This vegetable used to be a completely different kind, unattractive, unpalatable and not everyone dared to eat it. Now, carrots are a wonderful, literally indispensable vegetable used in everything from nutrition for children to food for the elderly.
And, what seems easier? Prepare the bed, sow carrot seeds, and even plant onions nearby. So that onion flies are not even harvested. What are the reasons and what to do?
In this article, we will consider 12 possible reasons for poor carrot growth and tell what to do in this or that case.
The vagaries of weather
As you know, carrot seeds already germinate well at 37°F (3°C). If the window is 64-75°F (18-24°C), the perfect carrot will grow, but if it’s hotter, its growth slows dramatically.
How can I help? I recommend cooling the soil at night by watering it with a hose, but not by sprinkling, but by gravity so that the soil cools at least 1 inch or so, which of course will lower the air temperature, which sometimes helps.
Dry, too wet, or dense soil
Carrots grow best in light and moderately moist soil. If the soil is dry, the root crop will not grow and has no chance of too wet soil. If the soil is dense, it may grow, but it is weird and laborious.
How do you fix dense soil? Apply one bucket of river sand per square meter – that’s 26-28lb (12-13kg) until the soil is loose and fluffy, at which point the carrots will be very comfortable and surprised at how perfect they will be.
Those who think that carrot seeds can be sown directly on the surface of the turf are also very wrong. Contrary to the belief somewhere that carrots are actually a weed, they require well-prepared soil. So before sowing carrots be sure to dig the soil deep to the full bayonet of the shovel to loosen it up, and then it is recommended to go over it more than once so that the ridge where the carrots are sown is softer than the feather bed in your grandmother’s house.
Place the bed with carrots in the shade
Continuing with the theme of soil, root crops can only grow well on soil that is fully open to sunlight; even brief periods of shade, which they can no longer tolerate, will slow their development.
Ideally, vegetable growers should arrange their carrot beds so that each plant is exposed to sunlight and does not shade each other. Of course, it is only when these (taller) plants will be located on the north side of the carrots that it is not allowed or permitted to be located near larger crops such as corn, i.e., they will not cause any shade to them.
Excessively acidic soil
Carrots are a picky crop and if the soil in your plot is too acidic (pH 5.5 and below), then be sure to put one cup of dolomite powder per square meter of the soil before planting carrot seeds in the fall and spring.
Ideally, the soil for carrots should have a pH of 6-7. You can check the pH with simple litmus paper by dissolving the soil in a cup of water, dipping the paper into it, and comparing the color of the paper to the scale on the package.
Loosen the soil
How do you feel about the soil? Did you know that the most responsible moment for carrots is the period when the seeds germinate and shoots appear? Therefore, it would be very bad to have soil crusts on the surface of the soil during this period.
Ideally, after each rainfall or watering, it is necessary to destroy it as gently as possible, however. If you grow carrots in a bungalow, it is necessary to cover it with a thin layer (a few millimeters) of wood ash (which is a good potassium fertilizer and also contains trace elements) after each watering, before leaving, in order not to inhibit its growth by soil crusting.
Important! Always try to water the soil or wait for rain and then loosen the soil, not the other way around.
Incorrect seed selection
Incidentally, few people know that length does matter. Thus, the shorter and shallower the carrot root, the faster it will mature and vice versa. Therefore, when choosing seeds, read what is written on the bag and don’t go after the giant, which is of no use.
A word of caution for those who are not happy with the growth rate of carrots: read the package carefully, the early varieties mature in 55-65 days. You can’t say I sowed yesterday and have harvested today. Yes, and do not store these varieties at all – I am convinced by my own experience.
Wrong crop rotation
Pioneers? Did we forget? But, fortunately, carrots are not complicated to grow, and there are just a few basic requirements to follow when choosing a previous crop.
The first, and I think this is the most basic requirement, is to replant carrots in the bed, where there were originally carrots, and wait at least two or three years foolishly, and you see the results will be completely different.
And the second rule is that carrots grow best only after tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, cabbage, onions, garlic, rape, but here it is better not to plant them after lettuce leaves and parsley, where everything is simple – there may be common pests.
Are carrots pulled over or not? Did you know that the optimal spacing width when planting carrots should be 8-9inch (20-23 cm) and the width of the bed should not exceed 60inch (1.5 m)? At this point – only four rows of carrots fit, and more are not needed.
By the way, prick the crop at the stage of a few true leaves, and after a while (usually two or three weeks), again, so that between each carrot there is a free area of 2-3inch (5-8 cm). And before thinning, first water the beds and then pull up the desired shrubs. If the beds are not watered, it will affect the neighboring plants, and this will precisely affect their future poor growth.
Incorrect planting depth
This is what beginners do, they try to plant deeper for some reason, but why? In dense clay soil, the optimal embedding depth of carrot seeds can be as little as 0.4inch (cm), but if the soil is loose and sandy, then you can push deeper – up to 2-3inch (5-8 cm). Of course, this depends on the moisture content of the soil, but if you plant very deep, then the watering will be so shallow that the water will not reach the seeds.
Another personal tip: If you see a dry spring, if there is very little rain and the water dries out and gets on the surface of the soil and the soil looks like a desert, then it is likely to sow the seeds to a depth of 2inch (5 cm), and if the soil is very dense and the rain comes often, then it is possible to get the seeds close to the surface.
You should not forget about Hilling carrots? It seems to be a simple operation, but for some reason not many people do it. The thing is that during growth, a small part of the carrot root, but still located above, seems to protrude from the soil, it becomes bare, it becomes not the usual carrot color, but less pleasant – green, and does not begin to accumulate despite the very dangerous, but all toxic, which is called lycopodium. At the same time, the growth of carrots stops and stops.
Therefore, you need to monitor the plantation and spray in time, which is especially effective after irrigation, rain, or cloudy days, when carrot fly flights are minimal or non-existent.
Watering in carrots – a difficult thing to do, and here just many people start panicking and asking questions, why not plant root crops. The fact is that carrots like the golden mean: a lot, but not too much water.
There are carrots and their biological subtleties that a real gardener should know, for example, that root crops actively begin to grow after the end of leaf growth, and there is no need to pull the tractor out of the soil and shout “Where is the root crop?”.
Usually, root growth occurs in the last quarter of above-ground leaf mass growth. It follows that carrots need as much water as possible when they are actively growing, but if you wet the soil while the roots are finishing their growth, it can hinder their development or cause them to crack.
Of course, you must not forget the norms for watering carrots so that the root crop does not stop developing. So, for example, in hot weather, when the water evaporates, you can water your carrots at night, three times a week, using only 1 Gal (4 liters) of water per square meter for young plants. But in the middle of the carrot growing season, you can water once a week with a bucket of water per square meter, reducing again at the end of the growing season, as we mentioned earlier.
A carrot can also not grow for the simple reason that you are not feeding it correctly. Fertilizer does not need to do a lot, otherwise, there will be angry comments about the amount of nitrates and the many useful things in the air as well. I have only done nutrients three times on my property and that was enough.
The first feeding that I and many gardeners do after germination – three weeks later. For this, we use a liquid fertilizer – usually one tablespoon of nitroglycerin per bucket of water. 15-18 days later then feed the carrots, having used two, but one teaspoon per bucket of water, also in dissolved form.
The carrots responded very well to the introduction of the potassium sulfate solution (literally 6-7 grams per bucket of water, in terms of consumption per square meter). It turns out – this is the third fertilizer, which has a positive effect on the growth of root crops and on their taste (it will be sweeter).
Decided to fertilize the soil with manure? Well, then apply it in spring at the rate of 11-13lb (5-6 kg) per square meter of soil. Allow the manure to break down, dissolve and turn into a plant-acceptable form in the season before planting carrots, then bring in 500g of wood ash per square meter in the fall and you’ll be safe to grow carrots. The result will be wonderful.
Well, we have tried to answer all the questions about why not to grow carrots and what to do with this. If you have any questions, please ask them in the comments. If you have your own tips for getting a good carrot harvest, we’d love to hear them too.