.
Carrots are very high in Vitamin A, so it is actually possible to eat too many. On the other hand, I am sure nearly every person's diet would be much better with regular carrot consumption. Carrots are cooked in countless ways all over the world, so it is really up to you how you choose to eat them. Personally, I must have them in my chicken noodle soup.