Growers frequently contact us with questions about how to best store carrots and determine when they are ready for harvest. Here are some general rules and best practices for ensuring the highest level of shelf life and eating quality. Early Crop, Main Crop, and Storage varieties are the three seasonal categories into which Johnny’s carrot varieties are divided. Each variety has undergone repeated trials, and we assign it a number to represent its average days to maturity based on the results (DTM). The DTM number is intended to provide growers with a number for planning, but every grower is aware that conditions can change.
Harvesting & Preparing (Storage) Carrots for Storage.
Harvesting mature carrots for storage is best done when they are still easily dignable and after a few light frosts but before a hard freeze. Any part of the plants above the soil surface will suffer ᴅᴀᴍᴀɢᴇ from a hard frost. The National Weather Service (NOAA) reports that light frosts can form when temperatures reach 34°F/-1.1°C and that a hard freeze can happen when they drop below 28 Fl-2.2°C. Use your typical first fall frost date as a cutoff for planning purposes, but keep an eye on the forecast to determine your actual best date.
To prevent overheating the roots in the sun, it is preferable to harvest in the fall on a cooler day than on a warm one. Days to maturity can change based on the growing environment, just like early and main crop carrots. Pull a few samples from your carrot bed as the anticipated harvest date draws near and check to see if the carrot tips are full and the flavor is as developed as possible.
To harvest, carefully pull the roots from the ground with your hands, a garden fork, or our Harvest Broadfork. The tops should be cut off after the roots have been harvested for storage. Shake off any extra soil before cutting the tops off, about 4-1/2″ above the root shoulders. By trimming the root ends or removing the root hairs, you shouldn’t encourage decay. The carrots can either be washed and briefly allowed to air dry before storing, or they can be stored with any soil that is still adhered to them after the tops have been removed.
There has been a lot written about the various ways to handle and store carrots. Some advise not washing the roots before storing them, while others do. While some articles suggest that a damp storage medium is not required, others discuss techniques like putting roots in bins of damp sand, sawdust, or leaves.
Let’s see Amazing Process of Growing, Harvesting and Processing Carrots – Modern Farming Machines Agriculture in the ᴀᴡᴇsome video below.
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