Carrot

Carrot Apiaceae Daucus

Place of origin: Afghanistan and then Turkey.

Optimal temperatures for germination: 60-75°F (15-25℃)
Optimal temperatures for plant growth: 65-70°F (18-21℃)

Characteristics

Scientific name: Daucus carota Linnaeus

When temperatures are high, bolting tends to occur. If carrot seeds are sown when temperatures are below 50°F (10℃), it takes a long time for seeds to germinate. Moreover, when temperatures are high during the period of root growth, roots are short and don’t get thick due to growth problems. Furthermore, when temperatures are low during the period of root growth, roots become long and thin. Humous, alluvial, sandy loam, and volcanic soils are most suited to growing carrots. Soils which retain water properly and drains well are desirable.

Carrots are mainly orange, but there are various varieties such as red, black, and white carrots.

Sowing Seeds

Compared to other crops, the germination rate of carrot seeds is 50-60%, which is low, so sow seeds rather thickly.

Carrot growth depends on germination. Problems are likely to occur when seeds are sown in the summer, and/or in a dry period. It is good to sow seeds quickly when the soil is moist after a rain. Therefore, it is important to prepare the field beforehand.

One way to hasten the germination of carrot seeds right after they are harvested is to place the seeds in a refrigerator as a means of breaking dormancy for planting the same year. Give plenty of water to the spot where the seeds are to be sown and wait until water penetrates through the soil. Then sow the seeds, cover with the soil and lightly compact the soil. If seeds sown in the summer, compact (push) the soil firmly so that seeds germinate at the same time. In soils that are easily dried, after sowing the seeds, cover them with garden fabric. Remove fabric immediately after germination.
※ After germination, seedlings can be damaged by under both dry and wet conditions.

In the early stages of growth, give plenty of water to the seedlings. It is also good to put grasses or natural compost around the seedlings to prevent them from drying out. Especially in fields where water doesn’t drain, make higher ridges to prevent roots from breaking and rotting. If the variety has long roots, make high ridges. In fields where water drains well, it is good to sow seeds in flat ridges to prevent seedlings from drying out in the early and middle stages of growth.

After tilling the soil, level the surface of the soil with a rake. When sowing seeds in twin rows, there should be 8” (20 cm) between ridges, and the width of ridge should be 27”-31” (70-80 cm).

Weeding

As seedlings grow slowly during the early stages of growth, weeding is crucial.

Thinning

Carrot seedlings grow well when they touch each other, so be careful in thinning. Thin seedlings two or tree times, and complete the last thinning after 5-6 leaves emerge after the cotyledons. Until 4-6 leaves have developed, a fair amount of water is needed. (Poor root growth occurs later, as taproots and lateral roots grow until this time.)

After 10-15 leaves have developed, the plant’s growth and color are promoted in rather dry soils. Though the final space between plants depends on the varieties, thin seedlings out so that the space between plants is eventually 4”-8” (10-20 cm).

Gathering Soil

Good carrots can be harvested if the soil is gathered.

70 days after sowing seeds, the spaces between ridges and pathways are covered with leaves. As roots grow, the upper parts of roots sometimes poke out from the surface of the soil. If the upper parts are exposed to the sunlight, chlorophyll is produced and they become green. During low temperatures, anthocyanin is produced and they become purple. To prevent these conditions, before a pathway is covered by leaves and stems, or 50 days or so after seeding, (when 7-8 leaves have developed), intertillage and gathering soil should be done, which is also a useful weeding technique.

Basically, gather the soil about ½” (1 cm) above from the top of carrot root. with varieties that easily poke out from the surface of the soil, gather the soil around 1”-1½” (2-3 cm) above the top of carrot root. The key point in growing carrots is to promote plant growth during the beginning stages.

Selecting mother plants

If the selection of mother plants, the plants you will save the seeds from, is done when bolting approaches, the plants become weak and eventually the amount of seeds decrease.  If the mother plants are selected after the arrival of spring, try not to remove soil from around the plants as much as possible to reduce root damage. To check the quality of roots, only remove a little soil at one part of the plant.

(See illustration)

Even if the plants are small as a whole, select the larger mother plants and save the plants that grow large.

A small amount of soil moisture along the surface of the soil, and a large amount of soil moisture deep in the soil!

In places with ordinary climates, the soil is dry along the surface and there is sufficient moisture contained deep in the soil naturally. This is because water rises to the soil’s surface through capillary action, and then evaporates into the air. However, in extremely dry lands, or during long standing droughts, there is no water deep in the soil and there is only a small amount of water around the surface from watering. In such condition, crop failure occurs. Steady tending is needed. There are several ways to properly retain water in the soil.

Water the soil before seeding!

Because carrot seeds are not covered thickly with soil, it is difficult to copiously water seeds after seeding. Make seed furrows on ridges and give ample amounts of water to the furrows before seeding.

Try to prevent soil from drying.

As it is good to water the seeds as little as possible after seeding, try to prevent the soil from drying out.
1. Cover the soil with compost or cut grass; place fabric over the seed furrows. Do not place a thick layer of compost over the seeds even though the aim of compost is to prevent the soil from drying out. A thick layer of compost may prevent seed germination or can cause seedling to bold. Moreover, if compost or cut grass is placed sloppily around the plants, then water evaporates from the empty spaces left behind. Therefore, it is important to place compost or cut grass evenly along the soil.
2. Don’t make high ridges. In very dry areas, seeds can be sown on ridges that are not high. Sometimes, it is necessary to make furrows in flat ground and sow seeds in a lower place than the surrounding area.
3. Compress (push) the soil. ※Try to compress or push the soil before watering. Compress the soil firmly after seeding by stepping on it or by patting it down. This helps prevent the soil from drying out because it capillary action occurs more easily in louse soils; therefore, water cannot sink easily into the soil and stays in the surface. However, in clay soils, compressed soil becomes hard and the plants will not grow well.
4. Use steps 1-3 as each one by themselves is not enough to prevent the soil from drying out. Depending on the condition and the types of soil in the field, use all three methods. Also use a fine compost that doesn’t prevent the seeds from germinating. There is also a gap in how soil dries out. Seed furrows do not easily dry out because the furrows are lower than the surrounding surface. Keep in mind that tilled soil is soft, but the soil easily dries out because there is a lot of empty air space within it.

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