Growing Carrots – Yes, it’s true. For all those kitchen gardeners who long to grow the protein-rich vegetable, here’s how you can do it at home. Biologically named Daucus carota, it is better known as ‘jar’ in the Indian households. For sure, images of the ‘gajar halwa’ or fresh salad must have crossed your mind. So, here is how to grow the sucrose and carotene source root vegetable.
The carrot is a vegetable that grows best in cool temperature. Hence the right time to plant the seeds would be mid of March.
There are a number of varieties of the vegetable which can be grown. Some of the easy ones to try at home are the Pusa year or Pusa Meghalaya which are of Indian origin or the Nantes which is of the European type.
The seeds can either be planted in pots or trays or even polyethene bags which should be at least 1-1.5 feet deep since the carrot is a root vegetable and the roots need space to grow vertically downwards. Non-glazed material is preferred along with holes for proper drainage to keep the soil little loose and moist. Also, the pot should be placed at a place where it can receive at least 5 hours of sunlight daily. If a container which had been previously used is re-used for the process, kindly ensure proper cleaning to prohibit any bacterial growth which will affect the quality of the produce.
Soil preparation & sowing
Red soil mixed with an equal quantity of sand works best for this winter vegetable. Some compost can also be added. Do ensure that the soil is not very moist else the baby roots would start to decay. The top of the mixture should be at least an inch below the rim of the container. Make one and a half cm deep furrows on the surface using the end of a stick at gaps of at least 3 inches. In each of these furrows, drop 2-3 seeds and cover it by dropping some of the soil mixture loosely. Now the surface is to be watered well for germination of the seeds which shall happen in two weeks time.
Growth & harvesting
When the green seedlings appear & are about an inch long, prune them so that they fall on the soil adding to its fertility. Water the seedling regularly. In case of temperature increase, the frequency of watering can be increased to three times. In about four week’s time, the lush green part can be noticed. Do keep a check on bug infestation or mildew growth. If observed, organic pesticides can be used. Also, ensure that no part of the carrot root is exposed to sunlight else it will turn green making it unfit for consumption. In about two months after planting the seeds, the first harvest can be done. You may pull out the carrot gently from its base as per daily need and relish the home-grown fresh salad, ‘gajar halwa’ or soup!!