Gardening

How to plant carrot

Daucus carota sativus

Carrots are one of the most popular vegetables in the world. The most common cultivars have orange primary roots, but there are also purple, yellow, red and white carrots. As for the shape, carrots can be cylindrical, conical or rounded. In addition to the primary roots, which are eaten raw or are used in many types of cooking recipes, leaves can also be eaten, although their consumption is less common, as they have a strong flavor.

Probably originating in Iran and Afghanistan, the carrot was first cultivated for its aromatic leaves and seeds, later appearing the cultivars with thicker and less fibrous roots. Carrots grown over a thousand years ago were purple or yellow, orange carrots appeared only in Holland during the 17th century and are the best known and most cultivated today.

The root of the wild carrot ( Daucus carota ) can also be consumed, but the root is thin and only the roots of the youngest plants are palatable, as they soon become woody.

Climate

Carrots grow best at temperatures between 16 ° C and 22 ° C, although there are cultivars adapted to slightly higher temperatures. The minimum temperature for planting should be 7 ° C, however well-developed plants can withstand low temperatures, as the roots survive even when the foliage dies, and thus the plants sprout when the temperature rises again in the spring. On the other hand, temperatures above 30 ° C can impair the growth of plants and the taste of roots.

Brightness

The carrot grows best in high light conditions, under direct sunlight, but tolerates growing in partial shade as long as the light is good.

Ground

The carrot needs to be grown in soil without stones and other debris or the roots may grow crooked and branched. Ideally, the soil should be deep, light, rich in organic matter, fertile, well drained and with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. The soil does not have to be particularly rich in nitrogen. Heavy clayey soils can also produce reasonable harvests, as long as they are not compacted and are not soaked during the growing period.

Irrigation

Irrigate when necessary to keep the soil slightly moist. This plant needs good water availability, but the soil must not remain soaked, as excess water can favor the rotting of the roots or the appearance of diseases.

Planting

The seeds should be sown directly in the garden, as the carrot generally does not support the transplant well. The planting depth can be from 0.5 cm to 1 cm. Germination usually occurs between one and three weeks.

The recommended spacing varies depending on the cultivar and cultivation conditions, however most cultivars with cylindrical or conical roots can be cultivated with a spacing of 15 to 30 cm between the planting lines and 5 to 10 cm between the plants. For cultivars with rounded roots the spacing between planting lines can be 15 to 30 cm, with 5 cm between plants.

Many carrot cultivars can be grown in pots and planters. The cultivars with rounded roots are the most suitable, but cultivars with other shapes can also be grown in pots and planters, as long as they are higher than the average root size of the cultivar to be planted. The soil in the container must be at least 5 cm deeper than the average size of the carrot to be harvested.

Cultivation

Remove invasive plants that are competing for resources and nutrients.

Harvest

The start of the harvest depends on the cultivated variety of carrot, and can occur between 60 and 120 days when cultivation occurs under ideal conditions. Do not delay the harvest too much, as the roots become fibrous and taste less pleasant. To get fresh carrots continuously, plant carrots every two or three weeks.

Younger leaves taste better. Leaves can be harvested when necessary from well-developed plants, but excessive leaf harvesting can hinder root growth.

The carrot is grown as an annual, but it is a biannual plant.

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