Growing carrots, of course, begins with site selection and preparation. It is very important to choose the most illuminated place, because carrots do not like the slightest shadow. Without sunlight, the root crop will lose its taste and will not produce a large harvest. It is not recommended to plant carrots on the same garden every year; it is better to alternate it with tomatoes, onions, potatoes and garlic. But after parsnips, parsley and dill, carrots grow worse..
The soil for carrots is suitable for fertile, light texture, sandy loam, light loamy type. Prepare the soil for planting carrots in the fall, dig up the site, add compost or humus.
Popular varieties of carrots: Vitamin, Alenka, Flacque, Queen of Autumn, Touchon, Nantes.
We wrote about the preparation and storage of carrot seeds. Before planting, the bed is leveled and grooves are made two to three centimeters deep. If they are shallower, light carrot seeds can be blown away by the wind, and at greater depths they may not germinate at all. Experienced gardeners place carrot seeds on a damp cloth before planting and keep in a warm place for several days to speed up the germination process.
The distance between the grooves should be 15 cm and the distance between the seeds should be two centimeters. The germination rate of carrot seeds is not very high, so gardeners often plant them thicker. But in this case, most likely, you will have to deal with thinning later, because otherwise the root crops will be too small.
Before planting seeds, the prepared grooves should be watered, as well as the bed itself after leveling. Depending on the climatic zone, carrots can be planted in late April or early May. The plant is not afraid of spring frosts down to minus 4 degrees.
Experts advise thinning carrots for the first time after the appearance of the third leaf. Usually, the first true leaf appears on the garden bed 10–12 days after the shoots have emerged. Carrots should be thinned so that two centimeters remain between the shoots. Before thinning the carrots, the garden must be watered, so it will be easier to pull out too densely growing plants. After thinning, watering is carried out again.
The second thinning can be done 20, maximum 25 days after the first. By this time, the root crop has reached the diameter of the pencil. This time, the distance between the plants should remain slightly larger – about three centimeters, no more than four centimeters, because large carrots may not be as tasty as medium-sized root vegetables..
Mandatory carrot care includes loosening the soil and weed control, you will have to do this regularly. Carrots tolerate drought well, but lack of water can negatively affect yields, so once a week, the beds should be watered, but do not overdo it and do not overfill the plants.
Growing up, carrots stand in rather close rows, so soil mulching is usually not carried out. If you want to get a rich harvest, you should feed carrots twice – three to four weeks after the shoots have appeared, and then after about a month. Fertilizers must be applied in liquid form, potassium nitrate solution, fermented grass, mullein are suitable. Fresh manure cannot be used.
Carrots are rarely susceptible to any disease. The main enemy of this plant is the carrot fly, the appearance of which becomes noticeable by the twisted leaves. The appearance of a carrot fly can be avoided if you do not leave thinned sprouts next to the garden bed, do not overfill root crops, and fight weeds in time. If the carrot fly nevertheless appeared on the site, such means as “Actellik” and “Intavir” are used.
Early varieties of carrots can be harvested by mid-July. In general, the timing of harvesting depends on when the plant was planted, the climatic zone, the selected variety. Late-ripening varieties are harvested in late August or early September. Young sweet carrots usually don’t last long, so use them right away, taking advantage of the opportunity to get your dose of vitamins. The lower leaves, which begin to turn yellow, will tell about the maturity of the carrots..
Yes, a couple of weeks before harvesting carrots (some experts believe that a month before) it is necessary to stop watering it so that the roots do not crack. It is better to dig carrots with a pitchfork, you can damage it with a shovel, but in this case it will be much more difficult to keep the root crop in winter.
You can simply pull the carrots out of the garden by the leaves, but there is a risk that they will simply come off. Therefore, it is better to dig a little carefully, and only then pull the plant. After harvesting from the garden, leaves are removed from each carrot. According to experienced gardeners, the shelf life of carrots can be extended if the tops are not cut, but unscrewed by hand..
You can dry the dug carrots a little, but not for long so that they do not become lethargic. Of course, you do not need to wash root vegetables if you are going to store them in the basement or on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. You need to store carrots in the cellar in ordinary boxes, some gardeners sprinkle root crops with sand.
Carrots tolerate freezing well. Small roots, mini-carrots, can be frozen whole, after washing and cleaning them. Larger root vegetables should either be cut into cubes or grated immediately before freezing so that the carrots are completely ready for use..
We are sure you do not need to be told how to use carrots. This very tasty and rich in vitamin A root vegetable is added to soups, main courses, including meat and fish, you can even make carrot pies. It will be delicious anyway!