Fresh and tender carrots can fill up anyone’s heart and stomach. There is a difference of heaven and earth, between the shop bought ones and the organically, homegrown ones, in terms of taste and nutrition. Rich in beta-carotene, calcium, and fiber, it is grown in almost all the places of the world. The modern carrot is the domesticated version of the wild carrot (Daucus carota), which was native to Europe and south-west Asia. Carrots are biennial plants, that is, they develop during the first year and grow seeds during the second year. Carrots can be grown even in a small space like a pot, without any trouble. The only thing to be considered is the soil condition, which if maintained right, can result in excellent growth of carrots. Eaten raw or cooked, carrots are an excellent addition in any culinary dish. In the article below are tips to help you grow carrots organically.
Organic Carrots Growing Tips
Check And Prepare The Soil
- Carrots thrive on loose, sandy, and well draining soil. In such soil, they develop straight roots, which are long. If you want to grow the carrots in clay, then it is better to select the shorter varieties. The carrots cannot penetrate much in clay soil. Mixing the clay soil with humus and then raising the bed a little can help the carrots grow.
- Carrots require slightly acidic soil, which is a little fertile. Add a little compost, but take care not to over fertilize. The compost must be properly decomposed. Properly decomposed compost not only enriches the soil, but also loosens up the soil. Keep the nitrogen level of the soil low.
- In stony or recently manured soil, the carrots tend to become fanged. The ideal soil temperature should be maintained between 19 degrees to 21 degrees Celsius and the pH level should be 6.5.
- For well-developed and succulent carrots,it is better to grow from seeds rather than transplants. Buy seeds of the appropriate variety. The planting should be done in the sun.
- Since, carrot seeds are very small, sow a couple of them an inch apart. Then cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. Carrots can be planted in a row or in a bed. The seeds must be sown thinly to avoid thinning of the carrots.
- After planting, sprinkle some water, to moisten the soil. Add a thin layer of organic mulch over the seeds to retain moisture. Once the seedlings appear, more organic mulch of around three to four inches thick can be added around it.
- As the carrots start to grow, start thinning them apart. The wider the space between them, the bigger they grow. The thinning should start when the seedlings grow to about 1 inch tall. Also, keep the rows and bed free from weeds and other plants.
- Carrots take about two weeks to germinate and the soil must be kept moist. The rows or beds must be watered with a sprinkler, so that the loose soil does not erode.
- After the seedlings appear, water every two to three weeks to prevent the soil from drying. Take care not to overwater the carrots too much, as it leads to the growth of more leaves than roots.
- The most common and dangerous pests, which affect the carrots is the carrot fly. Instead of showering pesticides, applying organic methods are more beneficial.
- Carrot flies breed on partially decomposed organic matter and loose upturned soil. So, use properly decomposed compost, and flatten the upturned soil. Infected plants must not be left near the carrots but must be disposed off quickly.
- Use net curtains or polythene, to cover the carrot bed or rows, 18 inches tall. This will act as a barrier against the carrot fly.
- Carrots can be harvested when the leaf starts to wilt. First, loosen the soil around the carrot, and then using the hand pull it up. Carrots are tender and tasty, if harvested before maturity. To harvest the tender carrots, water the ground a day before to loosen the carrots grip on the soil.