Features of carrots
Carrot (Daucus carota) is a herbaceous biennial plant of the Umbelliferae family. The cultivated carrot is a cold season vegetable but is practically grown as an annual due to its edible root.
The thin green foliage is reminiscent of dill and fennel leaves, with which it belongs to the same family. The leaves reach a height of 50 cm, and in the second year a peduncle appears, the height of which is 1.20 – 1.50 m. The peduncle is a bunch of white flowers, called an umbrella. The resulting carrot seeds when ripe are brown, very small, on average up to mm.
There are many different varieties of carrot plants. Root crops can be short and wide, long and pointed. This largely depends on the variety of carrots and the various characteristics of the soil.
More info! Carrot roots get their color from a pigment called beta-carotene. It is worth noting that in addition to the traditional varieties of carrots with orange, they are also grown with yellow, purple and white.
The bright orange color indicates a high content of carotene, which is good for vision. The pigment, when digested, turns into vitamin A. This vitamin helps us see in low light and at night.
How to grow carrots
Carrots have significant nutritional and nutritional value as they are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Ideal for freshly squeezed juice.
When to sow carrots? The crop is considered a cold season vegetable and can be sown both in autumn and early spring. When to plant carrots in spring? You can sow carrots in open ground at low temperatures. It tolerates even slight frosts. For seed germination, a temperature of +3ºС is required, and for the growth of seedlings from +18ºС to +20ºС.
Temperatures above 25ºС reduce seed germination. Higher summer temperatures degrade the quality of root crops, causing a bitter or off-flavour. The growth of the carrot root stops, woody and its color fades.
Growing site selection
How to grow a good crop of carrots? Choose a site with full sun. Carrots can also be grown in partial sun (2 to 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).
Ideal for cultivation is fertile, loose and well-cultivated soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7.0. Since carrots grow in soil, their size and quality are directly dependent on the soil. Hard soils will cause the carrots to take on an unusual shape, loose soils contribute to the good development of the root system.
Adding well-rotted manure, compost in the spring or fall will help improve soil fertility. Avoid using fresh manure, as it can cause bifurcation of the roots. In deep, loose soil with constant moisture, long straight roots of a beautiful color will develop.
Sowing carrot seeds
Planting seeds in trays and then transplanting them into beds is not recommended, as the culture has a long taproot. Plants with such a root system usually do not tolerate transplanting well.
How to plant carrot seeds? Carrot seeds should be sown directly in the garden. Because of their small size, they are well mixed with river sand to achieve finer seeding.
To harvest consistently, you can plant carrots every 4 weeks until mid-summer. Loosen the soil to a depth of at least 30 cm. Mix with a layer of compost. Level the surface with a rake.
Seeding depth. Before planting, moisten the soil and sow the seeds in rows to a depth of 6 mm. in a row, evenly distributing over the area, leaving 5 cm between the seeds from each other.
Rows are placed at a distance of 30-40 cm from each other. After planting, it is important to keep the topsoil constantly moist for 7-14 days or until the seedlings germinate. Germination can take up to 3 weeks. Constant moisture produces tasty carrots.
Pay attention! After prregrowth, when at least 3-4 true leaves appear on the plant, they need to be thinned out to a distance of 7-8 cm. Cut off excess sprouts with scissors so as not to damage the roots.
Close planting promotes small fruits, diseases due to poor ventilation, and makes it difficult to remove weeds that grow between plants.
Keep the soil evenly moist. It needs constant watering about twice a week, depending, of course, on the prevailing weather conditions. Humidity fluctuations cause certain disturbances: bitterness and cracking of the roots. Irregular watering can lead to cracking of the carrot root, excessive watering will contribute to root pubescence and branching.
Be sure to get rid of weeds, as they can fill the space. Weed control is important because carrots do not compete well with them, especially in the early stages of growth. Any weeds growing around the plants must be carefully removed.
More info! Mulching between rows with grass clippings, straw, or other organic material helps retain moisture, reduce weeds, and prevent soil crusting.
Plants also require organic matter. Fertilizer is added once a month to significantly improve the yield. Potassium is a very important element in the cultivation of carrots, as its deficiency can lead to root cracking and poor fruit quality. Excessive nitrogen fertilization should also be avoided, as this can cause deformation of the carrot fruit.
Diseases and pests
In conditions of humidity and poor ventilation, carrots are affected by a number of fungal diseases, such as downy mildew, Alternariosis, etc., which affect the foliage and root of carrots. To treat diseases, the foliage is sprayed with organic copper preparations and the procedure is repeated after 2 weeks. You can use homemade ingredients: dissolve 1 tablespoon of baking soda in 2 liters of water to spray the plants.
Carrots are rarely affected by pests. Some insects can be found in cultivation: thrips and carrot fly infect its root, causing a characteristic darkening.
When and how to pick carrots
Fruits can be harvested any time they reach a usable size. Those that are harvested early will be slightly smaller in size, but they are edible and will be more tender. Sowed in very early spring, it will be ready to eat in the middle of summer. The time from sowing to harvesting is about 4 months.
Care should be taken to harvest before the ground freezes. It is very important not to let the carrots get too ripe, as this will affect their taste and texture.
Water the bed well the day before harvesting. Harvesting carrots is easier if the soil is moist, the fruits can be easily pulled out of the soil without breaking off. You can also use a garden fork to gently loosen the soil near the root.
After harvesting, the greens are cut and the fruits are cleaned. It is important to leave 4-5 cm of green stem on the root. In this way, drying is delayed and at the same time the shelf life is increased.
The roots are washed before being placed in the refrigerator. Carrots can also be stored in damp sand to keep them fresh before use.
You can save carrots for several months by following this procedure: after peeling, cut them into long or round pieces, put them in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Let them dry a little, and then put them in bags and in the freezer.
Benefits of carrots
Many vegetables taste best when harvested fresh from the garden. Carrots bought in a store cannot be compared with those just picked from the garden.
Carrots can be eaten raw and are often cooked in soups and stews. In addition to the pleasant taste, carrots are rich in nutrients. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds that can help support immune function, promote wound healing, and promote healthy digestion.
Carrots with what to plant
You can grow carrots with other vegetables to save space, water, and fertilizer. She blends perfectlywith the cultivation of onions, garlic, lettuce, spinach and parsley.
Non-compliance with the rules of crop rotation often leads to a deficiency of nutrients in the soil. The best predecessors for carrots when planting: cabbage, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins and zucchini.