GROWING CARROTS IS AN EASY VEGETABLE IF YOU FOLLOW A FEW SIMPLE RULES
The growing carrots provide for excellent vitamin A properties and the recent varieties make it easy to grow. By the way,if your children are planting a garden,it is an excellent addition to their garden.
Carrots do best in cooler temperatures of spring and fall. This vegetable can be put in the soil in the spring as soon as the soil is ready to be prepared. High temperatures are very bad for carrots and in fact can not only slow the growth but result in a very strong taste with coarseness to the roots. Conversely persistently low temperatures of below 55 degrees results in long root development but slender and pale in color. The quality carrot is best at temperatures during the night of least 55 degrees and daytime temps of 60-70 degrees.
PREPARATION OF SOIL AND FERTILIZATION
The growing carrot will thrive in loose and loamy sandy soils with the proviso that the soil also has good drainage. However there is one type that is suited to heavy clay soils and that would be the Red-Cored Chantenany with six inch roots pictured here
This type will succeed where other types of carrots will fail. For any type of growing carrots you should make sure the garden is cleared of any small or large rocks and large pieces of plant matter left over from other plantings. I personally recommend the use of raised garden beds as ideal locations for your carrot garden and you can read all about construction and prepartion of a raised garden bed at my vegetable gardening web page/ However if you are not inclined to construct and fill a raised bed then the following instructions would be the best for you to think about.
I would dig the soil to an 8-10 inch depth turning the soil completely to cover up any remaining plant matter that was to small for hand removal. Next would be the application of cup of fertilizer to the soil for each 10 feet of row to be used for your growing carrots. The rake is a handy tool at this point and rake your fertilizer into the soil to a 3" to 4" depth. The use of a 5-10-10 fertilizer should be sufficient however under some conditions a 10-20-10 fertilizer maybe required for your growing carrots. I feel it might be best to arrange with your local extension office for a test of the soil to provide you with the a good analyses. Carrots do require large amounts of nutrients one of which is potassium. Growing carrots will not produce well in a strongly acidic soil so a pH range of 6.0 to 6.8 is best.
You will indeed have to picture this as a good method to prepare your soil for the planting of your carrots. Ridges should be formed especially in low areas where poorly drained soil may exist. The best method is to smooth the soil and work it into beds with low areas on either side of ridge at 4-6 inches and your ridges are 12-24 inches apart. THe length of the ridge is really up to you but it should be long enough to accommdate 18-20 seeds minimum per ridge or row. Now if you make your ridges are further apart then then the 12-24 inches,you may want to plant two rows of seeds on each ridge. This method provides you with ideal movement of air and water throughout your garden instead of planting your growing carrots at flat ground level.
The use of a hoe handle will be useful to make one or two rows one-half inch deep on top of each ready made ridge. Here you will scatter 18-20 seeds per foot per row. I would cover the seeds lightly and in so doing be careful not to disturb your ridges by having them cascade down toward your lower level of soil.Sprinkle each row with some water being careful not to flood the area with two much water which could disturb your ridges. It is important to keep the soil from "crusting" around the area of your planted seed. This can be accomplished by an application of vermiculite of fine compost or even sand will be helpful.
The thinning of your growing carrots after they beging to peek out of the your ridged soil is important. They should be thinned to approximately 2-3 inches apart after the tops become thicker. A mulch should be applied to retain moisture and prevent excessive weed growth. A great deal of moisture should not be applied at end of the season for fear of cracking the roots.
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OTHER THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CARROTS
- Fertilize with two tablespoons per 10 feet of row beside the plants when tops stand at four inches.
- Fertilize again at six to eight inches if tops appear pale.
- Water your growing carrots to a depth of about three inches.
- You can begin a harvest at finger size as smaller carrots are much juicier.
- Growing carrots can remain in the soil and remove as you have a need.
- Carrots will last until winter with the proper mulch in the soil.
- They should be ready for first harvest 70-80 days after planting
- Loosen the soil around the carrot with a spade to avoid breaking the root.
- After harvest remove the carrot top immediately to prevent your root from wilting.
There are many types of carrots avaliable for planting in your garden. One of the best is the Davers Half Long pictured to the right It has tapered roots and averages six-one half to seven inches long. It does have heavy production and excellent storage capabilities if you want a carrot to use over a several month time.
There are of course garden pest to bother your growing carrots such as leaf spot or bad nematodes which cause the roots to have knots best to remove and throw away. Leafhoppers,wireworms and carrot rust worm larve to name a few. I cover some of these diseases and insects at Plant Diseases that are most common and your most common insects just click on either
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