Carrots


Carrots have evolved from the long shaped, orange carrot everyone knows into a carrot that can be small, narrow, broad and range in colors from yellow, white, scarlet and purple.


Fact: Build an 18 inch high barrier of clear plastic around your carrots to avoid carrot flies; they are incapable of flying that high.


Types of carrots:
Early Varieties:

These carrots should be planted in early spring.

Maincrops:

Plant these carrots in late spring to early summer.

How to plant:
Plant carrot seeds in loose, light soil that is free from rocks and rich in nutrients. Avoid planting carrots in the areas of your garden where you have previously planted beets, celery, eggplants, tomatoes, parsnips or peppers. There will be too much nitrogen in the soil in those areas from the previous year for carrots to grow successfully.

Carrots do not transplant well, therefore it is best to plant them directly into the ground, 1/2 an inch to 3/4 of an inch deep and one inch apart. Only water your carrots when the soil seems dry, if you overwater they will produce a lot of leafs.


Common Problems:
Carrot flies are the biggest problem that can affect carrot growth. Once carrot flies have invaded your crop, you need to dispose of the affected crop, because they lay eggs in the soil and work their way into the roots.

Carrot flies are attracted by the smell of carrots, therefore to avoid attracting them do not harvest your crop in the morning and avoid moving the soil around your carrots. You can also prevent carrot files by planting onions with your carrots to mask the smell of the carrot.


Harvest Time:
Carrots can be harvested about 7 weeks after planting; however maincrop carrots should be harvested in about 10-11 weeks. It is best to pull carrots by hand to avoid damage, but if the roots are too deep, use a fork to lift them from the soil. You do not need to harvest all of your carrots at once, just pull a few and leave the others to be harvested in another week!



- Text Copyright ©Alan Buckingham 2008. DK Edition. Growing Vegetables.