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EXPERT TIP: Planting Fall Carrots

Vegetable farmers have their hands full managing and harvesting heat-loving crops during the scorching month of August. However, during the dizzying mid-day heat, take some time to finalize your fall crop plans. Now is the time to consider planting a fall crop of carrots here in the Carolinas, one of my personal favorite cool season vegetables.

Carrots are an especially finicky crop, particularly during the seeding phase. Here are a few things to keep in mind when planting:

  • Be sure to choose a field location that doesn’t have a history of root knot nematodes. They can infect carrots, causing forking and growth of excessive root hairs that deem them unmarketable. Fields with root knot nematode problems can be planted to non-host winter cover crops such as wheat, rye or oats and kept out of carrot production for 2 or more seasons.
  • Due to their small size, it is extremely important not to plant carrot seeds too deep. For most varieties the recommended planting depth is 1/8 – 3/8”. Whether you are planting with an Earthway seeder or a precision seeder, establishing appropriate depth settings is critical for establishing a good stand. If seeding by hand, ensure good soil-seed contact by manually firming the soil above planted rows.
  • Germination takes a long as two weeks and ideally a carrot seed bed should remain moderately moist during this period. If you can, try to time plantings just before a predicted rain event. Having access to reliable irrigation is preferred for raising carrots since they can require up to an inch of water every 5-7 days. Many small-scale growers will lay burlap or row cover directly on top of entire rows/beds of carrots to reduce drying before germination.

(Source – http://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/expert-tip-planting-fall-carrots/)

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