Planting in Garden: Plant carrot seeds directly in the garden as soon as the soil can be worked. They are cold weather crops and can tolerate frosts. Make a small furrow in the ground about a half inch deep and sprinkle the seeds into it. Cover with soil. If the weather is dry, water the furrows before sprinkling in the seeds. They will take 10 days to two weeks before they will sprout. Carrots appreciate compost and manure in the soil, but only if it was applied to the garden the fall before. Carefully thin plants down to a couple of inches apart. Widen the space between them as they grow. Deep beds need less thinning. Damaging carrots in the thinning process attracts carrot flies, so be sure to pat the soil back in place after thinning.
Harvest: Pull carrots up as needed, starting at one end to avoid introducing a carrot fly invasion throughout your rows, which happens when you bruise carrots by thinning or harvesting. Carrots can stay in the ground until a hard freeze threatens or a very wet fall. Then pull them up, gently loosen dirt, and twist off the tops. (Washing them clean of dirt before storing them will speed rot.) Do not store any carrots with damage (eat them). Store carrots in a vented container (punch holes if necessary) filled with hay, sawdust, sand or peat in a cool, dry root cellar. They should not touch each other. An alternative is to sink a new metal trash can into the ground and covered it with generous amounts of hay. It should stay at 50° all winter. In very cold places, a ring of styrofoam inside the lid will protect from freezing.
Pests and Disease: Carrots are vulnerable to carrot flies, that lay their eggs on them. The hatching larvae burrow into the fleshy root. You can cut away the damaged part of the carrot and still eat the remaining carrot, but those carrots should not be stored.