Growing Carrots with Kids
Sandy loose soil.
A sunny area.
Access to water and Watering Can
First prepare your soil by adding in some compost and mixing well. Remove all rocks and large sticks.
Lightly scatter the carrot seeds on the surface. Cover with a very thin layer of soil. Water thoroughly.
Continue watering the carrots daily for the first few weeks, then water as needed.
We have found our carrots like water every other day.
Thin to 3 inches apart when the leaves appear. This is the HARDEST part of growing carrots, but the most essential if you really want to grow carrots. The more space they have to grow, the bigger they will get.
Why You Should and Should Not Grow Carrots with Kids:
Growing carrots with kids teaches many life skills.
6 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.
5 Reasons Why You Really Shouldn’t Grow Carrots
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.
Start with a small area and have low expectations.
Let the kids plant, but make sure to thin the sprouts to give each carrot room to grow. I know it’s hard, but if you give each their own space, they will grow better.
Re-plant a new area in your garden with carrot seeds every few weeks for a continuous harvest. 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. This will help signal to you that they are getting big enough to harvest.
When you pick the carrot – cover the space back up with dirt. This seems to help the carrots nearby continue growing better.
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.
When you are looking at which seed to choose, I would start with a mid-size carrot which works best in most soil types. Look at the picture and read the information on the seed packet. One year we bought a carrot with a name like, “Thumbkin.” We waited 3 months to harvest the carrots and they were the size of a thumbnail – just like the package described. It was not a very stomach filling crop and we all were disappointed!
Literacy Connections for Kids:
Our kids are active participants in the garden. They help prepare the soil, plant, water, and harvest. We often connect the vegetables we plant with related books and are even known to spread out a big quilt in the yard and read to the vegetables.
Reading a combination of fiction and non-fiction books about carrots helps introduce and reinforce vocabulary and give them a broader understanding of how they grow.
Here are a few carrot themed books that would be fun to read to your carrots!
The Life Cycle of a Carrot (Plant Life Cycles)
Carrots Grow Underground (How Fruits and Vegetables Grow)
The Carrot Seed 60th Anniversary Edition
The Giant Carrot
Curious George The Perfect Carrot (CGTV Reader)
Princess and the Peas and Carrots
You Are the Pea, and I Am the Carrot
The Very Big Carrot