Cultivation of Carrot (Daucus Caroto)
Daucus caroto L.
Carrot is most important root crop in curries and made into pickles and sweet meats, ‘Gajar Halwa’ is a delicious dish prepared from carrot. Carrot juice is also used. Carrot is rich source of carotene a precursor of vitamin A. the tops of carrots can be used as source of essential oil. Carrot has medicinal properties also. Carrot is annual or biennial herb with react to much branched stem. The edible portion or carrot root is an enlarged fleshy tap root. It consists primarily of phloem or cortex and minimum of core. Carrot plants bear compound umbel. It is the umbel or umbel of the first order or primarily umbel that flower first. In succession, secondary and tertiary ambles are formed at certain interval.
Carrot is grown in winter i.e. from October – November. Very high or low temperature is not conductive for root development. Carrots produce largest roots with good colour are sown by the end of October to November to obtain hinge yields, with good quality roots.
It can be grown on all types of soil but be growth is obtained in a deep, loose, loamy soil. For early crop sandy loam soil preferred but for large yield silt-loam is desirable. In well drained, deep soil, long smooth slender roots are formed. The carrots grown on heavy soil are rough and coarse. Maximum yield is expected at soil PH 6.5.
Since roots develop the soil. It is necessary to prepare soil to a fine tilth. If soil is not thoroughly prepared and if it contains soil clods or undercomoposed organic matter, good quality and well shaped roots cannot be produced.
Carrots are grown from direct seedling,. The seeds are sown either by broadcasting or drilling in lines. To facilitate even distribution seeds are mixed with fine sand. Seeds can be sown on flat bed at loser spacing of 15-25 cm or on both sides of ridge, while sowing soil should have sufficient moisture. After sowing, give light irrigation with due to care to avoid flooding of seeds. Follow shallow sowing for better seed germination. Seed soaking in water for 12-24 shallow before sowing gives good germination. Follow sowing at 15 X 15 cm distance in flat bed. In case of ridges and furrow layout 45 X 15 cm spacing is kept. On an average 6 -8 kg seed is required for a hectare.
Manures and Fertilizer:
30 to 50 cartload has a fairly extensive and widely drenched root system. Carrot can absorb water from deeper layer. Carrot grows on well retentive of soil moisture needs less water. It needs frequent irrigation during germination and vegetative growth which gives more yield. Irrigation frequency should be reduced on month before the due date of harvesting. Irrigation is almost stopped 15 – 20 days before harvesting which helps increasing sweetness. Excessive irrigation induces adventitious roots can carrot which impact root quality.
Prompt weeding in early period of one half month after sowing is essential as the cross sown closely. Later on it is difficult to weed. In this regard clean cultivation before sowing is important. Weed competition causes heavy loss of top and impair root quality. Manual weeding not only control not only controls the weeds but improves aeration resolution in better root growth. Earthling up is also practiced which control the weeds and also covers the exposed roots to prevent discoloration of roots.
Harvesting and Yield:
Harvesting of carrots at proper stage of maturity is essential to fetch good price in the market. Delay in harvesting deteriorates the quality of the roots and becomes unfit for consumption. Every variety has certain period for harvesting. Delay in harvesting results in splitting of roots. Formation of adventitious roots, increase in dry matter sucrose, carotene and bolting.
Harvesting is done manually. Give light irrigation before harvesting to facilitate easy pulling of roots without damage. In heavy soil, roots are removed from soil by digging. After harvesting roots are washed, cleaned, graded and tied in bunches. On an average tropical carrot up to 150- 250 quintals/ hectare.