Friday, June 12, 2015

Growing carrots

Carrots  from  my  terrace  garden - 1st & 2nd batch

Carrots are a cool-weather vegetable. 
They are hardy biennials grown as annuals. A rosette of finely divided fernlike leaves grow from a swollen fleshy taproot which can vary in size, shape, and color. Depending upon variety, carrots can be tapered and cylindrical, short and fat, round, or finger sized. Some carrots grow to 10 inches long; others are much shorter. Carrots are usually orange, but colors can vary from red to yellow to purple. Shorter varieties are a good choice for heavy soil; long types require loose, loamy soil.
Planting time  
Carrots are a cool-weather crop best grown in spring, early summer, and autumn. Sow carrots in early March. 
Place your pot in a location that receives partial sun and partial shade. As a root vegetable, carrots tolerate shade well. A location that receives up to six hours of sunlight each day may encourage growth better than a spot that receives none, however.
Growing carrots in pots  
Many of us are hesitant to grow carrots in pots assuming that the carrots will not get enough space to grow. Choose a big pot wide and deep enough for the carrots to grow and keep the soil medium wet to ensure that your carrots receive enough water to maximize growth. Plant carrots in wide rows in square or rectangular containers, or in concentric circles in a round container.
Soil
Try a mixture of red soil, decomposed compost, and sand mixed in equal portions for a soil-based media.Consider coco peat, mixed with a small amount of perlite, for a soilless media.
Water and feeding
Keep carrots evenly moist to ensure quick growth. Do not allow the soil to dry out. Reduce watering as roots approach maturity; too much moisture at the end of the growing time will cause roots to crack. Add aged compost to planting before sowing and again as a side dressing at mid-season. Carrots are prone to develop mildew when kept too wet, and you may need to spray your crop if you receive heavy rains over an extensive period of time.
Carrots have no serious pest or disease problems.
Harvest your carrots after two to two and a half months pass, depending on the variety you chose to grow. Grasp the greens near the top of the root and gently wiggle them out of place.  Lift carrots gently by hand or with a spading fork so that they don’t break. Pull carrots when the soil is moist. Lift one or two carrots to check the size when you are ready to harvest.  Regular main crop carrots are usually ready for lifting when they are ¾ to 1 inch thick three quarter inch thick. Carrots can be left in pots until ready to use.The earlier you harvest, the sweeter the carrots will be.
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