1. They take a LONG, LONG time to grow.
2. You can purchase carrots in the store for relatively inexpensive.
3. They need the right amount of water at the right times.
4. Many gardeners report "no luck" growing carrots, leggy carrots, too many roots, or stumpy carrots.
5. Even a small twig in the soil can stunt or change the carrot growth.
So why, Amanda are you writing a post about growing carrots?
Well, because there are many reasons why we grow carrots...
5 reasons why we grow carrots
1. We want to teach our children where their food comes from.
2. We want them to understand the value of time and the patience it takes while gardening.
3. Carrots from the garden have a flavor that you will be unable to replicate in most grocery stores.
4. You can grow a bunch of different varieties to preserve vegetable diversity and encourage healthy eating.
5. We can teach our children that everything we do from preparing the soil to water has an effect on the food we grow.
and the bonus reason, in my opinion the most important reason...
We grow carrots because nothing can replace the joy in the eyes of my children as they harvest the carrots that they planted, they watered, they grew. My five year old said, "Mom, can you pack me our carrots every day for lunch, they are the best." And I can agree. My two year old can't get enough of them and heads to the garden to find his one for the day. He won't let me forget it! Carrots are a slow growing, finicky crop, but worth every penny spent on seeds when they do grow!
If you are willing to start a small backyard garden, carrots do not take up a whole bunch of space and may be a great addition to your learning garden adventures. We have found that you need a sandy loose soil in full sun. The carrot seeds are very tiny and we just plant them one inch apart on the surface (or very lightly covered) of the soil. We water the seeds daily (even twice daily) to keep the soil moist while the seeds are waking up. When the seedlings are stronger, we limit the watering to two or three times a week depending on the weather. I start a small area of seeds every 3 weeks during the growing season so that we will have a continued harvest. The greens will get tall and parts of the orange roots will begin to peak out from the soil. My kids notice the orange and want to pick them immediately. We have a limit of 1 carrot a day, so they must choose wisely. My carrots never get as giant as store carrots, but they are very flavorful. We often have "flop" batches that do not grow well at all, but this is OK, as we plant more than one time and more than one kind.
As with all of the garden posts here, I am not a professional gardener, just a teacher mom with a passion to use our small backyard garden to teach our children. We connect reading, writing, math, science, social skills, social studies, and art to our gardening. Just as I made a Potato Packet for growing potatoes, I have also make a Carrot Packet for parents and teachers with limited time who may also be interested in connecting the garden to their learning standards. In this packet is a non-fiction printable reader, sight word activities, math pages to teach measuring and comparing, and more! I would love if you stopped by my Teacher Notebook store to check it out, leave feedback or even Pin it to help me spread the word that gardening is a great way to make learning academics real and exciting!
More information on growing, cooking, learning, and crafting with carrots:
Web pages with more information on planting carrots
A page with information about growing and harvesting carrots with children
What carrots like and dislike with companion plants.
Carrot problems and solutions
Videos about growing carrots.
How to plant with thinning, problem solving, and follow up videos.
Growing carrots with cute kid helper.
Cooking with carrots
Different ways to cook carrots with cooking times and directions
List of carrot recipes from Cooks.com
Awesome article about preparing carrots
A list of craft ideas and more using carrots!
Making paper carrots
Carrot printing to make fairy toadstools
More carrot printing
Carrot Juggling (this proves that the carrot IS really a versatile vegetable!)
Making felt carrot tutorial
Carrot snacks, felt carrots and more!
Virtual Book Club: The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss with Activities