Why Homegrown Carrots Crack and What to Do About It

Carrots are a hardy crop that require larger amounts of moisture than other popular garden vegetables, they are not tolerant of drought. Prolonged hot weather in their later stages will retard carrot growth and generally result in an undesirable strong flavor as well as a coarse undesirable woody, fibrous texture.

One of the problems that happens from time to time is splitting and cracking of carrot roots, growth crack. The primary reason this occurs is inadequate moisture and sharp fluctuations in moisture. Not just too little water, but sometimes too much. Carrots need about an inch of water weekly during the active growing season. Always soak the soil thoroughly when watering. this helps to promote good root development, but not excessively ,so as to avoid rot. Inexpensive water timers are available.

The cracking of carrot roots frequently occurs after a period of drought, either natural or man made. Did you go away for a few days and the neighbors kid didn’t water the garden like you paid him to, or did he turn it into a pond ?

A lack of water followed by a sudden surge of moisture, such as a downpour after a period of drought, or you trying to compensate for low moisture by over watering causes cracking and splitting in carrots and other common veggies as well. Moisture stress not only results in carrots cracking but can also cause stunted poor quality carrots.

Over fertilization, particularly with high nitrogen fertilizer can cause carrots to develop multiple roots and at times crack in the process.

Cracked carrots are generally safe to eat, assuming no secondary opportunistic pathogens invaded the root prior to harvest, It is best to simply cut off the damaged portion. Common sense and a visual inspection should dictate whether the carrot is safe to eat or not.

Related: Causes for Deformed Carrots