November 07, 2013

How Many Pounds of Carrots Can You Harvest Per Square Foot?

Friends, I am about to share with you some shocking carrot statistics.

The other day, I harvested a 2-foot-by-2-foot patch of carrots from my garden. I stashed my harvest in the fridge until I could deal with it, and tonight I washed, sliced and blanched the carrots, to get them ready for the freezer.

Knife on cutting board with heirloom carrots

From that 4 square feet of growing space, I ended up with three bags of carrots, totaling 8 pounds. EIGHT pounds! Two pounds per square foot seems good to me.

A bowl of fresh sliced organic carrots

Even better, though, is how much those 8 pounds cost me. I had planted the carrots by seed earlier in the year, and they were purple-skinned carrots from a seed company called Botanical Interests. The seeds (which were on sale) cost me $1. Admittedly, that’s a great deal for seed.

So, in the end, I paid 12.5 cents per pound for these organic, homegrown, delicious carrots. Amazing! Yes, I would need to factor in the money I spent to water the garden to get a true cost. I could also factor in a few pennies for my Ziploc bags, but because I reuse each of these bags approximately 3,000 times, I call that a wash. Any way you slice it, this is badass.

Freezer bags full of carrots

Long story short: I love gardening; I love carrots; organic food isn’t always expensive; I want you to feel so shocked and awed that you plant 4 square feet of carrots in spring.

If you happen to see frozen organic carrots at the supermarket, leave a comment here to share how much they cost per pound. Now anything more than about 25 cents per pound is going to seem extravagant.

10 comments:

  1. 8 pounds of carrots???? What the hell??? Impressive (especially since I had carrots with my roast tonight). Not organic, shame on me!!!

    Great photos, great information!!

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    1. My mother-in-law said "what the hell" on my blog. My life is now complete!

      Thanks for reading, mom. Y'all should grow some carrots in with your tomato patch next year. I would be so impressed. I can even show you how to freeze them, because I know you only eat frozen vegetables now, and not canned. :)

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    2. carrots and tomatoes are companion plants grow b etter and when you cook tomatoes add carrots will sweeten it old trick

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  2. Tell us more about your culture for carrots. I have raised beds and can not get a decent crop.

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    1. Hi, Elena, and thanks for reading! I have slightly raised beds (about 6 inches high) and I amend the beds with lots of compost before planting seeds. I also loosen the beds deeply with a garden fork before planting. I intensively plant close rows of carrot seed, making sure the soil I cover the seed with is very fine (no clumps at all). I tamp the soil down really well so there's good contact between the soil and seed, so the water will reach the seeds. Then I just water them lightly every day until they sprout. When the seedlings are about an inch tall, I water them all with an organic liquid fertilizer blend.

      I live in the Pacific Northwest, so I also make sure to be diligent about slug control whenever there are new seedlings in the garden. I hand-pick often, and I sprinkle an organic slug-control product called Sluggo around my garden.

      Hope this helps! Good luck with your carrot crop next year.

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  3. Your post made me jealous! :D Much of our garden did poorly this year, and my 2'x2' carrot patch wasn't nearly as prolific (fun note - we use the same seeds you did!).

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    1. There are certainly some crops that weren't prolific for me this year. For instance, I must have tried to sow spinach seed three different times in spring and a couple of times in fall, and I had terrible luck. Gardening can sometimes help keep us humble, that's for sure: certain things tank, while some crops thrive. Hope your carrots do better for you next year!

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  4. What a great post! A good reminder that for a little work here and there, we can all eat healthy. Those bagged carrots look beautiful. How nice to know you have them waiting for you in the freezer. I need to get back to growing carrots. I use to and have used my spaces for other crops recently. Certainly I can spare a square foot or two!

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