How can I get bigger carrots next year?

Carrot    Reading and London (UK)

This years is the first time I grow carrots. The results are disappointing. The carrots are short and some are pretty distorted (with funny shapes). They taste OK, though.

What can I do to improve on size next year?

(Note: they did not need thinning out)

Posted by: Pietro Spanu (2 points) Pietro Spanu
Posted: September 23, 2013

Mary commented,
Soil is key. Too heavy or too light both bad. Also less N and more P and K vital for strong roots. How d theydo this year?
almost 3 years ago.

David Hughes commented,
very true. We would like to see more content and advice here on soil
almost 3 years ago.


If you have access to a soil-testing lab, Pietro, follow their directions for taking a sample and then for amending your soil based on the results. Carrots need a near-neutral soil pH (6.5-6.8) and require a lot of potassium (as well as other minerals) for good production, as well as good taste. J.D.'s right: not too much nitrogen.

Of course, being taproots, carrots prefer deep, loose soil, as J.D. notes. If you have heavy or stony soil, by all means amend with compost and plant one of the short, thick carrot varieties (like Chantenay) or one of the small, round ones http://bit.ly/1dGowfm.

You'll find hundreds of carrot varieties of every length and diameter and almost any color.

Posted by: Peg Boyles (3 points) Peg Boyles
Posted: September 24, 2013

Carrots do best in lighter, fluffy soils like sandy loam. Prep your garden bed at least 12" deep and remove all the stones that you can, a good helping of compost will help but too much nitrogen will grow beautiful tops without much carrot underneath so don't go overboard.

Posted by: J.D. Archer (31 points) J.D. Archer
Posted: September 23, 2013

Carrots and the roots of most veggies and most trees are not strong enough to drill a hole into compacted dirt and that is perhaps the main reason why they become deformed. Therefore you have two options to succeed in having a better outcome

a. Till the growing area before you seed.

b. Add 6-12 inches of top soil to the growing area.

Posted by: Dr. Manlio V. (Vinny) Mendoza, Ph.D., USAF (Ret.) (1 point) Dr. Manlio V. (Vinny) Mendoza, Ph.D., USAF (Ret.)
Posted: October 17, 2013

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