Carrots are a very popular vegetable for growing in the garden but not always easy to grow well. To obtain carrots of a satisfactory size and regular shape it is in fact necessary to have suitable soil available, which is loose, draining and not very stony. If you want to sow these vegetables on sub-optimal soil, you must first prepare the plot, perhaps mixing river sand.
Sowing must be carried out at the right time and it is also important to place the carrots directly in the field, because transplanting risks producing deformed vegetables: the root takes the shape of a jar very easily.
Carrot seeds are very small and are characterized by slow germination, this means that you should not be discouraged if you do not see the seedlings appear immediately.
The right time for the carrot
Carrots resist cold and tolerate heat quite well, as long as you don't let the soil dry out. Their ideal temperature is 18 degrees, they can withstand the cold up to 6 degrees. If you take care of the cultivation with the help of shading nets during the hottest periods and tunnels (or non-woven fabric cover) when the cold arrives, you can grow this vegetable in the garden for most of the year. The carrot sowing period begins at the end of February, in tunnels or in hot climates, and can last until October, the most favorable time is spring (between mid-March and June). There are both early carrot varieties, with a crop cycle just over two months, and late varieties, which require up to 4 months to be ready to harvest.
In what phase of the moon to plant carrots
Root and tuber vegetables are usually recommended to be sown during the waning lunar phase, this is because this is the period in which the lunar influence should favor the development of the part of the plant that grows underground. In the case of carrots, however, the opinions are conflicting, in general, the sowing in the crescent moon, given that the seeds of this vegetable are difficult to germinate and the crescent moon should favor the birth of the seedling.
However, it must be specified that there is no scientific evidence to demonstrate a real influence of the moon, so those who cultivate the garden can decide to follow peasant customs as per tradition and therefore pay attention to the moon phase, but the skeptical position of those who he decides not to look at his money and sows when he has time to do so. Anyone wishing to choose the planting period based on the moon can see the moon phase of the day and of the whole year on Orto Da Coltivare.
How to sow
Carrot seed is a very small seed, just think that in a gram of seed there can be even 800, so it must be placed at a very low depth, less than half a centimeter. Due to the size it is inconvenient to take the seeds one by one, sowing is done more comfortably by tracing the furrows and then dropping the seeds with the help of a sheet of paper folded in half. Obviously, in this way the seeds will fall very close to each other, once you see the small seedlings you will need to thin them out, in order to obtain the right distance between one carrot and another. Another trick to facilitate sowing is to mix sand with the seeds, in this way the seed falls less dense and the thinning will be less.
Distances: the right plant sixth
Carrots are a vegetable to be sown per row: spreading them would make it very uncomfortable to control weeds, while between the rows they can be hoed, also softening the soil. The rows should be kept at about 25/30 centimeters between them, while the plants should be 6/8 cm apart. The seeds along the row are better to put them more dense, then going to thin out, as already explained.
A very useful association for carrots is that with onion: they are two vegetables that work synergistically, chasing away each other's parasites. In the organic vegetable garden, it may therefore be useful to sow carrots in rows 60/70 cm apart, in order to be able to place rows of onions between one row and another.
Timing of germination
A peculiar feature of carrot seeds is that they can take up to a month to appear. The germination time fluctuates on average between two and four weeks, even if temperatures and humidity are favorable. This means that after sowing you need to have a lot of patience and not be discouraged if you don't see the seedlings being born. Care must also be taken that the plot is not invaded by too many wild herbs while the carrot germinates, they could block light from the small developing carrots. To facilitate the work of manual weeding it is worth marking precisely where the rows are: it will be possible to pass on the ground with a weeder or a hoe even before seeing the plants emerge.
The soil in which to plant carrots
Carrots are a simple crop, resistant to adverse climates and little prone to pests or diseases. The only big difficulty is that they are very demanding vegetables in terms of soil: since the plant must produce a good sized tap root, it needs to find little resistance in the soil. If the soil tends to compact or is full of stones, the carrots remain small and often take on twisted shapes that make them very uncomfortable to use in the kitchen.
So where the soil is naturally loose, predominantly sandy, the carrots will do well, those who want to make a vegetable garden on clayey soil must give up growing carrots or mix sand into the soil before sowing, as well as digging the plot carefully and deeply. .
For many vegetables it is customary to sow in seedbeds, in special honeycomb containers where the seedlings will spend the first weeks of their life, with the advantage of placing formed seedlings directly in the garden. This widespread technique is instead to be avoided for carrots: if the root meets the walls of the jar it will grow crooked, this setting remains even after the transplant, developing deformed vegetables. This is why it is much better to plant carrots directly in the vegetable garden.
A few tricks in summary