Growin’ Carrot

Family name: Umbellifers (Umbelliferae)

Vegetables that belong to this family are parsnip, parsley, celery, celeriac, Florence fennel and carrot. All these can be grown in the same way. As with most root vegetables, carrots are good for winter storage since they are very nutritious food for our consumption. This is because the carrot stores all the food in its body in its first year, in order to go to seed directly in the new year.

Soil, sowing and planting

Carrots like a neutral (pH 6,5) and sandy soil. Big stones in the ground stop their growth and causes them to fork. Carrots can also grow in clay soil, provided you add some old, well broken down compost, as fresh manure also has the tendency to make the carrots fork. Carrots have a taproot, which means they have one long root. For this reason it is not possible to transplant them and they should be sown directly in their permanent beds.

Carrots must be sown in rows that are 15 cm apart from each other. The rows can be sown in quite thickly, which means that you can put a lot of seeds in the row. When the carrots are about 25 cm tall, you start thinning them out, by harvesting some. Leave the rest to grow about 10 cm apart. Alternatively you can sow thinly. In this case you can thin out the carrots in a much earlier stage, when they first come up. Make sure this is done while it’s raining (see ‘pests and diseases’ for further information).

Carrots can be sown from March until the end of May. They can be sown again in July and once more, only indoors, in September. This ensures a continuous supply.

Harvest

Carrots can be harvested when the leaves form the pattern of a star. It’s easy to tell if the carrot is ready by checking the thickness of the root just under the soil.

Pests and diseases

The worst danger to the carrot is the carrot rootfly. It’s behavior is similar to the cabbage rootfly. The maggots from the fly eat the root. To prevent this problem, you should never harvest carrots on sunny days, since the carrot rootfly can smell the carrot from 5 km away. Fleece is the only suitable protection.

There are two methods with which fleece is used. You can either cover the carrots completely with the fleece or put up a fleece barrier of at least 50 cm tall all around the bed. Leave the top open ended. This is due to the fact that flies rather jump then fly and will not be able to land on your bed. When you are growing in containers it therefore pays to grow in containers which are higher than 50 cm.

One Comment

  1. Chia
    Posted January 16, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Will attempt this this spring :)

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