When Do I Harvest Carrots – The Right Time?

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Last Updated on July 29, 2022

When do I harvest carrots and how can I ensure they are fully mature before I harvest them?

Carrots are a popular vegetable crop in the US. They are a rich source of vitamin A and vitamin C, with a wide variety of colors available. They are an easy-to-grow crop that takes only 6-8 weeks from seed to ready for harvest.

Carrots can be eaten fresh or stored for future use. They are a good choice for growing in raised beds or containers.

Growing Conditions For Carrots – When Do I Harvest Carrots?

  • Well-draining Soils. Carrot growing is very simple and can be done in your own backyard. You should have a large area of well-drained soil with good drainage. This will ensure that the carrots are properly grown and don’t rot.
  • Planting Season.  It is important to plant carrots in the spring, not in the summer or fall. The soil should be warm enough to allow the seeds to germinate but not too hot. If you are planting carrots in the fall, it’s important to remember that you need a long growing season in order to get them to mature. That means a minimum of 70-80 days of growing time. You should wait until after your last frost to start harvesting carrots. If you are growing in the spring, it is recommended that you harvest carrots when they 1- 1½ inches in diameter.
  • Provide Enough Nutrients. It is recommended to add organic matter to the soil. Carrots like to grow in rich, loamy soil that contains plenty of nitrogen.
Growing Conditions For Carrots

When Do I Harvest Carrots?

So when do I harvest carrots? The best time to harvest carrots is when they are mature. In the US, you can usually get away with harvesting carrots at any point from mid-October through December.

From planting a seed to harvest, carrots take an average of 70 days to grow but can take as many as 80 days. They need a long growing season to develop their full flavor.

Carrots are grown from seed, which takes about 25 days maximum to germinate. They are then transplanted into the soil as soon as they have two true leaves. The plant will produce foliage and then the roots.

It takes approximately 35 – 45 days for the plant to reach maturity. At this point, the carrot has developed all of its leaves and is ready to be harvested.

How To Harvest Carrots

Carrots are a healthy addition to the diet, and they’re easy to grow. Carrots take about 70 days to grow to maturity.  At this point, they are ready for harvesting.

Carrots can be harvested at any time during their growth cycle, although most people wait until they’re about two inches in diameter. Carrots should be harvested when the tops are tight and firm.

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When Do I Harvest Carrots

This is when they are at their sweetest and most flavorful. When harvesting carrots, remove them from the soil by pulling up the entire root. Then cut off the top with a sharp knife.

If you are planning on storing your carrots, remove any loose or damaged leaves, then wrap them in plastic bags. Store them in a cool, dark place.

How Do I Store Carrots?

Once you harvest your mature carrots, it’s best to store them properly to ensure they retain their freshness throughout their storage life.  Carrots are highly perishable and should be stored in a cool, dry place.  Carrots can be stored for a few weeks in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

If you’re storing carrots in a root cellar, don’t forget to cover the tops with dirt so they don’t dry out.

To extend the storage life of carrots, try freezing them.  Freezing carrots will slow down the respiration process and maintain freshness for longer periods of time. To freeze your carrots, cut off the greens and peel the skin before washing. 

Then place the carrot into a freezer bag and freeze.  After thawing, you can use the carrots as you normally would.  Carrots should be cooked or used in salads within five days after they’ve been frozen.

Health Benefits Of Carrots

Carrots have many health benefits.

  • They contain fiber and beta-carotene, both of which are good for the body. Beta-carotene is a form of vitamin A that has been found to be beneficial in maintaining healthy eyesight.
  • Carrots contain a high amount of potassium and vitamins C, E, K, and B6.
  • They also contain the antioxidant compounds quercetin and kaempferol.


The USDA recommends that children eat at least two cups of carrots per week. Raw carrot juice contains about 2.3 grams of protein per cup and is considered an excellent source of iron and a very good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and folic acid. Carrot seeds contain large amounts of oil (about 40%), which makes them a good source of energy.

Summary Of When Do I Harvest Carrots

When do I harvest carrots? Carrots are a member of the parsley family and are annual. They will be ready to harvest in their first year of planting from seed.

Carrots can be harvested as soon as the tops die down, but it is best to wait until the tops have fallen over. It takes about six weeks for carrots to grow from seed to maturity. The growing season starts in April and ends in October.

There are two main varieties of carrots, round and long. Round carrots have smooth skin with no eyes and the length can vary from 1 1/2-3 inches. Long carrots have knobby skin with eyes and the length can vary from 4-8 inches. Carrots should be harvested when they are 1 to 1½ inches in diameter.


What happens if you leave carrots in the ground too long?

Carrots are not hardy plants and will not grow in cold or wet conditions. The best time to plant is spring, summer, fall or winter. If left in the ground for too long, they lose their taste and become bitter.

How tall should carrots be before harvesting?

The carrot should be harvested at least one inch above the soil surface, and no more than two inches below the soil surface. If the carrot is allowed to grow taller than this it will be much more difficult to pull out.

What happens if you don’t harvest carrots?

Carrots that are left in the ground for a few weeks may become soft and moldy due to the growth of fungus. It's best to leave carrots in the ground until they are about one inch in diameter.

After that, you can cut them off and leave them on the ground. The root end will continue to grow down into the soil, but the top part will remain above ground.

How do I know when carrots are ready to harvest?

You can tell when carrots are ready to harvest by looking at the tops. If they have yellowed slightly or are beginning to turn brown, then they are ready. If they are still green, then they are not yet mature.

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