Carrot is an edible version of that lovely meadow and country road wildflower classic the Queen Anne's Lace.
This mineral rich vegetable is essential to Human health and easily grown from seed planted now. Choose a sunny, open site. as they enjoy good air circulation.
The soil for garden quality Carrots should be deeply dug to at least a spades depth. Its quality should be sandy or loamy and rich preferably from manures added to a previous crop. Carrots need a fair amount of Nitrogen to get them started but then depend upon high levels of Potassium in the soil to produce the highest quality roots. This can be accomplished organically by adding well composted wood ashes to the soil mix and water the seed in with fish emulsion water. Otherwises use a light dusting of blood and bone or fish emulsion water and add generous Sulphate of Potash to the soil mix. Carrots perform best in soils with a pH of 5.8 to 6.5 so just a little on the acid side.
Avoid growing in fresh manures as this will cause the Carrot roots to fork. Heavy loamy or overly enriched compost soils also encourgaes rotting. Any obstacle in the soil that diverts the Carrot's roots, such as bark, clods or stones will result in a bend, fork or kink in the root. Sowing Carrot seed so that it germinates during the beginning of the Waxing Moon Cycle (Crescent Moon in the evening sky) will encourage excessive top growth and spreading surface roots that often result in deformed or cub-rooted and multiple forked Carrots.
Sow the seed rather thickly in shallow drills, rows or open patches then cover with up to 1 cm of fine soil. Early and late maturing varieties can be sown together to prolong the harvest from a single sowing
Be warned that snails, slugs and birds consider the emerging seedlings to be lunch!
In a few weeks, thin the plants to stand 7-10 cm apart. The thinning can be used as delicious baby Carrots. Mature Carrots can usually be harvested in 65-75 days from sowing but may take longer in cool or damp weather or when sown during the Autumn months.
To stop carrot rust fly keep the crowns well covered with soil, sprinkle with diazinon or naphthalene granules, or plant a few green onions or garlic cloves in the patch.
By planting a patch of early maturing varieties every few weeks a succession of young tender Carrots can be harvested nearly all year.
Carrots are one of those vegetables that responds well to extra attention. To grow exhibition Carrots, fill a large and deep barrel with a mixture of finely screened well-aged compost, peat and fine round river sand with a complete slow release fertilizer and extra Potash added into the soil mix. The mix must be light enough that when a handful of it is squeezed in the hand it immediately falls apart without creating any clods.
Fill the barrel with this mix and soak it deeply. Drainage must be perfect. Then sow the seeds and lightly cover with the same soil mix. Water in lightly. If kitcken quality Carrots are expected, a number of seeds can be lightly scattered across the top of the soil in the barrel. Thin to stand at least one inch apart. For exhibition Carrots sow only a few seeds and later thin to three or less.
Timing is everything, especially with Carrots. Spring sowings are by far the best but Early Autumn sowings produce good results. The very best time to sow Carrot seed is 7-10 days before the Full Moon, preferrably when the Moon is in front of an Earth sign constellation. This gives the seed the opportunity to germinate right at the Full Moon and so have the benefit of the entire Waning Moon Cycle. It is important that the seed germinates right at the Full Moon and not more than a day or two before. The tiny filament Carrot root will then be quickly drawn deeply down into the enriched fine soil mix. This root may be little wider than a hair at first but can quickly attain 30cm/12inches or much more if the lunar gravitational forces are 'right'. Then over the weeks ahead, this fine tap root will begin to expand as it draws nutrition from the soil around it. Ultimately, this will produce exhibition Carrots that are clean, blemish-free and of the highest quality and longest length capable of winning top prize in the garden show.
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