How to Grow Organic Carrots
One of the easiest crop plants to grow in the garden would be carrots. With the initial preparation of the soil by making them free of rocks and lumps, and adding the compost and organic fertilizer before sowing the carrot, one can easily enjoy this vegetable that gets ready in 2-3 months depending on the weather of the place. Carrots don't need too much compost and fertilizers; rather they don't do well if too much fertilizer is added.
Carrots can also be grown in the container as long as soil is filled loosely and the carrots get about 6-8 hours of sun every day. Planting the smaller variety of carrots such as tiny sweet, little finger, chanteney would be best option if growing in containers.
Health benefits of eating carrots
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene which is converted into vitamin A in our liver. Vitamin A is very essential for our retina health. Beta-carotene also acts as an antioxidant working as an anti-aging agent by cleaning our body of toxins and keeping our skin away from getting pimples and drying and gives us healthy glowing skin.
Crunching carrots are believed from past to be helpful in keeping our teeth and gums healthy and strong. Regular eating of carrots can also prevent tooth damage because of the presence of mineral in it. Mashed carrots are also added in many natural facial masks as it works as a best cleanser for face. So why not grow our own carrots and enjoy the freshness and reap all the health benefits from it!
Why grow Organic carrots
The main reason for growing organic carrots or any other vegetables, fruits or herbs is to maintain healthfulness. Organically grown carrots are free of harsh chemicals that are that are proven to cause many diseases on human being. By growing organic, you are putting an effort to bring up the generation which is not affected by harsh chemicals and, as a result, are at less risk of getting dangerous disease such as bowel cancer later in their life.
Growing organic also means promoting healthy ecosystem.
Even though growing organic carrots can be bit expensive than growing non-organic, but if we calculate long-term results, we will not be in loss.
Tips on growing Organic carrots
- To avoid the carrots coming out in a twisted shape, prepare the soil properly at first by removing the rocks and hard stones.
- Buy organic carrot seeds or seedlings and fertilizers.
- Try making your own compost to avoid the expenses of buying expensive fertilizers.
- Start by growing the Nantenes variety of carrots as they are easy for home growers to grow. They can do well in some rocky soil and have less chances of twisting. They can grow up to 6-7 inch long.
- Thin the carrots leaving each carrot about two inches apart so that they don't fight for space with each other in the process of growing to their full potential.
Varieties of carrots:
Carrots come in different colors and shapes. Orange carrot is the most commonly grown in household. Others include purple, red, white and yellow. They come in different shapes too; common ones are long thin ones, but also round, stubby shapes, extra thin shapes are also available. For shorter carrots such as Little finger, Thumbelina, Scarlet Nantes rocky or clay soil will do. Smaller forms can be grown in containers, but other types needs to be grown in open soil or raised bed.
Author's note: I just grew my carrot first time this year, it taste so fresh and crispy there is no way I can think of going back to buying any carrots any more.
Steps in growing carrots:
Prepare the soil: All the gardeners know that growing healthy plants depends not on the seeds itself, but on the soil. Start by loosening the soil by removing lumps and rocks and adding compost as carrots needs loose soil to grow its long roots. Remove all the rocks and hard stones from the soil. Loosen the hardened clods of soil. Free the soil of lumps and stones, especially for Imperator varieties of carrot that grow too long and thick ones, the soil should be loose and deep. Then, add the compost and organic fertilizer.
Sowing the seeds or planting the seedlings: Normally it is easy to sow the seeds, but planting seedlings can be easy too as you have to less worry about thinning carrots later on as they grow if you plant each of them in about two inch distance.
To sow the seeds just dig a trench in the straight lines and makes few rows of about one cm deep and an inch apart. You don't want to scatter the seeds too deep because they cannot pop up if there is too much soil. Also, don't scatter too thick seeds so as to avoid yourself spending your time on much thinning later as they grow big. Normally carrots will come up in about a week. Keep the soil moist but not drenched and water them gently during first few weeks to avoid seeds being washed away or getting collected one spot.
To plant the seedling make a finger whole deep whole then plant the seedlings in a row. Plant them about two inches apart if they are big kind of carrot or about one inch apart if they are small types of carrot.
Caring for Carrots till the period of harvesting
- Water the seeds every day, either early in the morning when the sun is not too harsh or late in the evening for the first three weeks, then you can water them every alternative day if the weather is not too hot. Remember that carrots should let to be lightly moist but not too wet or too dry.
- Thinning the carrots is another important step in growing carrots so as to allow them grow to their full potential. It is also important to thin the carrots to allow them to grow fully. Too much crowded carrot plants will not let some of the carrot to grow to their full potential or to the size you want them to grow. They should be about two inch apart to grow up to full roots. You can wait till the baby carrots come out to do the thinning if your carrots are not too crowded as you can enjoy the baby carrot and others can be left to grow until they are fully ready to be harvested. When you are thinning, pluck the smaller or thinner ones to let the bigger or thicker ones to grow to their potential. Thin them about two inch apart when they are about 2 inch long and then thin them to about 3-4 inch (if they are bigger varieties) apart as they grow bigger in three-four weeks.
- Mulching can be important steps to avoid the weeds to grow and to keep the carrots moist for hot season. Remove the weeds that may grow in-between carrots to avoid them from eating the moisture out of the soil.
- You can chose to add fertilizer in a month of time or leave them to grow on their own (in the later case you must have added the compost to the soil when you first prepare the soil).
Harvesting the carrot: Carrots are normally ready to harvest in about 2-3 months, however always check the seeds packets for the instructions about harvesting period. Pluck them/pull them out when you can see about a cm of orange tops of carrot popping up and when the stems of the leaves are thick and sometimes starting get bit yellow. Toss the carrot greens in the compost pile if you have one to have the organic compost ready for next time.
Season: Sow them or plant them in the autumn but they can be planted till the start of summer.
Sun: Even though carrot can still do alright in partial shade areas, full sun of up to 5-6 hours per day to give the best result.
Happy organic gardening!