Harvesting Carrots

It’s sometimes hard to tell when to start harvesting carrots without digging one or two up to see how big they’ve gotten. I look at the “days to maturity” listing on the seed packet, and mark my calendar out that many days from my first sowing to remind me that the carrots are maturing and ready to harvest, at least all the ones from that first sowing. 

(Of course, along the way I have been pulling a few to taste-test, so I have  a pretty good idea anyway!) 

Harvest On Time
Don’t leave fully-mature carrots in the ground during the warm part of the growing season. Once mature, they won’t improve with age. Aging carrots will form a tough woody pith, and will often crack open, especially if they get a lot of rain. The longer they sit out the more likely they are to become prey to moles, mice, rabbits or plant pests such as root maggots of carrot rust flies or carrot weevils.

Loosen the Soil
Before harvesting carrots it’s best to loosen the soil first by putting a digging fork or spade in vertically about 6-10 inches away from the carrots, and then gently lift to loosen the soil. Don’t fork the carrots all the way out, because if the metal tines hit the carrot they'll bruise it. Once the soil is loosened, the carrots should pull out easily by their tops. 

Store Only the Best
Eat any damaged carrots right away. Store only perfect, undamaged roots. Twist off the tops and store carrots in a plastic bag in the fridge, where they can keep for two to three months. For more detail on storing carrots, see the article below.

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