Growing carrots in dry conditions is possible with good soil preparation and positioning. Vegetable gardening in arid areas is challenging but there are a few steps that can be taken to improve our chance of success.
Carrots can be grown all year round and planted every two weeks for continuous crops. Enabling water to get to the roots and retaining that moisture is key to growing carrots successfully.
Tools and Materials Needed
- Carrot Seeds (Paid link)
- Compost or Aged Manure
- Seed Raising Mix
- Liquid Fertilizer
- Trowel – This garden tool set comes in handy. You can find it at Amazon. (Paid link)
Time needed: 30 minutes.
How to Grow Carrots in Dry Conditions
During the warmer months choose a position that is in the shade or in a shade house with 50% shade cloth.
- Soil Preparation
Add compost or aged manure to the soil digging down to a depth of about 20cm (8 inches). It is best to add the manure a few weeks before planting.
If you have sandy soils that don’t retain moisture consider including water crystals to the soil. These will expand when watered then slowly release that water keeping the soil moist.
- Dig the Rows
Make rows 30cm (12 inch) apart. Build the soil up into a long mound then flatten the top using the trowel. This wouldn’t normally be necessary but I find during drought conditions this helps to get the water to the roots.
- Plant the Carrot Seed
Sprinkle the seed along the middle of the top of the mound then sprinkle seed raising mix over the top of the seed. The carrot seed should be planted at a depth of 5mm (1/4 inch).
Water well with a mist spray then keep moist until the seedlings emerge.
- Thin Out Seedlings and Mulch
Thin out to 10cm (4inch) apart then mulch well. Sugar cane mulch or straw are both good for vegetable gardens as they break down easily and improve the condition of the soil over time.
Apply liquid fertiliser every two weeks and water regularly for best results.
Working out when to harvest your carrots is easy, just look at the base of the plant. If the top of the carrot looks large enough to eat water the plant well then grab the foliage and move the carrot back and forth to loosen it.
Pull the carrot straight up. If it doesn’t come out easily you may need to insert your trowel beside the carrot then push straight down so it doesn’t touch the carrot. Angle the trowel towards the root then gently pry it up and out of the ground.
If the carrots are planted during the summer and in hot dry conditions you may find they will have large tops then taper down to a point like the ones in these photos. They still taste good but it is worth considering putting off planting until the autumn.
Consider creating raised garden beds for growing root vegetables especially if you have poor soils. The sides can be made from old iron or wood then painted for an attractive look.
The carrots you grow yourself may not look as beautiful and straight as those you get from the store but freshly harvested carrots will melt in your mouth. Try steaming or boiling small carrots whole.
Save money by letting one of the healthiest plants flower then go to seed. One carrot plant will produce hundreds of seeds. See this guide to Saving Carrot Seeds for more information.
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