Carrot is a versatile vegetable and grows in all climatic conditions. The most important information you should know about growing carrots are selecting seeds, selecting containers, type of soil, how to plant, thinning, weeding etc.
Carrots are easy to grow in containers. Selected container should be 12-14 inch deep and should have proper drainage system to prevent soaking of carrots in water.
Carrots grows well in loose and sandy soil with well rotten compost. The pH of the soil should be in range of 6.0-6.8. The selected soil should have proper drainage and must be free from small stones or pebbles and clay.
Potting soil consists of all the nutrients and minerals that are required by the carrots and is free from weeds and pests.
Carrot roots loses its shape and becomes unhealthy when it is planted in heavy and stony soil.
You should not over fertilize your plants because it harms the plant. Prefer using of organic fertilizers like seaweed(kelp meal) .
Most of the potting soil contains organic matter which helps the plant growth. You can make your own organic fertilizers and also you can use well rotten compost.
Plants requires nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium for its growth and are supplied through fertilizers. Nitrogen makes the plant to grow faster.
Phosphorous and potassium improves the disease resistance power and root growth. Organic fertilizers provides other supplementary nutrients in addition with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Mix seaweed(kelp) to your potting soil because it slowly breaks down and provides nutrients, minerals, carbohydrates and amino acids to plants which are helpful for its growth.
Add compost to potting soil because it helps in improving carrot growth. Adding wood ash to potting soil makes carrots delicious and tasty.
Check the nitrogen levels in soil because nitrogen makes carrots shaggy and fibrous.
- Place the container in an area which is having access to sunlight.
- Carrots requires 6-8 hours of sunlight.
- Based on intensity of heat, you can move the containers to shaded areas.
- Over exposure with sunlight damages the health of carrots.
Plantation Of Carrots:
Mix compost and organic fertilizers with potting soil and water it before plantation. Use certified seeds for growing carrots since they are free from diseases.
For faster sprouting, soak the seeds for a period of 8 hours before plantation. Usually it takes 11-14 days for a seed to germinate. Sow the seed one fourth inch deeper in the soil.
If you are growing more than one carrot in container, maintain a gap of 4-6 inch between them.
Cover the sown seeds with soil. Apply a layer of leaf mold(decayed leaves) about one fourth inch which slowly decomposes to provide additional nutrients to the plant and acts as mulching layer.
After 2 weeks of plantation you observe the growth of leaves. You can easily distinguish between carrot leaves and weeds. If you observe weeds, pull them out.
The baby carrots starts growing within 15-24 days after plantation. The process of removing carrots that are growing between the gap(the space provided between carrots) is called thinning of carrots.
Don’t keep the removed carrots nearer to the carrot growing containers because they attract carrot pests. Water the container regularly to keep the soil moist.
Over watering kills the plant. Check the container every week to remove pests and weeds.
It takes about 50-80 days for harvesting the carrots. If you grow carrots in batches i.e., planting for every 10-12 days helps in continuous supply of carrots year round.
Pests And Slugs:
If you are using potting soil and growing the carrots in containers, you need not worry about pests and slugs.
But if you are using garden soil to grow carrots then you have to worry about it.
The Carrot Fly:
The carrot fly lays eggs near the plant. The larva makes a tunnel, travels towards the roots and damage them.
This makes the plant unhealthy and carrots becomes rusty yellowish orange or rusty orange color. Roots turns into black or dark color.
Carrot flies cannot fly higher. So, place the container 18-24 inches above the ground.
If you have no chance to keep the container at height and want to place on ground, cover the plant with mesh like mosquito net which acts as barrier. Mulching with grass confuses the female flies to find out the site for laying eggs.
Leaf hopper indirectly damages the carrots and transmits aster yellow which is a deadly disease in carrot.
Improper plant growth, curly yellow leafs are symptoms of aster yellow. So, cover the plant with mesh to keep away the leaf hopper.
Root Knot Nematode:
This tunneling pest eats and misshape the carrot.
The fully grown wire worm is impossible to clear from garden. They tunnel into carrots and leave them open to rot.
Tips For Avoiding Pests
Growing carrots along with onions keeps the pests away. Spray the solution of wood ash and water near the plants because it helps in keeping the pests away and even supplies potassium to the plant.
Move the containers for every 18-20 months because this helps in keeping pests away.
Slugs eats leaves, seedlings and roots of carrots even organic methods wont stop them but slows them.
Tips For Avoiding Slugs
Place the broken shells of eggs around the plant because the sharp edges of the shells injures their body.
Lay out the coffee grounds or playground sand around the plants to keep the slugs away.
If you observe slugs around your plant, place corn meal near that plant because snail eats that corn meal and dies.
Depending on the type of variety you used, climate and other related conditions it takes 50-90 days to harvest the carrot.
You can even consume the baby carrots during thinning process. When the top part (orange part) of carrot is having 0.5 inch diameter then you can harvest them. Pull them up by holding the top part (orange part) of root.
Don’t pull up by using green part because they may break.
After harvesting, cut the green part as soon as possible because the carrots may become dry.
Place the carrots in vacuum sealed bags and then in freezer because this helps carrots to last upto 6 months.
If you are not living in sunny areas, you can store them in wooden containers, plastic containers, cupboards etc for shorter periods.
Damaged carrots during harvesting must be immediately used for consumption.