July is the perfect time to plant carrots

July 7, 2021

Best known as the voice of Bugs Bunny, on Jan. 24, 1961, Mel Blanc almost died in a head-on car accident. Suffering from a triple skull fracture, he was in a coma for two weeks. The attending neurosurgeon tried to pull him out of his coma  by addressing him “Bugs Bunny, how are you doing today?” and amazingly Mel Blanc responded "What's up, Doc?"

But it may be Bugs Bunny's favorite snack that is truly the lifesaver. The U.S. Department of Agriculture found that eating two carrots per day lowered cholesterol levels about 20 percent, and a single carrot provides 200 percent of your daily vitamin A requirement.

July is the perfect time to plant carrots that will grow all summer and be ready to harvest in the fall garden.

To plant carrots, dig the soil as deep as you can, remove rocks and add compost. The ideal soil will have a pH of 6.0-7.0 Dig a shallow furrow and and sow the seeds about three inches apart in rows 18 to 24 inches apart.

Lightly cover the seeds with fine soil or sifted compost. If handling small seeds is hard for you, try pelleted carrot seeds. Pelleted carrot seeds are coated with a clay-based material so the seeds are a larger, round shape, and easier to sow.

To avoid split roots, water regularly. Once the carrot plants are  four inches tall, thin them out so that each carrot has room to grow. When your carrot plants have seven to 10 leaves, hill up about one to two inches of soil around the base of the plants to prevent the tops of the carrots from turning green. To prevent common diseases such as blight, do not plant carrots in the same spot for at least three years.

Carrots are best harvested when one-half-inch to three-quarters-inches around. The day before harvest, be sure to water them thoroughly for the juiciest carrots.

Besides familiar orange carrots, try Yellowstone and Amarillo yellow carrots, Cosmic Purple and Dragon purple carrots, Lunar white carrots and Atomic red carrots. If your soil is heavy with clay or you want to grow carrots in flowerpots, try Parisian round carrots or Oxheart and Chantenay carrots that are stubbier than traditional long carrots. Carrot seeds are readily available at most nurseries and garden centers or by mail from companies such as High Mowing Seeds ( and Johnnys Selected Seeds (

Carrots actually taste better after a few frosts. You can dig up the roots anytime during the winter. If your ground tends to freeze solid, try mulching the carrot bed with straw or leaves.

Carrots are one of the few vegetables that are actually more nutritious cooked than raw. Cooking breaks down the tough cell walls, releasing the nutrients. Plant carrots in July, and this fall and winter you will have enough to add to soups and stews or serve glazed with honey and ginger. You can always bake them into carrot cakes and muffins. Homegrown carrots will be tastier than anything in the stores because they will have all of their natural sugars and juice.

And who knows? They might jar you from a coma.

  • Paul Barbano writes about gardening from his home in Rehoboth Beach. Contact him by writing to P. O. Box 213, Lewes, DE 19958.

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