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Follow any gardening discussion forum, and at some point, there will be an inquiry into how long it takes to grow a carrot. Often, the question will be followed by heated debates on planting and harvest dates.
Depending on several variables, a carrot can take between 32 to 95 days from seed to harvest. Variables include seed germination time, seed soil temperature, growing environments, cultivar, hybrid, size requirements, and soil health. Carrot crop management is another factor.
The 5 Major Carrot Cultivars
As seen below, each carrot cultivar has unique growing requirements and provides a different answer to our question: “How long do carrots take to grow from seed.”
|Carrot Type||Length (Inches)||Top Diameter (inches)||Seed Spacing||Row Spacing||Days to Maturity|
|Chantenay||4 – 7||2 – 2.5||1/2″, thin to 1-2″||12″||65 – 75|
|Imperator||7 – 8||1.5||1″, thin to 2-3″||18”||70|
|Danvers||7||2 – 2.5||1/2″, thin to 1-2″||12”||75|
|Nantes||6 – 7||1.5||1/2″, thin to 1-2″||12″||32 – 75|
|Oxheart||2 – 3||2||3 – 5″||12 – 18″||90|
The difference in days to maturity is due to hundreds of hybrids, each with unique development profiles.
Cool Season Plants
At what temperature does it frost? Because the air is colder above the ground than below, frost can form when the nighttime temperature drops, even above 32°F (0°C).
When this happens, your carrot crop may suffer damage, even if it is still 36°F (~2°C) outside. The influence of wind, tarmacs, structures, and trees are a few factors that influence frost formation.
Ideally, you want to plant your tiny carrot seeds into their raised beds about 90-days before the first frost. I’ve created a guide for cities in each state below.
Carrot Seeding Date Guide
|US City||Frost-Free Season||Carrot-Seeding Date|
|Montgomery, AL||Mar 12 – Nov 11||Jul-24 – Aug-03|
|Anchorage, AK||May 07 – Sep 24||Jun-06 – Jun-16|
|Little Rock, AR||Mar 19 – Nov 12||Jul-25 – Aug-04|
|Los Angeles, CA||Jan 14 – Dec 30||Sep-11 – Sep-21|
|Denver, CO||May 09 – Oct 04||Jun-16 – Jun-26|
|Bridgeport, CT||Apr 08 – Nov 03||Jul-16 – Jul-26|
|Wilmington, DE||Apr 10 – Oct 30||Jul-12 – Jul-22|
|Jacksonville, FL||Feb 12 – Dec 04||Aug-16 – Aug-26|
|Atlanta, GA||Mar 20 – Nov 14||Jul-27 – Aug-06|
|Boise, ID||May 05 – Oct 11||Jun-23 – Jul-03|
|Chicago, IL||Apr 18 – Oct 25||Jul-07 – Jul-17|
|Indianapolis, IN||Apr 19 – Oct 20||Jul-02 – Jul-12|
|Des Moines, IA||Apr 21 – Oct 14||Jun-26 – Jul-06|
|Wichita, KS||Apr 11 – Oct 25||Jul-07 – Jul-17|
|Louisville, KY||Apr 06 – Oct 31||Jul-13 – Jul-23|
|New Orleans, LA||Jan 18 – Dec 27||Sep-08 – Sep-18|
|Portland, ME||May 05 – Oct 05||Jun-17 – Jun-27|
|Baltimore, MD||Apr 11 – Oct 28||Jul-10 – Jul-20|
|Detroit, MI||Apr 23 – Oct 24||Jul-06 – Jul-16|
|Minneapolis, MN||May 03 – Oct 04||Jun-16 – Jun-26|
|Jackson, MS||Mar 01 – Nov 19||Aug-01 – Aug-11|
|Kansas City, MO||Apr 07 – Oct 31||Jul-13 – Jul-23|
|Billings, MT||May 06 – Oct 03||Jun-15 – Jun-25|
|Omaha, NE||Apr 04 – Oct 20||Jul-02 – Jul-12|
|Las Vegas, NV||Feb 15 – Nov 29||Aug-11 – Aug-21|
|Manchester, NH||Apr 22 – Oct 15||Jun-27 – Jul-07|
|Newark, NJ||Apr 04 – Nov 06||Jul-19 – Jul-29|
|Albuquerque, NM||Apr 16 – Oct 28||Jul-10 – Jul-20|
|New York City, NY||Apr 08 – Nov 11||Jul-24 – Aug-03|
|Charlotte, NC||Mar 24 – Nov 12||Jul-25 – Aug-04|
|Fargo, ND||May 12 – Sep 27||Jun-09 – Jun-19|
|Columbus, OH||Apr 23 – Oct 20||Jul-02 – Jul-12|
|Oklahoma City, OK||Apr 01 – Nov 04||Jul-17 – Jul-27|
|Portland, OR||Feb 19 – Nov 30||Aug-12 – Aug-22|
|Philadelphia, PA||Apr 02 – Nov 15||Jul-28 – Aug-07|
|Providence, RI||Apr 14 – Oct 24||Jul-06 – Jul-16|
|Charleston, SC||Feb 15 – Dec 18||Aug-30 – Sep-09|
|Sioux Falls, SD||Apr 30 – Oct 09||Jun-21 – Jul-01|
|Nashville, TN||Apr 02 – Oct 31||Jul-13 – Jul-23|
|Houston, TX||Feb 09 – Dec 13||Aug-25 – Sep-04|
|Salt Lake City, UT||Apr 23 – Oct 18||Jun-30 – Jul-10|
|Burlington, VT||May 08 – Oct 04||Jun-16 – Jun-26|
|Virginia Beach, VA||Mar 20 – Nov 20||Aug-02 – Aug-12|
|Seattle, WA||Mar 22 – Nov 12||Jul-25 – Aug-04|
|Charleston, WV||Apr 21 – Oct 22||Jul-04 – Jul-14|
|Milwaukee, WI||Apr 26 – Oct 19||Jul-01 – Jul-11|
|Cheyenne, WY||May 15 – Sep 28||Jun-10 – Jun-20|
The dates above are based on the average frost dates in each city over the past ten years. How long do carrots take to grow from seed? I’ve taken an average of 80 to 90 days.
Because our global weather patterns are changing, the dates above are based on the first frost date minus 90 to 100 days.
Carrots are grown from seed in situ and should be started by creating a healthy growing environment. Though some carrot varieties can handle inhospitable soils, I always think that a carrot that is tough enough to break hard soils may be a bit tough on the chew.
There are several ways to prepare a bed for carrot planting. Remember that you will need about three 10-foot rows filled with carrots (spaced two inches apart) to grow enough to feed a family of four.
Carrot Bed Preparation
Remember that you need a bed that hasn’t seen a plant from the Apiaceae family for at least three years. The Apiaceae family includes carrots, celery, fennel, parsnips, and several herbs.
In early spring, cover the bed with about four to five inches of compost in preparation for your carrot seed planting on the advised dates above (or 90 days from your known first frost date).
Before you plant your carrot seeds, cover the compost with about an inch of soil. You don’t need to dig it in; the microorganism in compost have done that for you.
The seeds should be planted a quarter inch deep and about half an inch apart in the soil, which is optimally 77°F (25°C).
They are tiny, so you might need to thin them as they emerge, leaving a gap of two to three inches between plants.
Seeds take about 21 days to emerge, so including some radish seeds, which are rapid emergers, will help you see where you planted the carrots.
Keep your planting moist until the seeds sprout. Water regularly throughout the growing season.
The Apiaceae family has ferny foliage, which helps to weed efforts. Cut the weeds off rather than pulling them to avoid crop damage. Weed after rain and water after weeding to help your carrots thrive.
Apiaceae are not heavy feeders, and the compost added earlier in the season will make ample nutrition available.
Watch out for armyworms, carrot worms, and leafhoppers -leafhoppers also spread aster yellows, which affect carrots and celery.
We have answered the “How long is a piece of string” question. How long do carrots take to grow from seed? About 70 days – give or take, depending on the mentioned factors.
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