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Do you love carrots and would like to grow them organically? In this article we will show you how to grow, plant, sow, harvest, and more, to get beautiful organic carrots in your garden.
Carrots thrive in a slight soil of fine uniform texture, with no pebbles or hard lumps. They are best grown on light and sandy soil. The soil must be carefully prepared before sowing. Dig the soil and scoop up all the pebbles, and remove the permanent weeds.
Carrots can develop long spindle roots, depending on the variety, so the soil must be such that the roots can grow straight down. If you do not prepare it properly, you will get branched or otherwise distorted carrots.
Organic carrot protection and planting
Avoid the problem by planting short or medium length varieties in tall beds. With the back of the rake, chop the soil and form long furrows about 4 inches (10 cm) deep and 12 to 16 inches (30-40 cm) wide. Sow carrot seeds in the furrows, preferably sawn as the seeds are very small. It is also good to install drip pipes for effective watering because the beds of the furrows dry very quickly.
There are carrots of short, almost round root for cultivation on the smallest particles of land and long ones with pointed roots. Short-root carrots are harvested very early. They are gentler but less productive than the others. “Early” medium-long carrots are harvested in summer or fall. “Late” medium-long carrots and long are harvested in late fall.
How to weed
Carrots take a long time to germinate, so weeds can take up the flowerbed very quickly. Because of this, carrots are accompanied by the voice of a “messy” vegetable culture. It is difficult to prune weeds without breaking the roots of carrots. The solution to this problem is “false sowing.” Prepare the soil as if you were going to sow carrot seeds in it, but don’t do it. Wait for it to rain and weeds appear. As soon as the soil is dry, rake the young weeds with rakes. A few days later, when the soil is dry, repeat the same process and then truly “sow” the carrot seeds.
Water the carrot seeds with warm water and let them soak overnight. If you have a mung bean germ pot, use it to germinate carrot seeds for 48 hours and then sow them immediately. Do not let them dry.
“If you sow the seeds thickly, you will have a rare harvest.” This is especially true when it comes to carrots, whose tiny seeds are difficult to sow evenly in the furrow. The ideal seed spacing is 2 inches (5 cm), but you need to sow more to make up for those that will not sprout. For rare sowing, hold the seed packet high above an 3 inches (8 cm) wide furrow. Slowly move down the furrow and slam the packet with your fingers to drop the seed. Do not sow in windy weather, as the seeds will scatter throughout the garden. In order not to overdo the amount, mix the required amount of seed with dry ground coffee. It is easier to spread this larger and more visible mixture on the soil than fine seeds, and coffee is supposed to protect the crop from carrot flies and other insects.
Alternatively, mix the seed with sand to sow it evenly. You need to thin out the shoots so that the plants have enough space.
Sow carrots with onions and leeks
These plants are attacked by certain flies or moths that are attracted to their scent. Planting alternating rows of carrots and onions or leeks will disorient and discourage pests.
An odor that repels
Applying a strong odor, such as carbon black or seaweed powder, to the ground repels the carrot fly.
Mix carrot seeds and radish
Mix carrot seeds and radish. As radishes sprout rather faster than carrots, they will mark the rows, so it will be better to see where to dig. You will pick the radishes before the carrots need all the space.
Carrots can also be combined with aromatic herbs, especially coriander, dill, and rosemary. These species will offer her partial protection against carrot flies.
Carrot fly protection
Carrot flies, whose larvae do great damage to carrots by drilling their roots, find their host plant flying above the soil surface. Protect the carrots by raising a fine mesh barrier or agro textile attached to the frame about two or three rows around the crop. The frame should be taller than the plants, and it is best to secure it with sticks. Remove and destroy infected plants immediately.
Carrot flies lay their eggs in late May, so plant plants from mid-June to early July to avoid infection.
Precise weed removal
Removing weeds from the row of carrots is an extremely delicate task. It is best to knit with a knitting needle.
Carrots can cheat. Above the ground, they have big necks that promise a lot, but when it comes time to get them out of the ground, you get an unpleasant surprise – the root has stopped growing after just a few inches and is followed by new spindle roots – forked. The problem is in the soil. The forked crop is caused by a deeper, compact soil layer (a consequence of tillage every year to equal depth), the soil of poor structure with hard lumps, or the presence of insufficiently degraded fertilizer. It can also be caused by insects and other parasites that cause disease. Next year, dig the earth deeper and more thoroughly.
Wait until the shoots have two or three straight leaves (except cotyledon) and then thin them out. Leave one plant every 2 inches (5 cm). Save time and energy by sowing weeds while thinning carrots. You can chase away rabbits by pointing down the matches near each carrot with its head down.
If you try to rip a carrot by holding it by the leaves, you will end up with leaves in your hand and roots in the soil. Before carving, push the carrot gently into the soil to enlarge the hole, break the small roots that attach the main root to the soil, and easily tear out the plant.
The importance of drying
After you have plucked or taken out the carrots, leave them for a day or two on the surface of the ground to ensure they will be well maintained. This process, called “drying”, tightens the skin and is extremely important to carry out before the winter storage of carrots in the trap or in the cold cellar. When you have removed the carrots, cut the leaves just above the neck, at the point where it connects to the root.
Storage of carrots in soil
The best way to store late carrots is to leave them in winter in the soil. If the temperature drops to less than 23 °F( -5ºC), frost can damage them. Some protection will be provided by a 2 inches (5 cm) thick layer of wilted leaves or straw that adheres to agro textiles.
Use of wooden crates
Coat a wooden fruit crate with a coarse cloth. Remove soil from carrots and take care not to damage the roots, but do not wash them. Stack the carrots in a box on a thick layer of insulating material – compost, sand, sawdust or leaf humus. Finally, cover them with insulating material. Store the crate where the temperature will be constantly between 32°F (0º) and 39 °F (4ºC).