How to Grow Organic Carrots? Ideal for food gardens in the backyard! Carrots are simple to grow at home and can add colour, flavour, and nutrition to an organic gardener’s diet. This popular root vegetable thrives in cool weather (60-70 degrees Fahrenheit) and can be planted as soon as your soil can be worked in early spring. Heirloom types are sweet, crisp, and fragile, and can be harvested in about 70 days.
Historians believe that the carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus) originated in Central Asia around 5,000 years ago, with purple and scarlet varieties being the first to be recorded, rather than an orange! Carrots are low in calories, high in dietary fibre, and high in critical nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, minerals, antioxidants, and beta-carotene.
How to Grow Organic Carrots?
1. Site Preparation
Choose a garden location that receives full sun or very mild partial shadow, and prepare the soil with plenty of organic compost. Carrots will only grow to perfection if planted in deep, well-textured soil that is free of stones and rubbish. Only grow the long variety if you have this type of soil. If your soil is heavy or stony, choose shorter varieties.
2. Planting to Grow Organic Carrots
Carrot seeds should be planted in early spring, two weeks before the last frost date, or in fall, ten weeks before the first frost date. Sow seeds thickly in rows 1 foot apart or disseminate seeds in raised beds 1 to 1-1/2 inch wide. Thin individual plants to 1 to 2 inches apart when the tops are 1 to 2 inches in height. When they start crowding, they thin out again. Cover crowns that push through the soil with mulch to keep the tops from turning green or bitter. Carrots benefit from compost tea applications from emergence until the tops are 5 to 8 inches high. Carrots, like all root crops, require a lot of potassium-rich natural fertiliser. Forking and split roots are caused by excess nitrogen or uneven soil moisture.
3. Harvesting and Storage
From seed to maturity, allow 50 to 85 days. Harvest at finger size for the greatest texture and flavour, and water before pulling them up to make harvesting simpler. Cut off all but 1 inch of the leaves and stem from carrots to extend their storage life. Keep in a jar of water in the refrigerator. Pack in damp sawdust and keep cool to store overwinter.
4. Pests and Disease
To avoid disease and insect problems, do not plant where carrots or parsley have grown for three years (see Crop Rotation In the Home Garden). The carrot rust fly may be to blame for rotted or dwarfed plants. This fly’s maggots are frequently spotted nibbling on the roots. If your plants are stunted and the leaves are yellow, nematodes are to blame. Unlike beneficial nematodes, these microscopic pests attack the plant’s roots, causing galls (swelling). Birds, snails, and slugs should be kept away from sprouting seedlings. Suspect damping off if seedlings collapse over. Examine the stem at the soil level for watery soft rot.
- Begin your garden in the spring by planting carrots two weeks before the latest frost date.
- For optimal root development, well-worked, balanced soil is required.
- Only direct seed, and keep seeds moist for best germination.
- Consume immediately, freeze, or store in the refrigerator or root cellar.
- Carrot rust flies, nematodes, birds, snails, and slugs are among the pests and illnesses.
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