Carrot Growing Guide:
The following garden content details about Carrot Growing.
Introduction of Carrot growing
Carrots are a cool season easy to grow, nutritious root vegetable and it is related to celery, coriander, parsley and fennel members of the family. The plant is believed to be native of Persia and was cultivated not for its taproot but for its leaves and seeds. Their early use was for medicine curing stomach, ulcers, liver and kidney ailments by the Greeks and Romans. By the 13th century it became food crop in India, China, and Japan and today it is grown all over the world as a popular vegetable consumed raw, as a salad or cooked. Taproots are usually cylindrical or conical and sometimes spherical in shape and are rich in carotene (vitamin A). Carrots can be grown in pots, containers, greenhouse, polyhouse, shade net, terrace, balcony, backyards and an excellent vegetable for the kitchen garden.
Carrot plants are biennial and grown for taproot as an annual. The plant grows reaching 40 to 100 cm height. The root is the edible part of the plant and the conical taproot may reach sizes 6 to 24 cm. The taproot comes in varied colors such as yellow, light purple, deep red, white, and orange is the most common color. Leaves are grown in the first year producing sugar which is stored in taproot to be used in the second year for the plant to flower. Carrot seeds contain essential oils.
Scientific / Botanical name of Carrot
The botanical name of carrot is Daucuscarota L. and comes from the aromatic flowering plant family Apiaceae.
Carrot in Indian Languages
- Gujarati –ગાજર (Gājara).
- Malayalam – കാരറ്റ്(kāraṟṟ).
- Tamil – கேரட்(Kēraṭ).
- Kannada –ಕ್ಯಾರೆಟ್ (Kyāreṭ).
- Telugu – ప్రతిఫలం(Pratiphalaṁ).
- Hindi – गाजर(gaajar).
- Bangla –গাজর (Gājara).
- Marathi -गाजर (Gājara).
- Punjabi – ਗਾਜਰ (Gājara).
Carrot Varieties / Carrot Cultivars in Carrot growing
Farmer must choose the right variety for growing carrot plants. Different varieties vary in root shape, color, maturity period, and storage ability. Based on shape and storage abilities carrots are broadly classified into four types.
Types of Carrots:
- Chantenay: In this type roots are conical in shape, broad on the top about 5 to 6 cms in diameter and relatively short 10 to 12 cm in length with a blunt tip at the bottom. They grow well in heavy and shallow soils having strong foliage and the carrot stores well.
- Nantes: In this type roots are cylindrical in shape, 3 to 4 cm in diameter and grow 16 to 18 cm in length. They grow well in sandy soils. They have parse foliage and weakly attached to the crown and root core structure is brittle hence they need to be dug than pulled at the time of harvest. The root surface is thin and highly pigmented and matures early. Nantes carrots have a sweet flavor while not suitable for storing long.
- Danvers: The roots in this type are conical in shape, broad on the top about 5 to 6 cm in diameter and grow16 to 18 cm in length with a blunt tip at the bottom. They grow well in sandy soils with strong foliage and the carrot stores well.
- Imperator: Roots in this type grow up to 25 cm with 3 cm diameter at shoulder level. They grow well in sandy soils but not that sweet flavor while can store well.
- Colored: Carrots come in varied root colors such as red, yellow, white, purple, and orange. Orange colored carrots are commonly cultivated. Each color has a variety of healthful phytonutrients.
Cultivars / Varieties in India
- Pusa Kesar, in this variety the leeaf foliage is sparse. The roots are red in color even the core is highly pigmented. They have a sweet flavor with long storage duration.
- Pusa Rudhira is an improved variety developed by IARI. The carrot root is cylindrical in shape growing up to 23 cm in length. Carrots are rich in carotene and nutritious. This cultivar yields 34 to 38 tonnes per hectare.
- Early Nantes, in this variety the roots are cylindrical in shape with 12 to 15 cm long and 3 to 5 cm in diameter. Carrots are orange-yellow in color and can be harvested by 90 to 100 days.
- New Koroda is a hybrid variety. The root surface and core are highly pigmented. Carrots mature early with a sweet flavor. Carrots grow up to 15 to 16 cm.
- The other varieties available in the market are Ooty-1, India Gold, Half long Danvers, and Pusa Yamadgni.
Climate and Soil requirement for Carrot growing
Carrot is a cool season crop and tolerates frost as it comes from hardy plant group. The plant also grows well in a warm climate. The optimum temperature for the plants to grow well is between 10° to 25° C and germination of seeds are well but slow in cool conditions. Compared to warm temperature the plant growth is slower during colder weather. Carrot shape, color, and quality are directly influenced by temperature and soil moisture. At 15° to 20°C the texture and flavor of the root will be developed best while below 10° C the roots grow slender and paler and in high temperatures short, thick roots are produced.
Soils must be well-drained, loose, friable structure and deep will let carrots grow smooth, straight roots. For best yield and healthy growth sandy to loamy soils are most suitable. Growing carrots in humus-rich soils will produce forked, hairy roots with excessive foliage; the roots also tend to be rougher and coarser on the outside. Brack soils are not recommended as carrots are sensitive to saline soils.
Land preparation in Carrot growing
Fields must be thoroughly prepared and tilled. Deep plowing to loosen the soil up to a depth of 30 cm will help the roots grow freely. The soil must be a crumbly structure with moisture retaining capacity. Soils that are heavy, compacted or poorly-drained soils with pebbles will hamper proper root development giving fewer yields. In the greenhouse or in open fields prepare the land to a fine tilth and form beds of 20 to 25 cm in height, 100 cm in width and convenient length depending on site size and shape. Ridges and furrows are formed at 30 cm spacing. The beds should be fumigated for nematodes
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Propagation in Carrot growing
Carrots are propagated by means of seeds.
Seed rate and Season in Carrot growing
Carrots can be grown throughout the year with proper irrigation. In cold regions February to September especially in northern regions and in warm regions, it is January to November. A seed rate of Four kilograms per hectare is required.
Seed Treatment in Carrot growing
For proper and early germination seeds must be treated. They can also be treated for seed disease. Soak seeds for 24 hours in cow pat pit at 3 g in one liter of water. Seeds are also treated with 5% Trichodermaviride. Before transplanting from nursery young seedling roots are dipped in 5% Pseudomonas fluorescens.
Sowing and Spacing in Carrot growing
Carrot seeds are too small to handle while sowing. For even and proper seed distribution mix seeds with fine dry sand (one part of seed with four parts of sand) for planting. Pelleted seed or seed tape can also be used for planting which may be procured from the local nursery. As they are small, seeds must be sown 1 to 2 cm deep in rows with 25 to 30 cm spacing. Thinning is necessary for carrot growing and is carried out when seedlings are 6 to 8 cm. Pull out can disturb the other carrot seedlings, snip off or cut the tops of the seedlings at 5 to 10 cm apart to avoid overcrowding and for a better yield.
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Irrigation in Carrot growing
Soil moisture must be maintained consistently throughout the season. The soil should never be allowed to dry till the plants have emerged and well-established. Provide irrigation once in five days in the cool season. In summer irrigation must be given in the evening and the beds must be covered with wet cloth or gunny bags. This will prevent water evaporation and retains moisture in the soil. Irrigation is gradually reduced to prevent splitting of the roots. Soils that are evenly moist will help proper root development with good color. Uneven soil moisture leads to cracked roots, woodiness, and bitter flavor. Irrigation frequency and duration is given depending on weather conditions, type of soil.
Manures and Fertilizers in Carrot growing
20 to 25 tonnes of well-decomposed farmyard manure per hectare is incorporated at the final preparation of the field. Fertilizer application is given based on the soil test recommendations. However, in general, 80 to 90 Kilogram of Nitrogen, 200 to 250 kilogram of Phosphorous, and 120 to 130 kilogram of Potassium is required per hectare. Half of Nitrogen and whole of Phosphorous and Potassium is to be given as basal dose before planting and the remaining half of Nitrogen must be given four to five weeks after sowing as top dressing.
Intercultural Operations in Carrot growing
Thinning of plants must be done when the plants reach 6 to 8 cm height. Weeds compete for nutrients while carrot seedlings are slow growing when young. Weeds can be controlled by 2 to 3 hand hoeing or mowing or herbicides or by combining all these methods.
Carrot Growing in Containers
Carrots are excellent vegetable plants for home garden and easy to grow in container and pot gardening. Carrot is a root vegetable plant, chose a container that has 25 to 30 cm depth. Fill the container with friable soil. Plant seeds 1 to 2 cm deep, number of plants in container or pot depend upon the diameter. Two or three plants in a garden container are recommended. To have quality carrots fill the container with rich fertile soil with compost with adequate watering.
Pests and Diseases in Carrot growing
- Aphids are tiny insects found beneath the leaves. The leaves turn discolored and wrinkled as these soft-bodied insects feed and suck sap from the leaves. Aphids are winged insects and grow rapidly by reproducing in one week. Infected plants are controlled by a strong spray of water and for serious infestations, insecticidal soap or neem oil must be used.
- Powdery Mildew is a fungal disease developing on the lower leaves first and spreads across. To control plant disease resistant cultivars. Nantes and Imperator are more prone and can be avoided if mildew is a problem.
- Leaf spot is a plant disease which starts as small spots with yellow halos on young leaves. Upon maturing they turn tan or light grey. In severe conditions, the leaves will die. To control leaf spot disease, foliar spray of 5% Manchurian tea filtrates thrice in a month after sowing and another dose after one month. Or, foliar spray of 3% Dasagavya from the first month after planting and thereafter with 10days interval.
- Soil-borne diseases can be controlled by applying Trichodermaviride five kilogram per hectare or applying Pseudomonas fluorescens five kilogram per hectare at the time of land preparation.
- Root-knot nematode is a plant parasitic disease. They exist in soils in regions having hot climate-disrupting the transportation of water and nutrients from the roots. To control the disease apply one tonne per hectare of neem cake to the soil at the time of sowing the field. Or apply 10 kilograms per hectare of Paecilomyceslilacinus before sowing seeds. Growing carrots once in three years or growing marigold once in two years following crop rotation are the ways to control the disease.
Harvesting in Carrot growing
Depending on cultivar planted the field will be ready for harvest usually in 90 to 100 days. Carrots are harvested when they reach the desired size but are still young and tender. Quality of the fruit goes down and unfit for consumption when the harvest is delayed. Carrots when reached a mature stage their base tips appear on the soil surface. Carrots can be harvested any time or when market demand for immature baby carrots. However, matured carrots can be stored for many days. Long carrots tend to break while pulling its recommended to lift carrots with a digging fork.
After harvesting, the carrots are washed with clean water to remove dirt and trim off the tops. Carrots can be stored for many months under temperature 0° to 3° C with 95% humidity. Long period stored fruit will lose flavor and nutrition.
Yield in Carrot growing
With best farming practices, on an average, a grower can expect tropical carrot up to 15 to 25 tonne per hectare.
Marketing in Carrot growing
Carrots can be marketed directly in the local market or retail outlets or through marketing agency. Carrots are in great demand in the market for its health benefits. It is also marketed when carrot made into jam, pickled, cake, pudding, sweetmeats and juices.
Tips for Carrot growing
- To grow long, slender, straight carrots; plant carrots in a soft, fertile, well-drained soil for easy root growth.
- Avoid clay soils as carrots grow short and deformed.
- Maintain soil moisture throughout the growing season.
- Over-crowding plants will yield deformed carrots.
- Carrots can be grown in a container if space is a constraint.
Bottom Line of Carrot Growing
Commercial carrot growing is one of the most successful vegetable businesses around the globe since this wonderful vegetable has excellent demand in local and export markets.
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