If you are new to gardening and cultivation this is for you. Carrots are pleasant looking vegetable sin orange red colors. Just so that you know, there are 5 different types according to its shape- ball type, chantenay, Danvers, Nantes and imperator. The first three varieties favor shallow soil and the latter two grows well in loose soil. It is important to know the type of the variety before planting. Here start the important points to remember when cultivating carrots and planting growing carrots.
Growing carrots from seed, from carrot tops and indoors in winter
- Soil preparation: Carrots are better grown in raised beds or in the soil that is deep dug. The soil should be loose enough for the roots and remove the rocks. Once the soil is tilted, add manure compost.
- Sowing: Make sure that the soil is even without any lumps or stones. Sow the small seeds about 1-6 in number at each point that are once inch apart.
- Planting: Sowing the seeds is done at least 3 weeks prior to the cool weather. The average maturity period for carrots is 70-80 days and the next batch can be sowed soon enough. Always remember, planting should be done is such a way that the harvesting can be done before the expected frost.
- Germination: The seeds of carrots germinate in 1-3 weeks time. The germination is slower in cold soil. Adding fast growing radish seeds will help you spot the sprouts. Once the seeds are sown, cover the area with ¼ – ½ inch of compost or potting mix.
- Watering must be done gently so that it does not dislocate the seeds or do any harm. Once the sprouts germinate, thin the seeds to once inch apart and then to 3-4 inches so that the plants do not crowd each other, otherwise the roots will be crooked and the carrots will be ill formed.
- Mulching would be a good idea to retain the moisture at the upper level. Also, cover up the growing crown of the plants with mulch or soil so that it remains lighter in color and does not become bitter.
- Harvesting is done when the air is dry but the soil is still moist. The best time for harvesting is morning time, or when the sun emerges out. The plants must be pulled out with bare hands. Any tool will only harm the crops. To make the task easier, water the bed so that the soil is softened and the plants may come out easily.
- Preservation or storage of carrots is done by removing the tops by twisting but retaining the soil on it. Do not wash the carrots. Store them in boxes lined with straw and layer it so that the roots are not damaged. Remove only the excess soil and make sure that some soil is still stuck on to the roots. Mulching the garden and storing the carrots on it also works.
- Carrots are delicate plants that are easily succumbed to diseases. The common pest that attack carrots are, rust flies, parsley worms, weevils, nematodes etc. The most common disease of the plant is yellow blight which makes yellow/white spots on the leaves that later turn brown and watery. Soft rot caused by bacteria and yellow diseases are the other common diseases. Planting resistant variety is the best option and also make sure that the soil is no drenched or the leaves are not left soaked in water and moisture.
Growing carrots in Containers – Tips for grow carrots in Containers
One of the best projects for fall or early spring, carrots need cool temperatures than summer. There are many varieties of carrots with sizes and natures that come with a set of climatic conditions. For container gardening, you will need smaller variety of carrot plants that not only mature small but also take only a few days. Some of the best examples are Purple Dragon or Purple Haze.
The type of soil preferred by carrots are looser and lighter with some perlite thrown in. This will promote easier growth of roots and reach deep down with good length. Buy food grade plastics that do not leak any toxic chemicals that can be detrimental to your plants as well you. Make sure that the soil is NOT dense as carrots tend to grow difficult and grow in weird directions with probably 2-3 legs. The best container needs to be more than 12″ deep. You can even use a raised bed. It takes 60 to 75 days for harvest as per the variety you are growing.
Since carrot seeds are very tiny and hard to manage, it won’t be visible where exactly you have planted if you are growing in a ground. Hence it is best to grow carrots in containers to check frequently how many have sprouted.
Gardening carrots in your raised bed
Sowing carrots in raised beds is easy. Using plant marker draw a line in the soil. Instill a row of seeds to sow. Cover these seeds lightly using the soil around and water lightly. If you are sowing more than a row, make sure you give them good space around 7cm apart from other row. Water is a necessity when it comes to growing carrots. They may need watering atleast twice a day if the weather is warm during sunny climate. At least feed your carrots once a week with organic fertilizers that will encourage for better root growth. If seedlings emerge (about 10 days), make it a point to thin them out to about 1cm apart. This is to inhibit attraction of flies and rodents. Don’t thin it further and once the carrots grow to the extent of congestion simply harvest them out.
Growing Carrots Indoors
Among the easiest veggies to grow, carrots can easily grow indoors and can be an attractive decor for your home. There are many baby carrots that easily grow in containers so make sure you choose a pot of atleast 8 inches to grow short varieties and save 10-12 inches for the standard length carrots.
For starters, begin with seedlings and once they sprout clip out the extra ones to give them at least half inch space. The best location is near a sunny window to help with proper photosynthesis function. Make sure to keep the soil moist until seeds sprout and always water the containers when the soil is dry. Liquid houseplant fertilizer work best for your carrots so make sure to feed them once every two weeks. Harvest when they give out a mature color.