When you think of gardening, the first vegetable to pop into your head is usually carrots, however carrots are actually a little bit hard to grow. For this reason, many gardeners choose to leave them out of the garden. The question isn't whether to grow carrots or not, the question really is- are you up to the challenge?
Carrots come in a variety of shapes and colors- orange, yellow, white, burgundy and every shade in between. If you want to add sparkle to the garden, this is the way to do it.
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Have I convinced you yet? So let's get started. Carrots do great in containers. Any five gallon bucket will do. The first step is to make sure you have drilled several drainage holes in the bottom of the bucket. Carrots need a happy medium. Too much water and they rot, too little and they dry out. Drill around ten holes with a quarter inch drill bit, or if you don't have a drill, use an equivalent diameter nail. If using a nail, be sure to grab a hammer. To help with drainage, I like to add about three inches of gravel or straw to the bottom of the bucket. Next comes the soil.
Sungro Fafard 3B professional potting mix to two parts Black Cow is my favorite mix for carrots. If choosing a different soil, make sure it does not already have fertilizer in it. Carrots need a little bit of nitrogen, a little bit of phosphate and a little potash. I like using 6-7-7 fertilizer, but I am getting ahead of things. Don't fertilize until your seedlings are up and going.
It is very important that your soil has no rocks, or clumped up soil. This will cause your carrots to be knotty. Nobody wants “knotty” carrots. This is why they are so hard to grow in ground, and do better in raised beds, and better yet, in containers.
Fill your containers with your mixed soil. Leave three inches from top, unfilled. Place seeds two inches apart. You can plant around fifteen carrots per five gallon bucket. After placing your seed, lightly cover with the same soil mixture. By lightly, I mean lightly. Only a few grains of dirt on top. Do not pat in. The soil needs to remain loose and fluffy.
Water your seed in, delicately. I prefer a hose sprayer with a mister setting. Do not allow your seed to dry out. Water them in well.
Place your containers where your carrots will get at least six hours of sunlight a day.
Water as needed. You don't want your water to be swampy, but don't let them dry out either. Start fertilizing after they are three weeks old, then fertilize every three weeks with Hi-Yield 6-7-7 fertilizer.
Carrots are prone to aphids and other insects. Protect your
carrots by ordering some natural predators- Lady Bugs.
Your carrots should be ready for harvest in around seventy to eighty days. You can plant some now, and some later. South Carolina is great because you can plant carrots all winter. We are not usually cold until February, and carrots are very cold tolerant. So plant late September until February.
If gardening was an Olympic sport, it would be figure skating. It is not a cut and dry race, where there is one winner. A variety of factors come into play. What works for one person, doesn't always work for another. It's an art. In figure skating, they score on jumps, spins, steps, and artistry. The garden scores on sun, water, food, soil, and temperature.
So when you plant a garden, you are hoping everything will align and work out great. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't. The best advice I have is to start your seedlings at different times, because in South Carolina, the weather is your biggest judge. As always, Get Growing South Carolina.
If you are a gardener that likes to plant it and leave it, let me suggest the mister landscaper. It is easy to set up- it even comes with a DVD. Easy Peasey.
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We recommend Black Cow Organic Compost to keep your garden lush- but don't forget to fertilize too. Soil is like'n to your house, while having a house is great, you need food too. For more info on black cow click on the picture.
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