Growing Carrots - High Vitamin Content

The high vitamin content of carrots, especially of A and BI, makes one of the most valuable of the root vegetables.

carrots in a bowl

Carrots can stand cold weather, but midsummer heat in the Lower South is one cause of poor color and flavor.

For the early-spring crop, plant seed four to six weeks before last frost usually occurs.

For a steady supply, of growing carrots, make a second planting (except in Lower South) about two months after the first, and follow with a third in late summer.

This last planting should do well anywhere in the South and be ready for use by late fall.

Any not used before hard freezing starts should be dug and banked, just as turnips are handled.

In those parts of the South where winter temperature does not drop lower than 20 to 25 degrees above zero, leave them in the ground and use as needed.

Because carrots are long rooted, a deeply pulverized soil is desirable. This permits proper development. A rich soil, one containing much humus or organic matter, plus a liberal amount of high-potash commercial fertilizer such as 5-10-10 or 4-12-12 is essential for heavy yields, good color, and flavor. Proper attention to liming the soil is also essential.

Carrot seed are small and must be planted in finely prepared ground to obtain a good stand. Sow thinly and cover about 1 inch deep. As soon as plants are a couple of inches high, thin to one plant every 2 to 2 1/2 inches. Do not wait later to thin.

Since carrot seed are slow to germinate, you may wish to plant a few radish seed along with carrots; these germinate quickly, mark the row for ease of cultivation, and help the growing carrots come through.

Radish plants should be pulled out as soon as carrots are up allowing them to develop roots interferes with proper growth of the carrots. But, some people allow the radishes to grow until small roots are formed and then pull them out.

To help seed in germinating when the summer crop is planted, open up trench, soak bottom of it with water, and sow seed as soon as water has soaked in. Cover 1/2 inch deep and firm with back of rake. Carrots may be used when half-grown, thus one planting will last longer.

If your carrots are knotty and mis-shapen the cause may be root knot nematodes. The remedy is to use a soil fumigant before planting.