Carrot cultivation can provide rich crops if the land is carefully prepared for this crop. Getting a perfect carrot culture with healthy roots without the specific pests is not as difficult as you think. In this article, you will find 6 ways to prep your soil cultivation to make sure you have the best carrot culture so far.
1. Prepare a substrate of rich soil
Depending on the variety, carrots can reach between 17 and 20 cm in the soil. This means that for straight, uniform roots, a well-laid and properly prepared substrate is an absolute necessity. Carrots grow best in deep soil, rich in humus, soil working at a depth of 10-12 cm, also have to be removed stones and debris in the soil.
2. Fertilization with phosphorus
Like most root crops, carrot crops require phosphorus application. Since carrots have a single, thick root, rather than several small fibrous roots, the area from which they can absorb phosphorus is relatively small. (Believe it or not, the root surface area of a large carrot is not nearly as large as the root surface area of a plant with several fibrous roots, such as a red or pepper).
Unlike other nutrients, phosphorus is not absorbed in the same way that water is retained in the plant. Instead, it is absorbed by diffusion, naturally moving from a higher concentration (soil) to a lower concentration (inside the root). The soil area from which phosphorus can be absorbed is limited to a very small area around the root. If a soil test indicates a need for this essential nutrient by adding an organic fertilizer with phosphorus such as a bone powder or phosphoric rock in the planting area a few weeks before sowing you are sure that the growing roots have access to this nutrient exactly when they need it.
3. Balance the pH of the soil
Like most vegetable crops, carrots grow best when the soil pH is between 6.2 and 6.8. Use a soil test to determine the soil pH in your garden, and then add the recommended amount of lime or zeolite to raise your pH if the results show a too low pH for optimal carrot growth. If the soil is alkaline, elemental sulfur is administered. Keep in mind, however, that a pH test should be done every two or three years.
4. Give the crop enough water
Keep the soil well moistened, but do not exaggerate. Once the carrots are growing, they will need a sufficient amount of water to reach the maximum potential. Carrots are not drought resistant and break, form nodes or remain small if the soil is too dry. On the other hand, if the soil is too wet in later stages of root development, carrots will show signs of rotting. Soil irrigation, if possible because wet foliage favors fungal diseases such as crown rot, carrot mash, and rust. Wet the culture only in the morning to allow the leaves to have enough time to dry before the night falls.
5. Protect the carrots from the sun’s rays
As carrots grow, some of them can get to the surface. If this happens, place the exposed area on the ground or cover it. Direct sun exposure contributes to color change, from orange to green and bitter.
6. Control of soil pests
The carrots’ root larvae and wire worms can compromise crops, causing tunnels and ditches along the roots. Fortunately, they can be prevented with organic solutions by applying beneficial nematodes around carrot crops. Beneficial nematodes are microscopic organisms that seek and attack pests that live in the soil. These can be applied to the land surface at the beginning of the gardening season before sowing or when the carrot is already planted (as long as the soil temperature has a minimum of 5°C) or at any other time during the growing season.