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Well, if you have a plan to grow carrot, here are most Frequently Asked Questions About Carrot Farming answered by Dr Samuel Nsubuga

1. How long does it take to grow Carrots?
Carrots are available in different varieties and most of the varieties take around 70 to 90 days to mature. Baby Carrots mature a little earlier than the regular variety, probably around 50 to 60 days.

2. What is the best time for growing Carrots?
the best season time for planting local varieties of Carrots is during the hot or dry seasons and European varieties are planted during In cold climate

3. How do you prepare the soil for growing Carrots?
Simple method to prepare the soil for growing healthy Carrots is:
• Create a deep soil bed with a depth of 10-12 inches.
• Fertilize the soil with phosphorous.
• Balance the pH of the soil (6.0-6.8).
• Keep the soil moist enough for the plants to perform better.
• Cover the exposed part of the Carrots with mound soil or mulch.
• Treat the soil with recommended fungicides to avoid the occurrence of soil pests.

4. How long do Carrot seeds take to sprout?
Carrot seeds take around 10-21 days to germinate. Moist soil conditions are extremely important during the germination period and dry or windy weather in the region can slow the rate of germination.

5. How deep should one plant a Carrot?
Carrots should be sown close to the upper surface of the soil. The seeds should be sown to an approximate depth of 5 mm, i.e. one-fourth of an inch.

6. Is it possible to grow Carrots from Carrot tops?
The orange root vegetable is considered to be a tap root and once it is detached from the plant, it doesn’t grow. When it is being said that growing Carrots from Carrot tops, it is actually meant for the green leafy part and not the root part. Carrot top can be used to grow the plant or the leaves/greens.

7. How many Carrot seeds do you plant in a hole?
The hole for planting Carrot seeds should be made with a finger and 2 or 3 seeds should be placed in each hole. A general rule for sowing the seeds in the hole is to pick a pinch of seeds with the thumb and forefinger and drop them in the hole. Right number of seeds facilitates easy germination and growth.

8. How many Carrots can be obtained from one seed?
The obvious answer is one seed can produce only Carrot. The number of Carrots grown depends on the seeds sown and this can be known once the seedlings start growing.

9. How much sunlight is needed for growing Carrots?
Carrots are considered to be plants that require full sunlight. Carrot plants require direct sunlight for a minimum period of 6 to 8 hours. The plants require sunlight for the development of the vegetable.

10. Do Carrots have seeds and where do Carrot seeds come from?
Yes, Carrots have seeds and propagation of these plants happens through seeds. The Carrot plant is considered to be biennial and in its second year of growth produces ‘umbels’ that are a group of flowers which produce seeds. The Carrot plant is not a self pollinator because the ova and pollen of the flower are fertile at different times. Therefore the plant needs cross-pollination to occur for seed development. Carpels of the flower produce seeds and the seeds are tiny, hooked having curved mericarp and covered with a spiny.

11. How does Carrot reproduce?
The Carrot plants produce flowers and a bunch of these flowers make an umbel. Each umbel is capable of producing two seeds. Pollination is required for the production of seeds and can happen within the same species or different species. The male portion of the flower produces pollen and contains the sperm which is transferred to the stigma by pollinators like the honeybees. The pollen on the stigma reaches the ovule through a tube and releases the sperm for fertilization to occur. Formation of the embryo takes place after fertilization and it is encased within a seed. This embryo within the seeds is helpful in producing new Carrots. This reproduction and fertilization take place during the second half of the plant life cycle.

?How can Carrots be grown in pots?
Growing Carrots in containers needs extra attention to ensure success. The following can be done to have healthy Carrots in containers or pots:
• Choose the container with the proper depth (pot should accommodate about 20-40 litres of compost)
• Procure seeds of the right variety that suits the weather of the region.
• Prepare proper potting soil for the Carrots.
• Ensure proper depth of sowing the seeds (3 inch hole, about 2.5 to 3 inches apart).
• Thin the plants as and when required.
• Add fertilizers on a weekly basis.
• Water the plants accordingly.
• Harvest them after 2-2.5 months.

13. How many Carrots can be planted in a square foot?
Carrot plants need a minimum spacing of 3 inches between each other. This means that for square foot gardening the Carrots are planted as close as possible. The plot is divided into 4 quarters and then the seeds are sown in the area such that they can accommodate approximately 16 Carrots per square foot.

14. How deep do Carrots grow?
Each variety of Carrot has a different length and dimensions. The length of the Carrots ranges from 5 inches to 12 inches and this is considered the depth to which they can grow within the soil.

15. What should be the depth of container for growing Carrots?
The depth of the container for Carrots should be at least 6-15 inches deep depending on the variety one is growing. The width of the container should be large enough to facilitate proper growth.

16. What months are Carrots harvested and how is it known that they are ready to harvest?
The harvest is obtained depending on the variety one is trying to grow. If local varieties are being sown in August-September, then they can be harvested during December-February. For European varieties sown in like  October-November, harvesting can be done in February-May. The Carrots are ready for harvest when the diameter of the Carrot shoulder has reached at least half to three-fourth inch.

17. How do you grow big Carrots?
So as to facilitate good growth, the following can be done:
• Mulch the soil base gently to retain moisture, help in faster germination and protect the roots from direct sunlight.
• Thin the plants once they are 1 inch tall, so that they are at least 3 inches apart.
• Water the plants one inch every week.
• Weed the plants diligently.
• Use a balanced fertilizer after 5-6 weeks of sowing.
• Never allow the soil to dry completely.

18. What are different varieties of Carrots available in uganda?
There are four general varieties of Carrots available depending on the type of foliage, shoulder width, tapering, length etc. The colour of the Carrots may also be different and they can be differentiated on the basis of the colour pigment such as orange, purple, red, yellow and white.
The four general types are chantenay Carrots (sweetest; 8-12 inches long; slender), Danvers Carrots (6-7 inches long, slender and more intense), imperator Carrots (sweet and crispy; 6-7 inches long; cylindrical) and Nantes Carrots (5 inches long; narrow top; cone shaped).

19. What type of soil is required for growing Carrots?
Properly tilled soil with a loose texture is considered good for Carrot farming. Sandy or loamy type of soil is suitable for Carrots, but silty or clayey soils should be avoided. The soil should have a good draining feature with a minimum pH range of 6 to 6.5. Carrots are sensitive to saline conditions so brack soil is not good for growing Carrots.

20. What should be the row spacing and planting density for Carrots in farms?
The minimum recommended row spacing is 200 to 400 mm, but if double or triple row systems are being used, then the minimum spacing between rows should be 400-600 mm such that the one square meter of area with double can accommodate 150 to 160 Carrot plants whereas a square meter area with single row can accommodate 100 plants.

21. How do you thin Carrot plants and why?
The process of thinning is to remove some baby plants from the rows so as to create some space for healthy growth of Carrots. Generally thinning is done twice during the growing season. It should be noted that the plants must be at least 4 inches tall to carry out thinning. To remove the plants from the rows, hold them between your forefinger and thumb and dislodge the entire plant along with its roots from the soil. Cover the left over plants with soil so that the top of the root doesn’t get exposed to direct sunlight. Another round of thinning should be carried out after about a month from first thinning.

22. How much fertilizer is required by the Carrot plants and how often?
The proper soil test will determine the right quantity of fertilizer required by the plants, but general recommendations are NPK fertilizer mixture 2: 3: 4 @ 100 kgs per hectare should be added to the soil before sowing. 8 weeks after the sowing process, limestone ammonium nitrate @ 100-200 kgs/ha is applied as topdressing to the plants. Nitrogen required by the Carrot plants is very low so only 80 kgs/ha of nitrogen is supplied. Similarly, phosphorous @ 40 kgs/ha and high potassium quantity are supplied as a side dressing to the plant after 4 to 8 weeks of planting. The remaining fertilizer quantity is to be supplied as late dressing. Care should be taken not to supply too much of compost or organic manure otherwise the vegetable may develop unattractive hairy roots and coarse texture. (Don’t forget one ha=2.5acres)

23. How often should Carrots be watered and how much?
The most important thing to remember for Carrot farming is that the soil should never be allowed to dry out and too much moisture can cause short Carrots with light colour and large diameter. Light irrigation is required after sowing and water should be provided to the plants once or twice in a day with sprinkler irrigation system. The amount of water should be reduced gradually during root development so as to avoid the risk of longitudinal splitting or cracking of the roots. It is also recommended that Carrots grown in the garden area should be watered by digging 4 inches of soil from around the plants so that deep watering is possible. Water should be provided only in the morning hours.

24. What is the best fertilizer for Carrots grown in the garden area?
Fertilizers that are considered most suitable for Carrots are potash (provides potassium and helps in the growth of the Carrots), kelp (provides calcium, magnesium and boron to facilitate the process of photosynthesis) and NPK 1-2-2 (provides nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium that help in root development, leaf formation and overall health of the plants).

25. How do you store Carrots?
Carrots can be stored in the refrigerator for a short term period of about one month when kept in a container with water enclosed with a lid. The water in the container should be changed every 4-5 days and the Carrot greens should be removed prior to storing. Carrots can be also stored in huge quantities for a long term of about 6 months in a cold storage area maintained at 0˚C and 90% of humidity.

26. How and when are Carrots harvested?
When the Carrots attain a diameter of 20 mm and look tender and young, they should be harvested. Harvesting is done based on requirements such as for obtaining baby Carrots, harvesting is done early. The maturity of the vegetable is known by its appearance on the soil surface.
Grabbing the foliage for harvesting the Carrots will only pull the greens off, but doesn’t help much in removing the vegetable. So initially the soil around the Carrots should be loosened with a garden fork carefully such that the root is not damaged and then the Carrots are removed.

27. What are the disease and pests on Carrot plants and how can they be controlled?
Pests on the Carrot plants are aphids, weevils,  worms, nematodes and red spider mite which can be controlled by spraying recommended pesticides. Similarly, common diseases of Carrot plants are alternia blight, soft rot, Carrot rust, aster yellow disease and bacterial blight; these can be controlled by using disease resistant cultivars.
General farm management techniques to keep the plants healthy are:
• Moist soil with good draining properties should be selected.
• Choose seeds that are of good quality and resistant to diseases.
• Practice proper and timely crop rotation.
• Always practice weed management at the farm.
• Never try to grow Carrots as warm season crops.
• Use recommended pesticides and fungicides only when the problem is severe.
• Try natural ways like soil treatment methods and organic sprays to keep the pests and diseases under control.

28. What climate is most suitable for growing Carrots?
Carrots prefer to grow in cool climate, but sometimes are also grown in warm weather conditions. The best temperature range for the growth of Carrots is 15-20˚C. When the temperature of the region goes below 10˚C then the quality of Carrots produced becomes slender and pale. Temperatures beyond the normal range, i.e. high temperatures cause Carrots to become short and coarse. The Carrot plants need 25 mm of water each week under warm conditions and when it is dry, they need 50 mm of water per plant each week. The moisture in the Carrot farm should be steady and has to be maintained at 50%.

29. What causes the Carrots to fork?
It is often observed that Carrots have forked roots or branched roots (secondary roots) because of many reasons such as soil insects, nematodes, stones, heavy compacted soil, etc. As insects feed on the growing tip of the Carrot it results in branching. Similarly, stones or less space, fertility issues can also contribute to deformed Carrots or forked Carrots. Proper tilling and soil treatment can create a good ground for growing Carrots.

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Published on 2020-06-22