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How to grow your own carrots

Maedhbh McDonald | 08 February 2017 | 2 Comments

We train communities in Burundi on how to grow their own vegetables using kitchen gardens. These luscious vegetables not only taste delicious but also help ensure a healthy, diverse diet and help reduce malnutrition. This spring, why not grow your own vegetables too? With this step-by-step guide on how to grow carrots, you’ll be a GIY whizz in no time!Get inspired to grow your own vegetables. Image: Sean O’Reilly/Concern Worldwide.

Rich in vitamin A and K, carrots are arguably the most popular root vegetable. They vary in colour from purple to white and thankfully, with a little TLC, they are one of the easiest vegetables to grow in a cool climate.

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Step one

As any organic gardener will tell you, the mantra of successful cultivation is: “feed the soil, not the plant”. So, the first step in growing carrots is getting the soil conditions right. Carrots thrive in loose, rock-free soil as stones and pebbles can cause their roots to fork.

You can achieve the optimal soil conditions by double digging your planting area or, if you’re using a raised bed or a planting container (if you have heavy clay conditions), use plenty of mature compost. However, be careful not to plant carrots on recently manured soil as this will also result in stubby or forked vegetables.

An illustration of the steps involved in growing your own carrots. Image: Sean O’Reilly/Concern Worldwide.

Once the soil has been perfected, plant the seeds one inch apart or, if you are planting your seeds in rows, broadcast the seeds as far apart as you can. It’s important to give the seeds enough space as crowded carrots won’t thrive.

Sprouting seedlings

The carrot seeds should take one to three weeks to sprout. As the seedlings develop, gradually apply mulch to maintain an even moisture level and reduce weed problems. Try to keep the young carrots moist at all times and pull any weeds as they appear.

To protect the young plants from carrot fly you can interplant your carrots with garlic or onions. Alternatively, erecting a fine mesh barrier around your carrots will stop these low-flying pests landing on your crop.

Lead mothers and community members stand around a thriving community garden in Kirundo province in Burundi. Photo: Concern Worldwide.

With a little elbow grease, and a sprinkle of luck, you’ll have sweet and tasty home-grown carrots ready for harvest in three to four months.

So you’ve no excuses! Plant your carrot seeds this spring and reap the sweet gastronomic rewards come autumn. Or, prolong your season with successional planting: choose a mix of early-sowing and main crop varieties suitable for your local weather conditions.

Kitchen gardens in Burundi

As well as helping to construct kitchen gardens in Burundi, we provide training in hygiene and feeding practices. We also provide cooking demonstration using the harvested vegetables to encourage a healthy and diversified diet. Over the years, this has proven to be an effective tool in the fight against malnutrition and we hope to build 200 more gardens this year.

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