Growing carrots or cooking with carrots means having the right tools to do the job in both the garden and the kitchen.
Below is a list of items to consider. If you don’t already have some of these items, please check our Resources about Carrots for recommended suppliers for acquiring the right tools and equipment. Some of these are clearly cross-over tools that you can use for other purposes, but we’re listing them here just in case you don’t already have them in your kitchen or gardening shed.
Carrot-specific tools and equipment:
Dibblet: Want to make sure you’re planting your seeds to just the right depth? Put that ruler away and use a dibblet. It looks a little like a wooden carrot, and it’s marked along the tip so you can measure twice, plant once.
Garden scissors: Carrots don’t like competing for space, so you need to thin them out once they’re established. The thing is, pulling the extras out of the ground can disturb the neighbors. It’s often better to snip the target plants off at the base of the stem and avoid disturbing the roots.
Mandoline: Not just for chef’s kitchens anymore, the mandoline is a versatile tool. It’s especially helpful if you want super-thin carrot slices (don’t try that even with your best kitchen knife).
Mini snips: These are garden scissors on a smaller scale. Depending on your preference and your hand size, you may want to use snips instead of scissors as you’re thinning your carrot patch.
Peeler: We all need a peeler in the kitchen. Now, some people say that carrots pack a lot of their nutrition just under their skin, so you may want to opt for scrubbing over peeling. But if you’re making a side salad, pickled carrots, or you need some thin carrot shavings for a recipe, peel away!
Row maker: This is like a rake on steroids. Adjust the triangular tines at the distance you need, and pull the row maker through the soil. This is a great timesaver if you’re doing a lot of plantings.
Seed template: Carrot seeds are tiny. If you’d like to save yourself some thinning time as your carrots grow, use a seed template to mark out the spots where you plant your seeds. It’s an easy way to organize your carrot patch and cut down on the thinning phase.
Spiral Cutter: The spiral cutter is enjoying ongoing popularity. It makes quick work of cutting carrots into long, thin slices, and dishes made with spiral-cut carrots give the impression of noodles without all the weight and carbohydrates. It’s also a great tool for making zoodles (zucchini noodles).
General gardening tools and equipment:
Containers and Pots
If you want to start plants indoors before the outdoor growing season commences, you can try several environmentally friendly and free ways to begin with materials you probably already have:
- Newspaper or brown-paper pots
- Egg cartons
- Toilet-paper rolls (yes, these work great!)
- Random containers, kitchen pans, or baking sheets (you might need holes drilled into the bottom for drainage)—if you have aging or rusting kitchen pans that you’re looking to replace, they make for great “starter pots” for getting your garden launched inside
- Starter trays and peat pots
Using a pair of garden gloves—and wearing long sleeves—when you’re tending to your plants is a good way to avoid skin irritation and to protect your fingers, hands, and arms. Get a comfortable pair of gloves that fit well, so you still have full dexterity in your garden.
A useful garden tool, the garden trowel is handy when filling your containers and when mixing compost and worm castings. Avoid cheap versions that can have flimsy handles that are prone to break. Even inferior metal trowels can bend in hard clay or rocky soil. Invest in a higher quality trowel, and you’ll have it for years!
Many plants thrive when watered slowly and deeply. While tedious and even sometimes difficult to do with a watering can, you might want to consider an irrigation method for keeping your plants slowly and deeply watered.
A standard sprinkler system is not the best solution—while easy to set up, the wide-ranging water coverage of a sprinkler can lead to wet plant leaves that promote diseases and can encourage weeds.
A drip-watering irrigation system that operates on a timer is one of the best irrigation solutions for watering plants. This type of system better controls how much water you use, minimizes water lost to evaporation, and more exactly directs water to where you want to soak your soil. While more expensive than a simple watering can, an investment in an irrigation system can pay off—specially to ensure proper watering when you’re at work or on vacation!
Pruners or Snippers
Wear your garden gloves while pruning, and be sure to get a set of pruners or snippers that are comfortable in your hand when cutting. Don’t skimp on this—you need something that cuts well and will endure through many seasons.
Some areas of the country experience drought conditions in the spring and summer, and some municipalities may impose watering bans; that means hand watering only. If you collect rainwater, you can put it to good use when it comes time to tend your plants. Some communities offer rain barrels at a special discount to encourage water conservation.
Every gardener—no matter what plants you’re tending—needs a spade, or even several of different sizes. Use your spade to move around compost, dig soil for your initial plant hole, and to keep your garden soil tidy.
Spray Pump or Bottle
To control the emergence or spread of plant diseases and pests, get a dedicated spray bottle for your potion to do the job. This is one thing you can go basic on—no need for anything fancy, as a simple plastic spray bottle is fine.
Watering cans allow you to better control exactly where the water is directed in your garden. Plant leaves and fruit don’t need water, the roots in the soil do. Get yourself a good-sized watering can, and have some fun finding a watering can with an interesting design that fits your personality. Also, you want one that has a comfortable grip.
A wheelbarrow makes it easy for you to move soil and mulch from plant to plant; and it works as an excellent mixing bowl when you’re combining the perfect soil blend. If you feel like a wheelbarrow is just a little over the top for your gardening needs, a 5-gallon bucket may suffice. Just make sure you have a good trowel to mix with.
Do you have any essential gardening tools you use that aren’t listed here? Please tell us which items you absolutely need for your gardening.
Do you have any essential gardening tools you use that aren’t listed here? Please tell us which items you absolutely need for your carrot gardening.