My carrots have split their sides. Why?

Sometimes when you harvest your carrots, you may find that they have cracked up. Not in a “that was hilarious” kind of way, but in a “we got a bit thirsty” kind of way. They will be split, or cracked, from top to bottom. It’s not a huge problem in that you can still harvest and eat your carrots, but it is something to avoid as if they are then left in the ground they can often start to rot.

This root splitting is seen when a hot, dry spell (i.e. the one that we have had recently) is interrupted by a heavy downpour. The carrots have been used to the relatively dry conditions, working hard to take up water and the roots are growing slowly. With the sudden availability of water, the carrots take up a big amount of water and have a growth spurt that they are not ready for. The result is the crack/split that appears.  The same may happen with parsnips, beetroot and other root veg, but we find carrots are the most affected.

To avoid it, you need to make sure your carrots are getting enough moisture from the soil during dry spells. We find that a good weekly watering will usually do the trick.