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Do you love carrots and would like to grow it in your garden? In this article we will show you how to grow, plant, sow, harvest, and more, to get beautiful carrots in your garden.
For growing, carrots need:
- slightly mild acidic soil
- its processing should be plowed up to a maximum of 12 inches (30 cm) deep
- it should be planted in months that are neither too hot nor too cold. Seeks regular watering.
Table of contents:
- Generally about carrots
- Carrot sowing/planting
- Carrot cultivation and maintenance
- Cattle carrots, forage roots
- Carrots diseases and pests
- Carrot harvesting and storage
- Carrots in the kitchen
- Medicinal properties of carrots
- Interesting facts about carrots
Generally about Carrots
Carrots are two-year-old herbaceous vegetables from the Apiaceae family, including celery, parsley, fennel, dill, coriander, parsnip, and similar plants. It has a characteristic orange root that forms in the first year of cultivation, and in the second year, generative organs are formed – flower, fruit, and seed.
The size and shape of the root vary depending on the variety, and the most commonly used for nutrition is the cylindrical one. The carrots have feathery complex leaves, and on the flower stalk are white flowers clustered in thyme. As seed material, tiny single-seeded fruits are used.
These vegetables as we know them today are derived from wild carrots, which have a more robust white root and a coarse, hairy, and tall stalk. There are several types of wild carrots growing, mostly in meadows, in forests, and along riverbanks. Wild carrot root is also good to eat, but only in the first year because it later becomes woody and hard.
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BIN CARROTS: ok, so I’m going to admit it. I suck at growing carrots. I’m impatient, they take forever and I need the space for other crops so I always end up pulling them early! This year I’m trying out a new (to me) technique. I’m going to follow my friend @torontogardener ‘s method of growing carrots in big storage totes. I’m using those tall Rubbermaid roughneck bins. I’m going to plant them and forget about them until I need to thin them. And because I’ll be growing them in bins, I can move them around as needed (assuming this COVID situation changes and we can finally have a garden party, I can just move the bins to the side of the house and free up some mingling room). Carrots thrive in mediocre soil so I’m going to repurpose last years potting mix and that’s a win win!
Carrots must be grown in a row and may be planted on parcels where vegetables have been previously grown that have been heavily fertilized with manure such as peas, potatoes, cabbages or peppers.
Successfully growing carrots require slightly acidic soils with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. It is suitable for sandy soils and alluvial deposits with the right amount of water, while clayey and unstructured soils should be avoided as they cause root deformation. So the soil structure should be crumbly, and since the carrots do not tolerate weeds, herbicides are added to the soil before sowing.
Carrot planting or sowing can be done from early March until mid-May. The exact planting time depends on the climatic conditions and the length of vegetation of the variety. The earlier the sowing, the higher the root yield will be and the more carotene and sugar it will contain.
Related: How to Grow Carrots Organically?
To keep the root of the carrot nice and straight, a slight flowerbed should be prepared for planting. Therefore, sand and manure are added to the earth. Carrots are sown on larger areas with seed drills. Seeds are sown in rows or double strips.
When planting in rows, the spacing within the rows is 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm), the spacing between the rows is 12 to 16 inches (30 to 40 cm), and the planting depth is 0.4 to 0.6 inches (1 to 1.5 cm). For sowing, in double strips, 30 inches (75 cm) should be left between the strips and 2 inches (6 cm) within the strips.
For the carrot yield to be higher and the root richer in iron and carotene, fertilization must also be carried out. Part of the fertilizer is introduced during basic and pre-sowing soil preparation and the rest in the form of fertilization.
The exact amount of fertilizer required depends on the structure and chemical analysis of the soil, but roughly phosphorus is required in the amount of 270 – 360 lbs/ac (300 – 400 kg/ha), potassium in the amount of 180 – 270 lbs/ac (200 – 300 kg/ha) and nitrogen in the amount of 135 – 180 lbs/ac (150 – 200 kg/ha). If the soil is acidic, lime should also be added and the exact amount depends on the percentage of soil acidity.
Carrot cultivation and maintenance
Carrot seeds can germinate as early as 37 – 41 °F (3 – 5 ° C), but in this case, the sprouting phase will be very long. After emergence, young plants are quite frost resistant and can withstand damage up to 23 °F (-5 ° C) without damage, but in earlier varieties, under such conditions, they can switch to the generative phase as early as the first year.
The optimum temperatures for carrot growth and development are about 64 °F (18 ° C), while at daytime temperatures higher than 86 °F (30 ° C) the root will develop more slowly and remain small. In areas where winters are mild, fresh roots can be harvested from winter until early spring.
Planting maintenance consists of shallow cultivation and watering. Shallow cultivation is carried out to loosen the soil. Plants should also be thinned when they have developed two true leaves.
The root of the carrot is well developed and has a strong suction power, so the plant can be supplied with water from deeper layers of soil, but to ensure good yield, planting should be irrigated during dry periods. Irrigation is especially important at the beginning of the growing season and at the time of intensive rooting.
Insufficient amounts of water at these stages can cause the assembly to thin out and the root to be irregular, tough and short. However, caution should be exercised with watering as excess water may reduce the sugar content of the roots.
Cattle carrots, forage roots
Cattle carrot, forage roots is a plant of temperate climate. It grows well at altitudes up to 5250 ft (1600 m). It likes a mild, sunny and humid autumn, so it grows best in late autumn. Autumn yield is from 35 to 50 t carrots/ha.
Cattle carrots have a high diet and forage value. It is rich in proteins and vitamins, especially carotene – provitamin A, and vitamins B and C. The plant is two years old and herbaceous, and in the first year it develops only vegetative organs (thickened root and leaf rosette), and in the second, generative organs (flowering tree, flower, fruit, and seeds).
Cattle carrots are used in the feeding of young animals and dairy cattle. The root is used directly to feed the livestock with possible pre-shredding for ease of consumption. The leaf dries and gives to young cattle during winter. It can also be dehydrated and grind into flour which is a very useful supplement to animal feed.
It is mainly grown in monoculture, but can also be combined with winter barley, rapeseed, peas, and spring beans. Root color is usually orange, yellow, cream-yellow, or white, and may be pink. The best pre-cultures are her one-year and many-year legumes.
Carrots diseases and pests
Various flies and moths are known to attack carrots. They can be rejected by planting onions or leeks next to the carrots. One common parasite is the carrot fly, and it can be repelled by applying black carbon or seaweed powder to the ground. Carrot fly is also repelled by planting aromatic herbs like coriander, dill, or rosemary.
Carrot plant larvae can cause great damage to carrot crops. The plantations are protected by raising the barrier of fine mesh, and if an infestation occurs on some plants, they should be removed and destroyed immediately. Contagion can also be prevented by later sowing, as carrot flies lay their eggs in May.
Carrot harvesting and storage
Carrots are technologically ripe and ready to be harvested when the tips of the leaves turn yellow but can be harvested before then. When harvesting on large areas, the leaves must first be cut and removed from the plot. The carrots are then harvested by the harvesters just for tuber or root crops. It can also be removed by combines, but in that case, the leaves are not mowed. Immediately after removal, it is cleaned off the ground and prepared for storage.
Carrots, which are grown in small quantities for your own use, are removed by hand, by pulling the roots together with the leaves or carefully digging, so as not to damage the root.
Early summer carrots are intended for fresh consumption, so they are not suitable for storage, but can be stored for autumn carrots. Autumn carrots can be stored for 6 months in above ground traps with horizontal and vertical insulation. The carrots are covered with a thin layer of earth that comes with an insulator and another layer of soil.
It can be stored in cellars for 2 to 3 months (at 35 – 41 °F (2 -5 ° C) and 90% relative humidity) and in refrigerators at 32 °F (0 ° C) and 97% relative humidity (this way can be stored 6-8 months).
Carrots in the kitchen
Carrots are widely used in cooking and can be prepared in a myriad of ways. Raw carrots are usually added to salads or eaten as a snack, and baked can be part of a variety of side dishes served with meat or fish. It can also be cooked on steam or in water and added to stews, goulashes, soups, sauces, basics, etc.
Raw carrots can be added to juices or smoothies, and in any combination, it will be a very healthy beverage. Given its sweet taste, it is also great for making cakes and other sweets. It is also used in the preparation of jams and desserts made from nuts.
Medicinal properties of carrots
Carrots are primarily beta-carotene-rich and contain lots of Vitamin C, E K, and Vitamin B groups. It also contains many minerals, primarily phosphorus, then potassium, manganese and molybdenum, and anthocyanins and hydroxynamic acid.
Beta carotene from carrots protects the body from infection and strengthens immunity. In addition, it is also known to help preserve vision, especially in children, and reduce the risk of glaucoma.
Carrots cure anemia and diseases caused by vitamin deficiency, such as rickets and scurvy. These vegetables are used in combination with honey to treat sore throat, and carrot juice has diuretic properties.
Carrot fibers reduce blood cholesterol levels and thus protect the cardiovascular system. Consumption of these vegetables is recommended for people suffering from diarrhea, and infants are given carrots to stop vomiting.
Carrot products can also be applied to the skin. They relieve burns and sores, heal wounds, eczema, purulent sites and affections.
Interesting facts about carrots
Carrots are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals and are therefore often consumed. It is an ingredient of many dishes in our traditional cuisine, and the same is true of other cuisines around the world.
It is first mentioned in documents from ancient Greece, which were written more than 2500 years ago. Carrot seeds were the most widely used at that time and began to be grown thousands of years ago in the area of today’s the Middle East. Carrots that were grown there had a purple root, while the varieties with yellow and orange roots appeared later.
About 60 types of carrots are known, the most famous of which is orange. Today, yellow or orange carrots are grown the most in Europe, while purple is still very popular in Asia and North Africa. It is interesting to mention that carrots are the first-ever canned vegetables.