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The carrot is a biennial plant grown for the thick taproot, which is a prized and very nutritious vegetable. They have pretty, ferny foliage and umbrella shaped white flowers. Carrots are normally orange, but there are also purple, red, white and yellow varieties, and varieties with different shaped roots as well. Choose a short round variety if soil depth is limited, or it growing in pots.
Carrots grow best in deep, loose friable soil in full sun, but they will tolerate some shade. They are best sown in spring and autumn, as moderate temperatures lead to the fastest growth, but they can be grown all year round. Heavy soils, stony soils and fresh manure are all causes of root forking. They need regular watering to produce well, and be sure to give enough water to soak well down into the soil.
Carrots are propagated by seed, and this should be sown where they are to grow, though they can be grown in seed flats and transplanted as well. Sow on the soil surface and cover lightly with sand or seed raising mix, and keep moist to germinate. Excessively hot or cold temperatures will inhibit germination, at around 10-20 degrees C they will germinate in around 10 days. Carrot seedlings should be thinned out once they germinate if they are spaced too close together, to give them room to grow. Good spacing will also help keep them healthy, as crowded plants encourage diseases. Waterlogged conditions can give rise to fungal rotting problems, if this is a problem, then they can be grown in raised beds to improve the drainage.
Feed carrots with a fertiliser high in potassium. High nitrogen can cause forking and hairy roots. Time from sowing to harvest is around 12 weeks.
Carrots are nutritious, being high in vitamin A, C and K, and potassium and fibre. The colour in carrots comes from different chemical compounds. Orange carrots indicate high levels of carotenes, and purple colours indicate anthocyanin pigments.
Flower colour: White
Flowering season: spring summer autumn winter
Maximum height: 0.5 metres
Minimum height: not specified
Maximum width: not specified
Minimum width: not specified
This plant will tolerate full or partial sunlight.
Medium frost tolerance.
Plant is not salt tolerant.
This plant species will grow in the following climates: cool, temperate, subtropical.
Clay: moist, well-drained.
Soil pH: 6.5-7.5
Fungal and bacterial rots
Aphids, mites, nematodes
Planting season: All.
Types of fertiliser: General purpose fertiliser high in potassium.