Mutant Carrots

Barry and I decided to try growing a few new things this past fall and winter, and carrots was one of them.  We’ve been gardening a few years now with the help and knowledge of my dad (he grew up on a homestead, and truck farming was their livelihood), but carrots was one of the few things he didn’t have experience with.  So, we just decided to wing it.  I mean, how hard could it really be?  Foolishly, we didn’t read up on it before jumping right in.

When we were planting our fall crops,  we just put a few seeds in the garden alongside the broccoli, cauliflower (that was another first-time crop that didn’t happen), collards, turnips, and cabbage.  Everything turned out great except the carrots and the cauliflower (like I said before – foolish).  The cauliflower only got about 3 inches in diameter before turning black.  Turns out, cauliflower doesn’t do very well here in South Mississippi.  The temperature has to be on the cooler side and fairly consistent.  If you live in South Mississippi, you know there is no consistency to any season down here, and we just had the mildest winter I can remember.  I’m not saying we won’t try cauliflower again, but we will probably wait until winter instead of fall, and we will most likely just plant it in the greenhouse.

The carrots, however, were a different story.  They did absolutely nothing.  We had, I think, two come up but they just wouldn’t get any bigger, so we transplanted them into the greenhouse hoping that would help.  From what I read after the fact, we probably didn’t keep them wet enough and we let a crust form on the soil before they germinated.

So, again, we thought we had the answer to the problem and we would just sow them indoors to get them started then transplant them into the greenhouse, along with those two we “rescued” from the garden…WRONG!  If you are like me and have never grown carrots, please learn from our mistake:  never, ever, never, never, ever, never, NEVER transplant carrots (from what I’ve read, this goes for pretty much any root crop).  It’s next to impossible to transplant without damaging the root structure, and this lovely mess is what you end up harvesting:

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Now, isn't this something you want to dip into some ranch dressing and crunch on? I didn't think so.

Although they taste normal, out of all our carrots, only these three looked the most normal (still not a pretty carrot):

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So, we are going to try again in the coming days to direct-sow more carrots in the garden – or possibly in the greenhouse.  After we sow, however, we will cover them with some loose, rich compost/soil and some plastic to keep the soil moist and soft until they germinate.

Have you ever had carrots turn out like this?  Was it because you transplanted?  I’d love to hear from you and gain some knowledge before we try this again!

Happy Homesteading!

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3 comments

  1. Dawn · March 27, 2012

    those are some wicked looking carrots! it’s so awesome that you guys garden…I would love to try that some day!
    Dawn

  2. Kirsten · April 1, 2012

    I’ve heard that carrots can get odd-shaped if the soil is rocky or clumpy… the root just kindof goes around dense soil. My family has never transplanted, so I am not sure. Here in central Florida, it is easier to get scraggly carrots, or ones with tons of greens and little root. It’s been a learning process. They don’t seem as easy to grow as other vegetables, such as collards. My mom found out that she got the best carrots by planting the tops of store-bought carrots, which somehow end up fatter than the carrots we get by growing from seed (and this is two different gardens, and two different sets of seed). We’ve definitely had some trouble with carrots…

    • Amy · April 1, 2012

      That’s interesting, Kirsten. I had no idea you could grow carrots from store-bought carrots. That’s something we’ll definitely have to try. Thanks for stopping by!

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