Carrot Farming The Right Way From Seeds
The botanical name of the carrot is Daucus carota subsp. sativus and it belongs to a family Apiaceae.
Loamy and sandy are the soil types that are suitable for carrot germination. Carrots will take two years to grow from seed to fruition and die i.e., biennials so they utilise their leaves in the first year to assemble energy from the sun to build a major, bland root.
This is where they store their energy over the winter. At the point when the climate gets cold in the first year of growth, carrots convert their starches to sugars, so the roots become sweeter.
Seed germination in Carrots
Carrots are easy to grow as they are planted in loose, sandy soil during the cooler periods of the growing season.
Carrots may take anywhere from two to four months to mature, depending on the variety and local growing conditions. The lower the soil temperature, the slower the maturing process of the carrot. The seeds are usually immature, and they must grow up before they sprout.
The first main trick is to sow carrot seeds thinly and then maintain dampness in that top layer of soil until they germinate.
Because they may take as long as three weeks to germinate, this can be challenging, especially in hot weather when the surface of the soil is nearly always dry. The way to achieve this is to water very deeply before planting carrots, and then either water very regularly or employ some other means to reduce evaporation.
Different varieties of carrots
We have different varieties of carrots in a rainbow of colours, sizes, and shapes.
Bolero: Bolero is the first choice for storage carrots. They are very sweet, crunchy and remain fresh for months (stored in ideal conditions). The eight-inch blunt roots are slightly tapered. Bolero is highly resistant to blight and powdery mildew.
Danvers: classic heirloom – size in between six to eight inches long that tapers at the end and has a rich, dark orange colour – suited to heavy soil.
Little finger: heirloom – a small Nantes type of carrot only four inches long and one inch thick -good for containers.
Nantes: It has a cylindrical shape – six to seven inches long, exceptionally sweet with a crisp texture.
Good soils for carrot farming
Here is how to prepare the soil for carrot seed germination and what to do to prepare your garden soil:
Prepare the soil properly as is extremely important for carrot growing. If the carrot roots cannot easily grow unobstructed, it can lead to stunted and misshapen crops.
Dig down 12 inches and make sure there should not be any rocks, stones, or even soil clumps in the soil to impede your carrots’ growth.
If soil is heavy clay or too rocky, you need to plant carrots in a raised bed at least 12 inches deep and filled with fluffy, sandy, or loamy soil (not clay nor silt).
Germination of carrots
Seeds take 14 to 21 days to germinate. Whereas carrot seeds are small, they need to be sown shallowly. One of the tricks to planting carrot seeds is to keep the top-most layer of soil damp during the long germination period.
Water deeply before planting. Make sure that the seeds are only just buried. Water the area regularly with the gentlest stream, and keep it constantly moist until the seeds will sprout.
Have well fertile garden loam, plan to spend more amount of time in preparing your carrot bed.
Carrot seeds are naturally slow germinators you can speed up the process little bit by soaking the carrot seeds before planting for an hour.
As mentioned, the soil must be loose, sandy, and loamy so that carrot roots can easily spread down through the soil. Keep the soil moist with frequent shallow watering.
Cover with a layer of fine compost to prevent a crust from forming which is harmful for germination.
Carrots are sometimes slow to germinate. They may take three to three weeks to show leaf, so do not panic if your carrots do not appear right away.
Pests and diseases of carrots
Aster yellow disease will cause shortened and colour changed carrot tops and hairy roots.
For both the carrot rust fly and wireworm predatory nematodes are an effective control. Apply generously when the larva of both pests is most active.
Carrot seed rate
For sowing of a one-acre land seed rate of four to five kilogrammes is sufficient. Before transplanting, seedling root dip with five percent Pseudomonas fluorescens.
Carrot spacing depends upon the variety grown and its top height. Spacing needs are dictated by the width of the cultivation equipment being used.
Rows are marked with a spacing of about 25 – 30 cm apart. Sow the Carrot seeds mixed with sand and it should be one part of seed with four parts of sand.
Water at least once per week up to one inch to start, then two inches as roots mature.
Sort out gently, but be cautious not to disturb the young carrots’ roots while doing so.
Fertilise with a low-nitrogen but high-potassium and-phosphate fertiliser five to six weeks after sowing.
At any size, you can harvest the carrots, but the flavour is best when the carrot has turned bright orange. Generally, the smaller carrots will have better taste.
If you are growing carrots in the cooler periods harvest the crop before the daily temperature gets too hot.
You can store in sand or simply leave carrots under the soil in the garden as it is during the winter, and pull off when you need them.
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