Cultivate carrot in your vegetable garden!
Carrots are a very popular vegetable, with a long shelf life inside and outside the refrigerator! This root can withstand many different climates, while there are many varieties which are enough to have carrots in your garden all year round! Home cultivated carrots, in fact, have a very special and delicious taste!
The most important condition for proper carrot cultivation is that the soil is soft, light, well drained and sandy so that the root can grow without obstacles. Proper soil preparation before sowing is A and Z. We always start with a very good plowing or digging to soften the soil to a depth of at least 20 cm, removing weed stones or even hard soil.
Precisely because it is a root, which means that it is protected from frost, it can be grown in summer and winter! With successive plantings per month, you can have your own carrots all year round!
Depending on the growing conditions and the climate, the carrot needs 2 to 4 months to ripen.
If the soil in your garden is not suitable, such as heavy clay, prefer to plant in a pot or raised bed where you can put the soil of your choice! Avoid manure and fertilizers in the carrot because in most cases the carrot takes out sideways roots, warps or deforms. Prefer simple ingredients to support the growth of your carrots, such as your coffee grounds, which perfectly match the carrot needs for growth! Plant in soft, well-ventilated soil so that the root is not pressed and can grow properly.
You will find many varieties of carrots, for different planting seasons but also in different sizes, shapes and colors!
Baby finger or little finger is a small cylindrical carrot up to 10 cm, used mainly for packing in jars.
The Bolero is a slightly conical and large carrot as it reaches 20 cm, is very resistant to disease.
Amsterdam forcing is a small cylindrical carrot, very early.
Danvers was developed to be resistant to hard and dense soils, and is grown mainly for freezing.
Nantes is a cylindrical, sweet and crunchy variety for fresh consumption.
The Chantenay variety produces medium-sized, conical carrots. Used for immediate consumption and processing.
The Autumn King is a large, conical shaped variety for late production.
Kronos are long carrots with smooth roots and durable. Ideal variety for salads.
De la halle is suitable for amateur use as it has very few cultivation needs.
Garo is a mid-early variety with a large size, cylindrical shape and very productive. Suitable for winter cultivation.
Start sowing if you want to have carrots from the summer, in March with the last frosts (for Greece). Continue sowing every 3 weeks to ensure carrots all year round! As long as it is cold, prefer to sow in beds in a protected area for transplanting outside when the plant reaches 2-3 cm. From spring to late summer, you can sow directly into the ground, as with the transplant the carrot is very easy to injure and stop its growth.
Plant the carrots in a sunny place throughout the day. Otherwise, have at least half a day of sunshine. Sowing distances can be very short, starting at 8 cm distance per seed. In depth, the sowing should not be more than 1 cm deep. You will see the seeds sprout at intervals starting from 10 days and reaching up to 3 weeks, so do not rush to be disappointed! Put 3 seeds per sowing point and carefully remove the weakest ones.
Maintain the soil with the necessary moisture, making quick and surface watering, so that it does not soak the soil, but retains the necessary moisture. Weed carefully so that the roots do not drown from weeds but without injuring your carrots! Keeping the right humidity and weeds away also avoids diseases that can damage your carrots.
Harvesting and storage
In summer, carrots become harder and fibrous due to the heat. Prefer the harvest before the summer heats! Exactly when you will pick your carrots, depends mainly on the size you want! The smaller the carrot harvested, the tastier it is. But if you need a reminder, about 2.5 months of waiting is enough! The carrot should be about the size of your thumb at least.
Always remember that colds go well with carrots, so after a couple of frosts, they sweeten as they store sugars in their roots for energy. In fact, in winter, you can cover your planted carrots with leaves, so that you can pick them later. If you forget them without harvesting, they will sprout the next season from the seeds that will fall from the flowering tops.
To keep the carrots in the fridge for a long time, wash them well with cold water, cut the tops and dry them very well. Then place in an airtight box, if desired wrapped in paper towel. This way the carrots can last unchanged for up to 2 months. Otherwise, the best storage is to leave them in the soil for a little longer!
And a few more words about carrots
- Carrots are not only orange, you can find from black and purple to white carrots!
- Plant your carrots with radishes and beets as they have similar needs but different harvest seasons! This way you will have a beautiful colorful raised bed with beneficial roots!
- Carrots are ideal for smoothies, carrot cakes, nutritious soups and many more sweet and savory creations!