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As winter is nearing we thought of introducing some winter plants and here we are with the ‘Crunchy masters’ Carrots!
Carrots are a popular root vegetable that are easy to grow in sandy soil. They are resistant to most pests and diseases, and are a good late season crop that can tolerate cold.
1) When to plant carrots?
Carrots grow best in cool weather. One can begin planting carrots as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring, even 2-3 weeks before your last frost.
You can succession plant carrots every couple of weeks, throughout the spring.
In warmer climates, you may have better luck growing carrots in the fall, through the winter.
2) What about the soil?
Carrots need a loose, well-draining soil. Rocks and clumps will cause the carrot roots to split and deform.
Growing carrots in raised-beds is the ideal situation.
Carrots do not grow well in highly acidic soil. A soil pH in the range of 6.0-6.8 is recommended.
And because they are grow for their roots, don’t go overboard with nitrogen fertilizer.
3) How to grow carrots?
Purchase carrot seeds and a pot or window box that’s at least a foot and a half deep and wide, with drainage holes at the bottom.
Fill the container to within an inch of the top with a humus-rich potting mix.
Water the soil before planting the seeds. Plant the seeds one inch apart in rows that are six inches apart from each other, pressing the seeds gently into the soil and covering them with a thin layer of soil.
Place the container in an area that receives tons of light. Keep the soil moist, but not soaked.
To help preserve moisture, soak some peat moss in water overnight and then spread it on top of the seeds.
Expect the seeds to germinate (i.e., start sprouting) in about 2 weeks.
4) How to harvest?
Carrots are ready for harvest when they have grown to about ¾ of an inch across the top (just below the green stem).
If you cannot see the carrot itself, gently brush aside some soil around the stem so you can size it up.
NOTE: Though it may be tempting to see how big carrots can get, they will start to lose their peak size.
To pick the carrots, grab them around a bit, then pull straight up. If you find that the soil is quite hard, water it and then wait an hour or so before retrying the harvest.
Once the carrots have been pulled from the soil, remove the greens immediately, wipe off any excess dirt and let them dry before storing in the fridge.
5) Pests and Insects:
i. Carrot rust fly:
Typical of many pests, the carrot rust fly is not an issue everywhere. Problems seem to be more prevalent in temperate regions. Fly larvae are problematic because they burrow into carrot roots, rendering them unmarketable.
The best methods for control include:
Maintaining a crop rotation of all crops within the carrot family (Apiaceae), and locating these crops as far away as possible from the previous year’s crop.
(Some other crops within the family Apiaceae include parsnips, celery, parsley, dill, chervil, fennel, and cilantro.)
Row cover is another method of exclusion. Covers should be placed over beds once the seeds germinate, and the edges should be buried in order to be effective.
ii. Wire worms:
Wireworms are the larvae of click beetles. They can be detrimental to a carrot crop as they burrow into the roots, drilling holes that make them unmarketable.
The best methods for control include:
Crop rotation (rotating with non-host species).
Avoid planting carrots in any location that was recently in sod.
Fall plowing, to expose wireworms to predators such as birds.
We hope that you enjoyed this post. If you have found it useful like, share and comment! Thank you all for your comments regarding previous post (tea cup planters) it was very encouraging to hear it from you! Stay tuned with us for more. Happy farming!