Carrot Planting Tips

Carrots are a favorite standby of adults and kids alike…..but do you know how to grow them? Here are some carrot planting tips!

Carrots

Originally printed in HealthSource Magazine

My 8 year old is a jokester. He also dislikes vegetables. He’s not one of those spit it out and throw a tantrum in the middle of the restaurant kids but he doesn’t get excited about them either. I’m using our KYV Farm Share, family garden and a sense of humor to teach him learn to love Florida fresh produce!

Watch the video to find out which vegetable Andrew finally decides he likes….

February is our region’s coldest time of the year but it is a fruitful time in the garden. Cold days offer bug-free soil prep and a great chance to prep for the spring planting. We cover dormant beds with heavy black plastic to keep additional weeds from sprouting and focus attention on a few winter crops.

This month plant jewel carrots.

Carrots, like stubby Thumbelinas and brightly colored jewel carrots, thrive in the cool weather and will be ready in time for Easter dinner. The tops are edible stirred into a hearty winter stew and they are an excellent source of Vitamin A.

If you need help getting a veggie-hater to join you in the garden, try coaxing him with this carrot joke:

Q: How do you make Gold Soup?
A: Add 14 carrots!!

Carrot Planting Tips:

· Dig deep. Since you’ll be eating the carrot roots, turn a foot of your soil over and ensure you’re planting in fertile ground.

· Pay attention to spacing. These root vegetables yield a lot of goodness in a little space but they need space to develop! Allow 3” between carrots when you thin your carrot patch.

· Give new plants TLC. Carrot seeds are slow to germinate. Water daily the first 10 days and keep moist afterwards to ensure plump, juicy roots!

Carrots are fun to watch as they grow. First the greens develop then, when it’s almost time to harvest, you can brush away a bit of soil and peek at the root. Digging carrots is like a treasure hunt and we allow our kiddos to pick them at any stage as long as they eat what they harvest.

Once my picky eater has gathered a bowl full of carrots, we head inside for scrubbing and cooking. Adding just a bit of water to a sink full of dirty carrots makes for a muddy mess, which my 8 year old loves. Make gardening fun each step of the way and you may be surprised what the kids will help with and eat!

How to turn a garden of carrots into a dish your 8 year old will eat:

1. Scrub muddy jewel carrots. Rinse well. Repeat if necessary.

2. Prepare to cook: Preheat oven to 400* and line a baking sheet with foil. Let little chef crinkle foil over the sides to hold it in place.

3. Slice carrots into 1” chunks.

4. Toss with several halved garlic cloves, 2-3 Tbsp olive oil and a chunked red onion.

5. Allow little chef to transfer to pan however he’d like… even if that’s one carrot at a time.

6. Let the little chef grab a pinch of salt and follow with a few cranks of freshly cracked pepper. If you have any other herbs in the garden, let him add to your dish! Rosemary and thyme go well with carrots.

7. Roast until tender – about 20 minutes.

Roasting vegetables is simple, flavorful and flexible. Consider adding potatoes, beets and other root vegetables to the pan for more flavor and a beautiful side dish!

Contributed by farm member, Allie Olsen from Simply St. Augustine

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