Carrots are the ideal vegetable for beginners. They require little space and the maintenance effort is low. Depending on the variety, carrots take around three months to harvest. This has the advantage that they can be reseeded several times a year. The planting season extends over several months. If you plan the sowing cleverly, you can eat fresh carrots almost all year round.
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The classic is the orange colored Daucus carota subsp. sativus. The carrots come in many different colors :
- violet with an orange center
- violet with a white center
A colorful mix of different colors looks particularly beautiful on the plate. If you overcook purple carrots, they usually lose a lot of their color. They also color other vegetables when you use them as part of mixed vegetables. In addition to different cultures, there are also different forms. The “Ochsenherz” variety, for example, is rather short, but has a large diameter. There are also varieties that are mainly suitable for fresh consumption or for storage.
The soil plays an important role in the development of plants. You can grow carrots in a bed, raised bed or in planters such as troughs. With planters, you only have to make sure that they are deep enough and that there is no waterlogging.
The carrot has the following site conditions:
- loose soil
- nutrient-rich soil
- sunny location
You should start preparing the sowing area in the fall. Work fresh manure into the soil where the carrots will be planted next year. The manure rots over the winter and forms a good nutrient base for the next year. Before sowing, you only have to loosen the area briefly. If the soil is very heavy, work in some sand as well.
The first planting window opens at the beginning of March. The soil temperature should be at least 10°C, if it is warmer the carrots will germinate faster. The germination period is at least 14 days and during germination the seeds must not dry out. The small seeds have no moisture reserves and would die in dry periods. Therefore, planting from March is ideal, as there is frequent rain during this time and the soil rarely dries out.
The first window of the planting season closes around the end of May. Then it is usually too dry and it becomes more and more difficult to keep the soil constantly moist. Sowing would still be possible in June or July, but the failure rate is higher the warmer it gets.
If you want to harvest carrots in the spring, you can plant them again in the fall. You can plant carrots from around the end of September to mid-October. However, they need some protection over the winter and are only suitable for outdoor use in warmer areas. A greenhouse or cold frame, for example, is ideal.
Daucus carota subsp. sativus is such a popular vegetable that many gardeners can’t wait to harvest fresh. There are now plants on the market that are available for purchase. Pre-culture in sheltered spaces may be tempting, but it has many downsides.
- premature flowering due to temperature changes
- deformed growth due to damaged root tip
- a lot of lateral roots
Above all, the formation of many side roots makes harvesting later a challenge. The processing is also difficult, because even washing the carrots is much more complex. The best way to plant carrots is direct sowing.
The seed package does not always contain meaningful instructions on how to plant the carrot seeds. To plant the carrots, all you need in addition to the seeds is a rake, which you can use to dig a small ditch for the seeds. The use of seed tapes is ideal for carrots, since the seeds are already well spaced there.
Instructions for sowing:
- make grooves about 1 cm deep
- Scatter the carrots evenly and not too densely into the grooves
- Cover seeds well in seed starch
- Press the soil lightly
- Angießen together
In dry periods you should use Daucus carota subsp. Water sativus at least twice a week until the first green appears. Once the leaves appear, the plants grow very quickly. All you have to do is make sure that weeds don’t overgrow them.
Too dense planting
When sowing, it can sometimes happen that seeds slip into the groove once more. Although dense sowing is good so that the roots grow more deeply and do not form side roots, the plant should not be too dense later. If the carrots are too close together, they can continuously harvest plants as baby carrots. So they can eat the first carrots early and the other carrots have enough space to develop.
When sowing carrots, it is important that they have a different location every year. This will help prevent carrot fly infestation. The choice of planting time is also important. The earlier you start sowing, the lower the risk of infestation.
Planting in mixed culture is essential. Onion plants offer ideal protection against carrot flies. In the immediate vicinity you can plant the following bulbous plants:
- Onion sets (white, red, yellow)
- spring onions
- pearl onions
The advantage is that the onions have the same site conditions as the carrots. Sowing or planting can take place at the same time as the carrots. You should leave about 15 cm between the rows. In practice, an alternating culture in rows has proven itself. It is not enough to create a bed of carrots and plant an onion in the neighboring bed.