วันอาทิตย์ที่ 15 มีนาคม พ.ศ. 2552

How to grow carrots

Learn how to grow carrots

- free of carrot root fly

carrots

Such an easy crop to get started is often spoilt by lack of knowledge of how to grow carrots and insufficient preparation leading to great frustration.

Rotation; Root crop after brassicas.

Soil preparation: Soil should be well prepared and well drained. It should not have had compost/ muck/ lime within the previous 6-12 months. Prepare a seedbed 2 weeks before planting and rake in a general purpose fertilizer if needed. On the day of seeding rake surface to a fine tilth.

Sowing; Sow carrots at monthly intervals through the season. Sow very thinly so you don't have to thin seedlings out. Sow at 1cm depth and 2cm spacing in row, rows should be 15cm apart. Germination takes 15-20 days normally. Follow advice on seed packet. Use companion planting or barrier as described in maintenance of crop below; sowing carrots amongst aromatic crops deters/ confuses carrot root fly.

Maintenance;

  • The important thing to remember about growing carrots is not to disturb them
  • Avoid thinning, as leaf damage attracts carrot root fly, by sowing very thinly
  • Watering: keep soil moist through growing season
  • Weeding: careful weeding is essential, hoe early on when soil is dry or otherwise pull weeds being careful not to damage carrot plants
  • Use companion planting with leeks ideally or with garlic or onions for early carrot crops
  • Alternatively place a transparent plastic/ glass barrier, dug into soil, around the carrots - this must be 40-50cm high to keep out carrot root fly

Harvesting: Start lifting/ pulling carrots in early summer, around 3 months after sowing. Carrots are best eaten fresh and young - the delicious strong sweet carrot taste will surprise those used to shop bought carrots. Lift in autumn for storage, earlier if carrot root fly is a known local risk. Store in dry sand or peat in a dry frost free place.

Companion planting can boost yields and save effort

Save space and reduce pest and disease problems with companion planting.

Careful choice and correct row spacing is essential, but this can be a very useful technique in both conventional and organic vegetable gardens minimising the problems of the typical mono-culture and even giving a more pleasing appearance.

It is also part of the reason for vegetable crop rotation.

What is companion planting? The planting of two or more species close together for mutual benefit, otherwise used as inter-cropping.

What benefits can be seen? Reduced pest/ disease/ weed problems, better nutrition, higher yields, less effort.

What plants make good companions?

  • quick (short) + slow (tall) growing vegetables: Lettuce or radish amongst parsnips
  • tall growing sun-loving crops mixed with shorter shade loving crops that cover the ground e.g. sweetcorn and squashes
  • one that attract pollinators with those poor at pollination e.g. flowers amongst melons or some courgettes
  • one that attracts predators with one that is prone to attack e.g. marigolds attract hover flies that feast on aphids that commonly affect many vegetables
  • one that helps the nutrition of another e.g. legumes (peas/beans) fix nitrogen that helps roots (carrots, parsnips..) or lettuce or sweetcorn
  • one whose strong smell disguises the smell of another confusing pests like carrot root fly e.g. leeks or onions or garlic or marigolds with carrots
  • marigolds produce a strong 'pesticidal' chemical that deters nematodes and many flying pests from attacking many crops like peppers, brassicas and squash
  • Alliums produce a strong smell that deters slugs and snails from their favour food - your lettuce, brassicas and peppers

carrots with leeks My own favourite, from years of testing, is sowing carrots within a patch of young established leeks;

  • leeks seem to repel carrot root fly for longer than faster maturing shallots/ garlic/ onions do
  • establish the leeks first then sow your carrots otherwise the carrot root fly will still find your carrots!


carrot root fly protection The difference companion planting can make.

Both these pictures come from my own vegetable garden in 2007.

What plant spacing should you use? assess the needs of the two crops; too close will bring undue shading and competition and increased disease risk, two far apart and little benefit is seen. Typically plant according to the needs of the bigger crop and plant in between.

Experiment to find what combinations and spacings work for you in your situation, but ...

Note that some plants make poor companions

  • legumes (peas/beans) produce too much nitrogen for crops like Alliums (onions, shallots, garlic, leeks) or tomatoes to thrive
  • ones that are too competitive
  • ones that chemically inhibit the growth of another e.g. Black walnut roots exude a chemical called Juglone that will stop tomatoes and potatoes growing

Credit by : http://www.easy-vegetable-gardening.com/how-to-grow-carrots.html

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