One of my gardening rules is don’t bother planting things you can easily buy at the store that taste just as good. Unless, of course, when there’s a fun factor; an instant snacking gratification factor. Carrots fit the bill!
Planting carrots from seed is fine family fun, especially when mom makes it go quick so it doesn’t get tedious. I use a chopstick to poke a row of holes, 2 inches apart. The girls then drop in the tiny seeds, smooth a little dirt over them to cover, and then take turns misting both seeds and themselves with water. Two weeks later i invariably find a lovely row of carrot seedings, a few growing randomly among the potatoes and tomatoes, and sometimes even a funny little sprout heap six feet away. Thanks, girls, for bringing a little personality to the garden!
I do not recommend planting carrots from transplanted seedlings. We’ve tried transplants unsuccessfully, and my research confirms that transplanting is not a reliable method of starting carrots. Just because the garden store carries them, doesn’t mean they’re a great idea!
So, check out those seed packets. Carrots come in tons of colors, shapes, and sizes — all interesting. They require very little to no effort to grow, just full sun and regular water. They’re tasty, sweet, and crunchy. You can make them into cake, for heaven’s sake! But the best part about carrots is pulling them up. Want to see a kid drop everything and come running into the garden? Let her know there’s a carrot ready for the taking. (A carrot’s ready when the above-ground foliage is thick and full — not wispy. Also, you should be able to push away some of the dirt at the top of it, and get a sense for how developed the root underneath is; it should look/feel substantial.)
With the root vegetables, you never know quite what you’re going to get, especially when you buy a packet of carrot seeds promising a “Carnival Mix”. Purple, white, red and orange. Par-tay!