Carrot (Daucus carot L.) is a crop primarily grown for its fleshy root which is used as vegetable. Its root is rich in carotene, a precursor of Vitamin A. It also contains appreciable amounts of thiamine, riboflavin and sugar.
Carrot is grown preferably in elevated areas because it requires low temperature for root development. Carrot grows well and produces high quality root in areas with temperature range of 15.6oC to 18.3oC. In higher temperature, it produces long, slender roots with pale color.
Carrot prefers sandy loam to clay loam which is friable and has good drainage. It does not grow well on highly acidic soil. It yields extremely low at pH 5.2 and optimum at a pH range of 6.0 to 6.8. Avoid stony and heavy soils as these will promote incidence of root defects.
Carrot comes in different colors- white, yellow, orange, purple, and violet. Several hundred varieties exist, but there are four main types:
* Imperator- has long roots (23- 25 cm), small shoulders, and tapered tip;
* Nantes- has medium length roots (15 cm), uniform diameter and blunt tip;
* Danvers- is large, with medium length roots (18 cm), a processing type used for dicing and slicing; and
* Royal Chantenay- is short (13 cm), with large shoulders and usually a large, distinctly colored core.
Practically, all varieties in the Philippines are of the Chantenay type. Open pollinated and hybrid varieties are available commercially.
Land Preparation. Deeply plow the soil, then harrow and level the surface for seedbed preparation. Prepare raised seedbed of 50 to 100 cm wide. Carrot has an average root-zone depth of 90 cm and requires a well pulverized soil to allow better root penetration.
Fertilization. In the absence of soil analysis, the general fertilizer recommendation for carrot is 150-140 kg NPK per hectare. Basal application of compete fertilizer (14-14-14) is done on the last harrowing at a rate of 11 bags per hectare. Side dress 2 bags urea (40-0-0) and 2 bags muriate of potash (0-60-0) at 50-60 days after sowing.
Sowing. In areas with pronounced wet and dry season, planting time is from September to February. Drill seeds at about 1 cm depth spaced at 5 cm between hills and 20 cm between rows. Cover the seeds with fine soil.
Irrigation. Carrot requires 15-35 mm water per weeks during the growing season. Proper watering is essential for root development. When watering, make sure that the soils is soaked thoroughly. Carrot is sensitive to moisture during root enlargement period. Continuous excessive soil moisture during this stage results in undesirable short thick tuber with low carotene content and poor color and will cause the roots to crack.
Cultivation and weeding. For the first few days, carrots grows slowly and cannot successfully compete with weeds. To suppress weeds and keep the soil surface loose, shallow cultivation is recommended as soon as the first true leaves appear. Shallow cultivation is advised to avoid root injury.
Mulching. When orange crowns start to appear at the soil level as the plants mature mulch with compost. This will protect the roots from sunlight exposure which will turn them green.
Pest and disease management. Major pests of carrots are lygus bug, rust fly, cutworms and mites. Lygus bug creates damage by sucking on the umbel while rust fly burrows channel at the root tip then through the entire root. These can be controlled by spraying appropriate pesticides following manufacturer’s recommendation.
Major diseases of carrots are caused by fungi. These diseases include soft rot which affects the roots; leaf blight which appears as irregular brown spots on the leaves and streaks on the stems; and downy mildew which is manifested by yellowing of leaves and white powdery molds. These diseases can be treated with recommended fungicides.
Harvesting. Carrot matures in 65 to 110 days after planting. Uproot the plant and cut the leaves up to 2 centimeters from the base of the roots. Washing is not recommended until produce reaches the market.
Post-harvest Handling. Cut the leaves 5-8 cm from the shoulder. Wash the roots and air dry. Sort and classify according to size and appearance. Roots that are cracked, deformed, and forked are considered non-marketable, but can still be cooked or processed.
Packing. Pack the marketable roots in bamboo baskets, plastic crates, plastic sacks, or polyethylene bags.
Marketing. Carrot is sold either on a wholesale, contract, auction, or consignment basis. In Benguet, carrot is usually sold unsorted and unwashed as buhos or palaspas by growers.
Source: PCCARD, da.gov.ph
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