Carrots

Ground

Many root crops, like carrots, prefer to be sowed directly into a prepared seedbed. The optimum soil is loose, free of debris and clods, and either loamy or sandy.

Tilling the ground as soon as it is soft enough to work and add organic matter. Go to a depth of around 8 inches and remove debris, stones and break up clods until the soil is uniform and soft. While working the soil add 2 to 4 inches of  compost to help loosen the soil and add nutrients. Add 2-4 cups of all-purpose fertilizer per 100 feet and work down to the bottom of the bed.

Drainage needs to be good; soil which is too moist will encourage the carrots to put out hairy roots.

PH between 5.8 and 6.5 is ideal

Sowing

Sow Feb-July

Harvest May-Oct

Sow regularly for all year round crop.

Space 2-4 inches apart and under 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil. A seed injector may help.

Growing

Best grown in the open ground, can try short root types in growbags.

Keep surface of the soil light and moist; try not to crush the soil as it can prevent the seedlings from emerging.

Side dress the rows with ammonium nitrate at the rate of 1 pound per 100 feet of row once the plants are 4 inches tall.

Carrots are drought resistant, like hot weather seldom need watering. If the crop starts to wilt, thoroughly water every 10-14 days.

Keep weeds down between rows by hand weeding.

Be careful weeding that you don’t crush he foliage as the small attracts carrot fly.

Harvest

Seed to harvest in 65-75 days

Problems

Carrot fly

A small black bodied fly whose larvae feed on the roots of carrots. The larvae tunnel into the carrot causing them to root.

Preserving carrots

Leave in the ground – Cover rows with a thick layer of mulch (straw/Leaves) then add a layer of plastic/Tarp. Cover this with another layer of mulch of about a foot deep.

Store in a root room/Cold store – Trim off the green but do not wash them. Pack in boxes and surround with damp sand, sawdust or straw. Keep at just above freezing (0.5) with plenty of humidity and they should last around 4-6 months.

If you don’t have access to this, the same can be achieved in a fridge. Trim, don’t wash and place in tightly sealed bags and they should last around 2 months.

Can them – Carrots are low acid food so you must use a pressure canner unless you are going to pickle them, then a water bath canner is fine. Link to canning advice.

Freeze them -With prep, carrots freeze well. Trim, peel and thoroughly wash them. Slice to the desired size and blanch for 3 minutes. Allow to cool the place the blanched carrots into the freezer bags or freezer containers.

Dry them – You can dry carrots in a food dehydrator for use in stews or carrot cake. Trim, peal, wash then thinly slice them. Blanch for 3 minutes then dry at 50C until brittle.

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