Carrot farming is the best farming practice ever to the farmer, they take a shorter time to mature and getting ready for harvesting and can withstand short drought seasons. As long as the nursery bed is wet, there is no need to water this kind of crops.
But when there is a longer dry season, the farmer can automatically water the carrot plants in the farm using sprinklers or manually using a hand held watering can. Carrots are good recipes in making of salads when mixed with onions, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbages and other nutritive vegetables.
Carrots are well known in containing a substance called carotene which is necessary for the manufacture of vitamins A. Vitamins A generally help in visual impairment to people who have less or fair eye sights. This vegetable with its origin from Europe, is a good source of calories hence giving energy to the consumer.
Have you ever heard of smoothie? Well you can use carrots together with pineapples, oranges, lemons, kales, cabbages, honey, milk, grapes, ginger, onions, tomatoes, water melon, ripe avocado and green French beans to make smoothie. Smoothie is a nutritious blended juice which boosts immunity and treats minor diseases.
Varieties of carrots in the farm
While farming carrots, the farmer should be able to determine the best variety of carrots which do well in his farm and a good disease, pests and a drought resistant one. This can be achieved when the farmer involves agricultural experts who can test the soil from his farm to ascertain the best variety he can farm.
These are some of the varieties of carrots:
Fresh market variety grows faster than the canning variety
- Feeding livestock
- Ox hart
Seed bed preparation
The seed bed should be dug to a fine tilth and well watered. Carrots do not necessarily need a seed bed, the seeds can be planted directly to the main nursery bed to avoid damages that can occur while transplanting from the nursery bed.
Carrots can do well in an area with an altitude of 3000m above sea level and requires a cool to warm temperatures. There should also be a consistent rainfall of 750 to 1000mm distribution during the year. If there isn’t enough rainfall, the farmer should be in a position to improvise other ways to irrigate the land probably using sprinklers.
The main nursery bed should be cultivated to a deep, fine tilth and well-drained soil which is free from stones, tree roots and tree stumps to allow efficient root expansion of the carrots.
Land preparation for planting of the carrots
The main land where the carrots will be planted should be well dug; large lumps of soils should also be broken into a fine tilth before the transplanting process.
The carrots are then planted directly in to the main seed bed, the seed bed should be drilled planting holes in rows of 15 to 35 centimeters apart from each other and the carrot seeds placed in the holes.
The seeds are then covered lightly and the soil pressed down a little bit to prevent water washing them down the drain and also from pests damaging the seeds.
At the planting time, use 90 to 100kgs of DAP (double super phosphate) per hectare to apply in the drills or planting holes from the main nursery bed.
Field management practices
Gapping – gapping is the replacement of dead plants by other live plants; after one week of planting, the farmer should replace the dead carrot plants in the farm with new plants.
Thinning – after one and a half to two weeks after planting, the carrot plants should be thinned so as to obtain an equal distance of 4 centimeters between plants within the rows.
Weeding – weeding should be done by hands to avoid tempering with the root formation of the carrots. You can also do spraying of herbicides to kill most stubborn and common weeds in the farm.
Top dressing – top dress your carrot farm with 60 kilograms of CAN (calcium ammonium nitrate) per hectare or any other fertilizer that contains Nitrogen.
Control of pests and diseases
Diseases and pests can be controlled by using appropriate pesticides and herbicides. You can get all these chemicals from an accredited agro vet shop near you.
Harvesting of carrots
After four to five months after planting, the carrots plants should now be harvested from the farm depending on the variety.
Carrots are harvested by lifting the plant out from the soil using a jembe or a forked jembe. The farmer can as well uproot the carrots plants manually if the ground is wet to avoid breakage of the root of the carrots.
The carrots are washed and then sold while they are still fresh to the market.