How To Grow Carrots

Carrots come in handy when making meals. Be it a salad or a smoothie; these vegetables always come in handy in bringing out the flavors. They also come packed with a load of nutrients and are thus popularly used across the globe. The great thing about them is that they are easy to grow and can thrive in almost all climates. You can choose to cultivate them in a pot, a planter box, wooden shed or your garden where you have adequate space. All you need to do is to ensure that the soil is ready before planting the carrots. With the following steps below underway, you can rest assured that you will harvest fresh carrots in about two to three months. Here is what you need to do:

Variety Selection

There are six main carrot varieties, and they feature different root sizes. Additionally, they do well under different conditions, and you should consider your climate and soil properties. Under these variations, there are tons of other sub-types which you could plant.

There is the Chantenay which grows in most soil types to a length of about six inches. Though you can plant this variety almost anywhere, it does best in heavy and fertile soil.

The second option is the Danvers. This variety comprises carrots in the form of blocks, and it does well in heavy soil filled with nutrients. The good thing is that the soil does not have to be deep.

There is the Ball-type option. The difference between this variety and the Chantenay is that the latter tends to be longer. However, climatic and soil requirements are similar.

The Nantes comprises cylindrical carrots that can grow as long as nine inches when cultivated in rich and shallow soil.

The Imperator is the most common carrot variety, and you are likely to come across it in markets. For you to grow this, you must ensure that your soil is deep and aerated. You should also ensure that it drains well.

The Amsterdam is a small carrot variety which grows to a length of about three inches. It does well in shallow soil. The good thing about it is that it does not require fertile soil to grow and it is, therefore, suitable for areas with poor soils. You can start harvesting this carrot at an early stage.

Once you consider your climate and soil conditions, you can work toward choosing a carrot variety that will do well.

Seed Selection

Here you have two options. The first one involves buying seeds coated in bentonite clay while the other requires getting seeds with some fungicides. Buying clay-coated seeds is the better option of the two. First, these seeds can maintain a lot of moisture as they germinate and this enhances their chances of growing into healthy seedlings. Also, it becomes easier for you to handle them and this makes spacing an easy task. With better distribution in play, you can do away with the thinning processes that come about later owing to the poor placement of seeds. If you are unable to get the clay-coated seeds, you can get the ones with fungicide as you seek ways to help them retain moisture.

Garden Preparation

You need a location that receives direct sunlight for most if not all of the day. Carrots can do well in both conditions, so you do not have to be very specific about where to plant them.

Aerated soil is the best for carrot cultivation, and you will need to loosen the soil. You can use a shovel for this as you work on each part, ensuring that you thoroughly loosen the dirt. If there are any rocks in the area, you need to remove them. The same goes for hard soil clumps at the site. Using a rake over the area will help you get rid of any small stones that could get in the way of successful germination. Your aim should be fluffy soil that is easy to work with, as opposed to hard earth.

If you find that your soil is more of clay, you can use manure or other organic material to make it softer. Failure to do this will result in small carrots with distorted shapes.

Given how strict the soil conditions for carrots are, it helps to have a raised bed. Cedarwood is a great material to use in this regard as it will not rot or develop mold once it becomes moist. However, if it is not possible to construct a bed for your carrots, you can always use the site available.

PH Variation

The pH of your soil will determine how healthy the carrots are in the end. Aim for acidic soil in the ranges of 5.8-6.8. An easy way to gauge the pH level of your soil is by using test kits that are readily available in stores. You can also engage an extension officer to help you out where you need to make amendments to alter the acidity of the soil.

Fertilization

Now that your soil is loose and has the right pH, you can now work to add nutrients to it. Organic fertilizer is the best in this regard, and you can use anything from manure all the way to compost. Ensure that you mix the fertilizer into the soil for at least four inches. In this way, the nutrients will keep seeping into the soil during and after germination, thus ensuring that you have a great harvest.

Planting Time

You will sow the seeds in stages. Start three weeks before spring ends and wait a week before planting more seeds. Continue this process for two more weeks.

It is important to note that carrots prefer cool climates and you should schedule the sowing to the fall or the winter. If this is not possible, you can always plant the carrots indoors where you can regulate the temperatures. While planting the seeds, ensure that the soil is loose to allow room for aeration.

You can make rows, or you can spread the seeds over the planting site. For rows, ensure that the seeds have one to two-inch spacings and that they lie about half an inch below the surface. Rows should be eight inches away from each other. Cover the seeds with half an inch of soil rich in nutrients and use a bit of sand where the weather is warm.

It will take about a week for the seeds to sprout. However, this will depend on the weather and in cold times, you can expect germination to take place in about three weeks. From this point, all you need to do is to water the plants regularly while pulling out the weeds. Results should show in about seventy days when you can enjoy fresh produce from the garden. All the best!

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