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Carrot Production

by Kenya Farmers

Carrots are one of the most widely used and enjoyed vegetables in the world, partly because they grow relatively easily and are very versatile in a number of dishes and cultural menus. If you want to grow long, straight, slender carrots, it is necessary to provide soft, fertile, well-drained soil for them to stretch their root downward. It is also important to thin carrot seedlings to the proper spacing, as over-crowding will deform your carrots!

Carrot Varieties

Samba, Sunrise F1, Nantes, Chanteny, Amsterdam,Minicolor, Super koruda, Napolitana F1.

Ecological requirements

Altitude: 700m above sea level

Rainfall: 450-600mm during the growing period

Soils: Well drained, deep, fertile sandy loam or clay loam with pH 5.5-7.0

Temperature:15-220C

Land preparation

Plough the land deeply (at least 30cm) during the dry spell, remove all perennial weeds. Harrow the seedbed to a fine tilth.

Planting

Direct seeding 30cm by drill, 1-2cm deep depending on the soil type and moisture content. Thin the plants 4 weeks after germination leaving plants at 7.5-10cm apart.

Fertilizer application

Apply 220kg of TSP or DSP per hectare during planting. Top-dress with 200kg CAN per hectare when the crop attains 10cm height.

NB: Grow carrots under already fertile soil as manure application at times leads to forking, forked carrots are termed of low quality in the markets. Its advisable to grow the crop under rotation program and it responds well.

Pest management

Root knot nematodes: Soil drench with marshal, Nematechs or trichotech

Aster leaf-hopper: Spray with appropriate insecticide eg pyrethroids, confidor etc

Carrot fly: Carry out timely weeding, intercrop with onions or garlic, spray appropriate insecticide

See also  Pest Challenges in Passion Fruit Production

Carrot beetle:Use suitable insecticide eg confidor

Disease management

Carrot soft rot: Practice crop rotation, spray with fungicides eg ridomil

Leaf blight: Spray using suitable fungicide eg melody duo

Powdery mildew: Ensure good hygiene, spray during wet weather using ridomil, score or any other suitable fungicide, spraying should be weather dependent as most fungal diseases are prevalent during wet weather.

Damping off: Use certified seeds and avoid over watering of the field

Bacterial soft rot: Practice good field hygiene and crop rotation

Harvesting

Carrot mature in 3-4 months. Lift the roots and leaves cut at the base. Harvesting stage depend on the intended use, for fresh markets harvest when the shoulder diameter is 2-3cm and for processing varieties harvesting is done when the shoulder with is 3.8 and above. Yield is approximately 20 tons per hectare.

 Post-harvest handling

Carry out sorting and grading. Separate forked carrots from the others, grade according to root size in terms of girth, that is roots with shoulder diameter of 2cm, 3cm and 3.8 above. Pack carrots in wooden crates carefully to avoid breakages and unnecessary bruising which may lead to rotting. 

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