Carrots are very popular and incredibly versatile root vegetables that are relatively easy to grow. They can be grown on a large scale in gardens, allotments and fields, or on a smaller scale in raised beds and containers.
Carrots grow best in cool weather and take around twelve to sixteen weeks to mature, depending on the type of carrot and the growing conditions.
Heavy, chalky, or stony soil is not recommended as they grow much better in light, sandy soil with good drainage. As long as your soil is well drained, carrots can be left in the ground until you need them and will remain fresh for many months underground. Here are five top tips for growing your own carrots:
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1. Avoid giving too much water to your crops
Throughout the first two months of growth, it is important to feed your plants only small amounts of water as this forces the roots to grow further into the ground. Later in the growing process excessive water should be avoided as it can cause the roots to crack.
2. Reduce the risk of carrot flies attacking and damaging your crops
Carrot flies are attracted to the smell of crushed foliage around your carrots. Minimize the risk by thinning plants regularly, remembering to remove any thinnings afterwards and watering the plants. Planting a row of sage alongside your carrots can also help to deter the pests.
3. Make your carrots colorful
Carrot coloring differs depending on the crop; there are a number of factors which can affect the color of your carrots. Too much water and not enough sunshine will decrease the color, as will exposing them to extreme temperatures. To give your carrots extra color, grow them in sandy soil and soil with a high degree of organic matter.
4. Store your harvested carrots properly
When storing carrots you first need to cut off their foliage and check to make sure that the carrot is not damaged or rotten. Lay the healthy carrots in a box between layers of sand and keep the box in a cool dry area. Check regularly to remove any rotten vegetables.
5. Freeze any excess crops
If you have more carrots than you need, you can freeze some for later use. Slice, dice, or cut the carrots into whatever shape you want, then blanch for 2-3 minutes in boiling water and cool for the same amount of time in iced water. Place carrots into bags and freeze immediately.