When sowing and caring for carrots are still simple – but until the harvest they can be troubled by numerous pests and diseases and noticeably reduce the yield. To ensure that the initial work is worthwhile and that the carrots end up on your own plate instead of as parasite food, there are therefore a number of factors to consider. However, if you make the effort once, you can not only enjoy a great harvest, but also grow carrots easier in the future. And even on the balcony.
Plenty of sun and occasional wind are particularly good for carrots. The sun ensures a warm soil and good thriving, the wind, on the other hand, drives many a parasite out of the bed. If the soil is rather cold or if other plants provide a dense windbreak, raised beds are a good choice. These are also recommended because they facilitate the cultivation sequence due to the clear demarcation.
The substrate for growing carrots must be permeable, deeply loose and rich in nutrients. The soil may well be loamy, but must then be loosened by the addition of sand. Caution is advised if the bed for carrots is located directly next to bodies of water or in a depression. Although the root vegetable likes steadily moist substrate, wetness does not. So if rain or overflow from a pond or barrel can’t drain away quickly, the crop is in danger.
Nevertheless, normal garden or plant soil is perfectly adequate as a base. However, in any case, the substrate must be properly prepared for growing carrots.
Preparation of the garden bed
Before carrot cultivation can begin, the bed must be suitably prepared for the healthy vegetable. This involves several steps:
Apply sufficient fertilizer in the fall before planting. Well-rotted compost, manure or horn meal are ideal.
If the soil is still firm, sand or gravel must be added.
Finally, a thick layer of mulch is applied to protect against weeds. The most suitable for this purpose is lawn clippings, which can be spread on the soil directly after mowing.
Over the winter, the bed must rest. During this time, the nutrients from the fertilizer will disperse and settle somewhat
While the bed over the Witer by natural processes becomes the ideal breeding ground for the cultivation of carrots, amateur gardeners have time to select the variety. Basically, a distinction is made here between storage carrots and early carrots. If you want to harvest as early as May or June, you should go for the early varieties. For a supply of vitamin A root vegetables in autumn and winter are enough, accordingly, to storage carrots.
Early carrot varieties
- Nantaise varieties, such as Bolero F1 or Flyaway F1
- Purple Haze
- Purple Sun
- Red Samurai
- Carrot varieties suitable for storage:
- Red Giant
- Long Red Stump (without heart)
Tip: It’s worth taking a look at more than just the familiar orange carrots – the colorful cultivars can be just as resistant, high-yielding and tasty. And are visually interesting to boot.
Mounding, or ridge cultivation, is initially a less costly alternative to carrot cultivation. Digging can be largely dispensed with. Only in the case of very dense, hard soil should a superficial loosening take place.
Carrots are then initially sown as described above, but covering with mulch can be omitted. When the carrots grow out of the soil, they are repeatedly covered with soil until green. In this way, little by little dams are piled up. The purpose of piling is to protect the carrots from the sun and thus from turning green. The clear advantage is that there is no need for deep digging. However, it is necessary to work in the bed again and again.
Especially early varieties of carrots need a lot of time until germination. Three weeks should be planned for this at least. In this phase, the young carrots are particularly susceptible to competition and are quickly overgrown. So here you need to weed early and regularly to remove weeds. Alternatively, except for the seeding line itself, the entire bed can be covered with mulch made from lawn clippings. That being said, the following points should be kept in mind when carrots are being grown:
Mark the seeding line with fast-germinating pointer seed, such as watercress or radish, or indicate it with a taut string – this will make it easier to weed selectively
If fertilizing of the bed was missed, it can still be made up for at or after sowing by horn meal
Favorable companion plants are onions, garlic and leeks – these keep some pests away
Do not plant in close proximity to.
Parsley, parsnips and other umbellifers.
If there is an infestation of pathogens or pests, remove and destroy affected plants immediately
Keep the substrate as evenly moist as possible, but urgently avoid wetness
Cultivation on the balcony
If you don’t have a garden, you still don’t have to do without fresh carrots from your own garden. Some, smaller remaining varieties are suitable for this, such as:
- Nandor F1
- Paris Market
Carrots can be grown here in pots, tubs, boxes or planting bags. Location and substrate do not differ from growing in beds. Watering and fertilizing should also follow the instructions already described. However, it is important to ensure that the depth of the containers is sufficient. In addition, mounding is recommended for balcony culture, because it requires a little less deep soil and less soil.
Diseases and pests
As already mentioned, some pests and diseases can be dangerous to carrot cultivation. Among them:
- Carrot fly
- Moth caterpillars
- Black rot
- Carrot black rot
- Purple root rot
The signs are basically similar: carrots show either signs of feeding or discolored, moldy coatings. However, with some means and measures, it is quite easy to fight against such infestations.
- Choose a windy location, ensure sufficient distance between the rows and the carrots themselves.
- Protect seeds and plants with a vegetable net or fleece
- Plant mixed crops with onions, leeks, calendula or Tagetes
- Plant carrots only after planting other vegetables in the same bed after three to four years
- Conduct regular visual inspections and remove and destroy or bury deep underground if there are signs of parasites and pests
- Prepare the soil for growing carrots by loosening it up
- Keep the substrate moist but never soggy
If these tips are followed, infections and damage from parasites can usually be effectively prevented. Of course, it is still advisable to choose resistant varieties.
Growing carrots is easy in your own garden and even on the balcony if you have the necessary knowledge. This low-maintenance vegetable requires little work, but still requires appropriate protection against infestations of diseases and damaging insects. If the carrots are granted this, nothing stands in the way of a rich harvest. So even beginners in plant care carrots can be recommended.
I have 30 years of experience and i started this website to see if i could try and share my knowledge to help you.
With a degree a Horticulture BSc (Hons)
I have worked as a horticulture specialist lead gardener, garden landscaper, and of course i am a hobby gardener at home in my own garden.
Please if you have any questions leave them on the article and i will get back to you personally.