Carrots add color to ones salad along with adding beta-carotene to ones diet. But did you know that carrots are a cool season vegetable that is easy to grow.
If you answered yes, then you have already experienced the thrill of growing your own carrots. If the answer was no, then you need to give carrots a try.
Carrots are native to the Mediterranean area and are typically viewed as a biennial. But to produce the sweetest root, they are grown as an annual.
Carrots are not limited to long, orange roots but instead can be found round and in many different shades of purple and white.
This wonderful vegetable has two seasons. The first one is in the early spring when the soil temperature and outdoor temperature is around 64 degrees F. The second crop can be planted in the fall.
Before jumping on the carrot wagon, one must first check the condition of the soil. A soil’s pH will need to be tested. To produce the sweetest carrots around, one must have a soil pH of 6.5. After the pH has been check and amended, the next soil condition that needs to be check is the texture of the soil. Carrots love a loose soil that is free of clots and stones. Remove as many stones as possible when working the soil. If the soil is not loose enough, simply add compost but make sure to thoroughly mix it into the garden. Compost mixed into the soil is more easily used by the carrot root compared to it just being placed on top.
Once the soil has been prepared, it is time to plant. Draw a shallow trough that is no deeper than ¼ inch deep. If planting more than one row, space the rows 12 to 18 inches apart.
After the trough is dug it is time to plant the seed. Carrot seed is very small and easy clumps when scattered by hand. To reduce waste and aid in planting, use a handheld mechanical seed planter or the seed packet. One may wonder how to use a seed packet to plant seeds and the answer is simple.
To plant using the seed packet requires the gardener to cut one end of the seed packet straight across. Once this is done, funnel the seed into the side crease of the seed packet. Work the seeds down the crease until one seed is at the end. Then, gently tap the seed packet on ones finger or on a pencil. This gently vibration will release one seed at a time.
Once all the seed is planted, simply cover the area with vermiculite or fine compost and water in. Keep the garden soil evenly moist.
After the seeds have germinated, thin the seedlings so that they are 1-inch apart. Once the seedlings have become established cover with mulch. When the mulch is used in the spring, it conserves the moisture in the soil and helps control weeds. If using in the fall, the mulch serves the same purposes as those in the spring but with an added benefit. Mulching the fall garden can also protect the carrot crop throughout the winter.
But this protection is only from the cold, if one finds that rodents are eating their carrots, they will need to be pulled and placed in cold storage.
If ones carrots are beginning to show orange crowns above the soil line, then the soil line needs to be increased. This is done by adding compost to the garden until the orange crowns are covered. If these crowns are not covered, they will begin to turn green.
Carrot production is not limited to in the ground gardening. Carrots can successfully be grown in containers. The key to container grown carrots is the fact that the container needs to be deep. When using this approach, make sure that the container is at least 9-inches deep.
Carrots are a wonderful cool season vegetable that can be grown in any type of soil that is loose and stone free. Following both of these conditions will keep your carrots straight and fork-free. To keep your carrots tasting sweet, remember to pick them when they are young.