How To Grow Carrots- Complete Overview in Simple Language

HOW TO GROW CARROTS- A COMPLETE OVERVIEW


IMPORTANCE OF CARROT

The carrot, Daucus carota L., has a taproot, tuberous, smooth and without ramifications. Among the vegetables whose edible parts are the roots, the carrot is the one with the highest economic value. It stands out for its nutritional value, being one of the main sources of pro-vitamin A (beta-carotene).


IDEAL CLIMATE CONDITIONS FOR GROWING


The carrot germinates in a variable temperature range between 8 and 30ºC. For optimal root development, the temperature range is 15 to 21°C. In conditions of temperature below 15ºC the roots are thinner and longer, and above 21ºC they are short and thick.


CULTIVARS AND PLANTING TIMES


Nantes Group: it is considered as the commercial standard of carrot roots in Brazil, due to the preference for cylindrical, smooth and intense orange roots. It is susceptible to leaf blight caused by Alternaria dauci and Cercospora carotae. So the best planting time is from autumn to winter.

Kuroda Group: conical-shaped carrots, which adapt well to conditions of rainfall and high temperatures; therefore they are suitable for cultivation in spring or summer.

National group: the national cultivars Brasília and Kuronan are good options for spring or summer carrot cultivation, as they have high resistance to leaf blight, combined with the cylindrical shape of the roots.

SOIL PREPARATION FOR CARROTS


As the commercial part is the roots, soil preparation is very important for them to develop properly and without deformation.

Normally, soil preparation consists of one plowing and two harrowing. After the last harrowing, and the soil being well prepared, the next step is the construction of the beds with the furrower.

Construction sites

The wider and lower beds are used when growing in the dry season, being 1.0 to 1.2 m wide and about 15-20 cm high. Irrigation is by sprinkler.

The narrower beds of 50 to 70 cm in width and height of about 15 cm provide greater ventilation and lower incidence of diseases. Irrigation is by sprinkling or lateral infiltration.

LIMING AND FERTILIZING 


Liming


The carrot is a plant that does not tolerate soil acidity: the ideal pH is around 6.5. The percentage of base saturation is 70 – 80%. The limestone must be incorporated from 20 to 25 cm deep.

Organic Fertilization


About thirty days before planting, 40 to 60 tons of cured barnyard manure per hectare should be applied. Chicken manure can be used as an alternative to barnyard manure, but the amount used should be 10 to 15 tons per hectare.

Green Fertilization


Green fertilization can be carried out prior to planting carrots, that is, the incorporation of plants (generally legumes) specially planted to improve soil productivity.

Mineral Fertilization for Planting


In general, 2 tons of the 4-20-12 formula can be used on soils that are poorer in phosphorus and potassium. It is important that 15 kg of borax per ha be applied at planting, in soils poor in boron, and in soils deficient in zinc, 15 kg of zinc sulfate per ha.

Coverage Fertilization


It is recommended 20-30 days after emergence, to apply 250kg of the formula 20-5-10 or 18-6-12 per ha.

Foliar Fertilization


Spraying can be done at 20 and 40 days after germination with a solution of 0.15% boric acid and 0.20% zinc sulfate (when these elements were not added to the soil at planting).

SEEDING


Carrot cultivation is carried out by direct sowing in furrows, usually done with mechanical or manual traction sowing. The average seed cost is 60 to 80 seeds/linear meter. The spacing is 25 to 30 cm between rows; the thinning operation must be carried out between 20/30 days after emergence, leaving 5 to 6 cm between plants.

CULTURAL TREATMENTS


Mulch


After sowing, a mulch formed by sugarcane bagasse, coffee straw and rice cane can be used. Its effect is to maintain moisture in the first days of development, as well as to prevent the appearance and hardening of the soil surface. The ideal thickness is 1 cm in the planting furrow.

Irrigation


Up to 40 days after planting, irrigation is daily. Thereafter up to 60 days, the intervals are 2 days. After 60 days, the intervals should be 5 days. Larger gaps can cause the roots to crack.

Weed Control


The critical phase of competition comprises the period from emergence to the subsequent 25 days. During this period, control is done with pre-emergent herbicides.

PHYSIOLOGICAL PROBLEMS


Root Whitening


After washing the harvested carrots, blanching occurs due to thermal shock.

Green or Purple Shoulder


The upper part of the carrot becomes greenish or purplish in color: this is caused by the lowering of the beds and exposure to sunlight.

Crack


In general, cracks are caused by irregularities in the water regime, such as a lack of water followed by a sudden excess of irrigation.

CARROT DISEASES


Leaf Burning


Caused by the fungi Alternaria dauci or Cercospora carotae. The control is carried out by weekly spraying of the fungicide Mancozeb, alternating with Iprodione.

Soft Rot


Caused by the bacterium Erwinia carotovora. Affected tissues become soft and watery. The recommended control is crop rotation and avoid planting in high humidity soils.

PESTS


Damage to productivity and root quality is caused by nematodes of the genus Meloidogyne. These losses can reach up to 50%. The attack is verified by the appearance of galls on the roots, making them useless for commerce. Control can be cultural, preventing the nematode from entering the area by cleaning agricultural equipment used there. Crop rotation should be carried out with plants that are not nematode hosts. Practices such as green fertilization with sunn hemp and deep plowing reduce the incidence of Meloidogyne in the area. Chemical control can be based on Carbofuran.

HARVEST AND MARKETING


When the roots are at the point of harvest, the lower leaves appear yellowish and the upper leaves open, touching the tips to the surface of the flower bed. This occurs between 85 to 120 days after planting. The harvesting process used is manual, pulling the aerial part with the moist soil. The harvested roots are detached from the leaves, washed, classified by size and placed in wooden boxes, where they are sold. A box of carrots usually contains 22 to 23 kg of roots.

CHOICE OF VARIETY


For different seasons there are several types are varieties are available. We can choose the right one among of them.

CHOICE OF LOCATION


Prefer light, deep, well-drained, fertile soil, with good organic matter content, free of stones and gravel, with good insolation, easy access, mechanized and with plenty of good quality water.

SOIL ANALYSIS


Take the soil samples and send them to the laboratory, 4 months after planting, to obtain, in advance, the recommendations for limestone application and fertilization. Follow the instructions on the EMATER-MG information sheet entitled “Soil Sample for Chemical Analysis”.

SOIL PREPARATION AND LIMESTONE INCORPORATION


Carrots require good soil preparation to promote good root development. A first plowing, with a depth of 25 centimeters, will be carried out 60 days before planting, applying limestone when necessary.

A second plowing should be carried out 30 days after the first.

The harrowing should be done carefully, one day before the lifting operation of the beds.

On land with a slope greater than 5 percent, there is a need to survey soil conservation practices.

SITE SURVEY


The land is furrowed meter by meter, to obtain beds with 80 centimeters of width and variable height from 12 to 20 centimeters. To finish the bed, use hoes.

FERTILIZING


Fertilizing is recommended based on the results of soil analysis. In the absence of these results and in the case of rarely fertilized land, use the following fertilization:

Planting Fertilization:


Apply 1 kilo of chicken manure for every meter of bed, 15 to 20

days before sowing. The preference for chicken manure is due to the absence of weed seeds. The ground should be watered periodically to facilitate the decomposition of the manure. Also apply 280 grams of chemical fertilizer, formula 4.14.8 or 4.16.8, and 2 grams of borax per meter of bed.

Coverage Fertilization:


Immediately after thinning, apply, by haul, 30 grams of chemical fertilizer, formula 12.6.12, per meter of bed. Repeat this same fertilization 20 days later. When fertilizing by broadcast, the carrot leaves may suffer burns, because of the fertilizer that is deposited on them. Therefore, it is recommended to immediately remove that fertilizer, which is achieved with sprinkler irrigation.

PLANTING

A raised row of bed provides carrots with the perfect soil conditions to reach their full potential. With deep, loose soil and consistent moisture, they'll develop long and straight roots.



After fertilizing, the beds will be furrowed to a depth of 2 centimeters, using a wooden scribe with teeth spaced 12 to 15 centimeters apart.

Inside the furrow, seed distribution can be done manually or with the aid of a wide-mouthed glass with holes in the lid or even with the aid of mechanical traction machines. Drop a continuous stream of seeds, trying to avoid piles or gaps. The piling up of seeds will cause a more laborious thinning operation, while failures will result in a reduction in the number of plants and a consequent decrease in the harvest.

THINNING


A single thinning is sought to save manpower. This thinning should be done 30 to 40 days after sowing and before the topdressing fertilization, eliminating the smaller plants and leaving the larger ones with a space of 5 centimeters from each other.

IRRIGATION


It is done by sprinkling and will have to be frequent in the germination phase and first days of development. At this stage, irrigate every other day. Subsequently, irrigation can be reduced to 2 times a week.

WEEDS


In commercial carrot plantations, made in external areas, mechanical weeding is impractical, making the use of herbicides necessary.

For application on carrots, the herbicide Gesagard or Afalon is recommended. The application can be done 2 to 3 days after sowing, before the carrot germinates, or 2 to 3 days after germination, when the carrot has 2 to 3 definitive leaves. For application before germination, 2 liters of herbicide per hectare are recommended. If the preference is for application after germination, the recommendation is 1 liter and a half per hectare.

FIGHTING PESTS AND DISEASES


The spraying of fungicides and insecticides for the control of diseases and pests must be made only with products registered for the culture, obeying the grace period, the dosages and care in the applications. See a technician for more information.

Special treatment should be given to the control of nematodes in the carrot crop. The most economical and viable way to control this pest in infested lands where you want to plant carrots is to adopt the practice that has been successfully done in Carandaí-MG.

For this, the maize is planted in narrow spacing and, before the bolting takes place, the entire green mass is buried.

In addition to helping to control nematodes, this practice enriches the soil with organic matter.

The legume Crotalaria spectabilis is a plant that is also recommended for the control of the nematode. Possessing the ability to fix nitrogen from the air in its roots, sunn hemp still enriches the soil in this element, after being buried.

HARVEST


The carrot is harvested 90 days after sowing. On this occasion, the carrots are plucked, separated from the leaves and roots located along the taproot, washed, sorted and packaged.

CLASSIFICATION AND PACKAGING


According to length, diameter and quality, carrots are classified into: Extra AA, Extra A, Special and First. The carrot is packed in K-type wooden crates, weighing 22 kilograms.



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