Carrots

carrots

This year, I am trying regular orange carrots, Atomic red carrot and cosmic purple carrot.

purple carrot

Carrots

When to plant: start three weeks before last Frost.  In my area, they can be grown nearly year-round but mulch heavy when it is cold to protect the ground from freezing.

Spacing: 16 per square foot but need soil 1 foot deep.

Companion Planting:

Carrots help:    Tomatoes, Alliums (onions, chives, etc), lettuce.

Carrots are helped by alliums (leeks, shallots, etc), rosemary, wormwood, sage, beans and flax.

Tomatoes grow better with carrots, but may stunt the carrots’ growth. Beans, which don’t grow well with tomatoes, provide the nitrogen carrots need more than some other vegetables.  Too much nitrogen, however, causes poor flavor.

Aromatic companion plants (sage, rosemary, wormwood) repel carrot fly.

Alliums interplanted with carrots confuse onion and carrot flies.

For the beneficial insect-attracting properties of carrots to work, they need to be allowed to flower (attracts assassin bug, lacewing, parasitic wasp, yellow jacket and other predatory wasps); Queen Anne’s Lace, a wild carrot, has the same effect.

Flax produces an oil that may protect root vegetables like carrots from some pests.

Avoid planting with: Dill, parsnip, radish.

Other predators: carrot rust fly.

Diseases: virtually disease-free.

Time to harvest: 10 weeks.

Watering: Carrots need constant watering until they are almost mature.  When they are almost mature, too much watering will cause cracking.

How to harvest: Pull up those with the largest tops.  You can dig around a little to test the size.  However, carrots are at their sweetest and most tender when they are half-grown.

Storing: store carrots away from apples.

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