When to pick carrots – how to know when your carrots are ready for harvesting

How To Grow Carrots video with Thompson & Morgan

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Carrots are not only delicious but they’re packed with nutrients too. As well as the classic long orange variety, look out for the likes of small round carrots and even yellow, purple and red kinds. In addition, carrots are quick and easy to grow, taking up little space, and can even be grown in containers. Due to their being drought resistant, carrots don’t need much water, but they do benefit from a good soaking when the weather’s hot and there’s no rain.

When to pick carrots

Knowing how to tell when carrots are ready for picking is important if you want to get a good crop.

First, look at your seed packet and see how many days it takes the kind you chose to fully mature.

Baby carrots are generally ready to harvest 50 to 50 days from the planting date.

Mature carrots, on the other hand, need a few more weeks and are normally ready in about 75 days.

Most carrots are ready to harvest when the shoulders reach about 1.5cm to 2cm in diameter.

But again, this isn’t a rule of thumb as there is a lot of variation depending on which type of carrot you’re growing.

The Royal Horticultural Society says carrots are ready to harvest about 12 to 16 weeks after sowing.

The RHS advises: “Harvest as soon as they’re large enough to use – don’t aim for the largest roots or you’ll sacrifice flavour.”

How to harvest carrots

Knowing how to harvest carrots is just as important as knowing when, as picking them in the wrong way could result in damage to the growth.

Grabbing the foliage and giving it a good tug often ends up in a hand full of foliage with no carrot attached.

Loosening the soil with a garden fork will help greatly in harvesting the carrots.

Cut the green tops six to 12mm from the top of the carrot and that’s your carrot out of the ground.

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Rinse the carrot well, ensuring to dry the roots well, before storing for use.

When deciding when to pick carrots, consider how much you can realistically use in a two to four week period of time.

Carrots can be left in the ground for an extra four weeks – or even longer – during the winter.

But if you’re going to try this, make sure you harvest the last of the carrots before the ground freezes solid.

When carrot harvesting time arrives, it’s always good to have a storage plan in mind.

Store clean carrots with the green tops removed in the vegetable bin or the fridge for up to two to four weeks.

If you want them for longer, they will last several months in a bucket of sand in a cool cellar.

Don’t store carrots near apples or pears, as these fruits produce a gas which causes carrots to become bitter in taste.

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