The question of when to remove carrots from the garden is one of the most controversial: some gardeners recommend doing it as soon as possible, barely root crops ripen and gain weight, others, on the contrary, believe that the carrot harvest should be late, only so the vegetable is fed all beneficial trace elements.
Who is right, in what time the carrots should be harvested, and also how to plant the root crop for storage - this will be an article.
When digging carrots
Usually gardeners harvest carrots, focusing on the appearance of the roots and their size. In principle, this is the right approach, because the carrot filled with a rich orange color and large size is definitely ripe and ready for digging.
But, on the other hand, there are situations when an external assessment may be unreliable. Calculate the time when digging carrots, you need to take into account several factors, such as:
- Root varieties.
- The rate of maturation.
- The purpose of the vegetable (for fresh consumption, for processing, for winter storage or for sale).
- The condition of the aboveground and underground parts of the plant.
- Weather conditions in a particular area.
Collect carrots of different varieties
The timing of harvesting carrots is largely dependent on the variety of this root. This is not surprising, because outwardly ripe carrots of different varieties may look completely different.
Today, there are seeds of hundreds of carrots for sale, and all the fruits are different from each other. Therefore, before you dig a carrot, you need to look at a bag of seeds to understand what a ripe root vegetable should look like. It would also be nice to taste the vegetable, because ripe carrots have a distinctly pronounced flavor, crispy flesh and a pleasant vegetable aroma.
Attention! The so-called bundle varieties of carrots are usually taken away when the diameter of the root crops reaches 1 cm. As a rule, such a vegetable is not cut tops, or not completely cut, leaving 2-3 cm of green.
Regardless of the variety, carrots need to be removed no earlier than the lower leaves start to turn yellow.
Harvesting carrots early ripening
As is known, early ripe carrot varieties are grown not for storage, but for sale as the first young vegetables, for the preparation of salads, vitamin cocktails and juices.
Early ripe carrots are very juicy and tasty, but they are poorly stored, therefore, most often, these roots are pulled out gradually - as needed. It is necessary to pull up carrots so that at the same time thin out ranks, those, providing food to the next root crops.
It is not necessary to leave holes in the ground from the torn carrots, these holes must be covered with earth and tamped, otherwise infections and carrot fly will penetrate to the root crops through them.Tip! Early varieties, as well as winter carrots should be fully harvested by mid-summer.
Mid-season varieties of orange root vegetables are also not suitable for long-term storage, but such a carrot is already well tolerated in transportation and may well maintain its presentation for several weeks, and even months.
About when to remove the average carrot, tell its appearance: the lower leaves of the tops will begin to dry, the roots themselves reach the optimum length and diameter for the variety, the color of the vegetable will become rich, and the taste will be pleasant.
Do not rush to harvest mid-season carrots, because then the vegetable does not gain enough weight and does not accumulate the right amount of nutrients and very useful carotene. But it is also dangerous to overdo this carrot, because in wet soil, roots can rot, and excessive dryness will quickly dry the tops and roots, and the vegetable will become sluggish and tasteless.
With late-ripening varieties, everything is somewhat simpler, as popular wisdom suggests, harvesting winter varieties of carrots should be completed by September 24 - Cornelius Day. After this date, practically throughout the territory of Russia, the real cold begins, nighttime temperatures can fall below zero, which is very dangerous for any root crops.
Although the carrot is considered to be a cold-resistant crop, its fruits do not need to be kept in the ground when the temperature drops to -3 degrees, this leads to rotting of root crops and their infection with various infections - the immunity of the frozen carrots is significantly reduced.
Too early harvesting of carrots is also fraught with problems. This vegetable does not like sudden changes in temperature, so if you pull out the root crop from the still warm soil and place the crop in a cold cellar, nothing good will come of it - at best the carrots will become sluggish, and at worst - will become infected with gray mold.
Tip! It is necessary to take into account the ripening time indicated on the bag of carrot seeds.
Usually middle-ripening varieties ripen in 80-100 days, late carrots will need 110-120 days for full maturity - from these numbers and it is necessary to start in determining the date of harvest.
The fact that the carrot "sat up" in the garden, will tell these signs:
- the appearance on the roots of small roots, covering the vegetable along the entire length;
- full drying tops;
- cracking carrots;
- lethargy fruits;
- color fading;
- rotting or damage by pests, rodents.
And most importantly - the overexposed carrot will become tasteless, it may taste bitter or lose its peculiar flavor.
Such a harvest will not be able to be stored for a long time - the damaged root crops will not reach the spring.
When and how to collect carrots for winter storage
It is very difficult to grow any vegetable crop, but it is even more difficult to preserve root crops until the next spring, providing the family with vitamins and useful microelements.
As mentioned above, the most important thing is to determine the right time for harvesting. It is important to understand that only a well-ripened carrot is completely saturated with vitamins, receives a large dose of carotene, and is able to be stored for a long time.
Attention! It is noted that a large increase in mass of the roots is observed in the days of the autumn cooling. When the air temperature drops to 7-8 degrees, the carrot gains about 45% of its weight, and it is during this period that the root crop accumulates carotene.
Based on the foregoing, it is possible to state unequivocally that the autumn cold days are simply necessary for the harvest of carrots, it should not be harvested before the second half of September.
An exception can be made only in cases of weather anomalies: a sharp decrease in temperature, frost, heavy and prolonged rain. In such cases, the gardener tries to save at least part of his crop, there is no time for thinking about the vitamin composition of carrots.
To keep the carrot well, it must be properly collected. There are several recommendations about this:
- If the length of the roots is small, it is better to pull the carrots by hand. At the same time, the root crop is held near the base and pulled by the bottom of the tops. A ripe springy vegetable should easily get out of the ground. Difficulties may arise when the soil on the site is too dry and cracked.
- In such cases, as well as when the roots are long and large, it is better to use a pitchfork or a shovel. It is necessary to work with a tool carefully: stepping a few centimeters from the row, they simply dig in the ground. A fragile carrot will crack easily and can be cut with a sharp shovel, this should not be allowed.
- Do not leave a dug carrot uncircumcised. The opinion that root crops should be left with uncircumcised tops for several days, and left right on the beds, is fundamentally wrong. This can not be done for one reason - the tops will lose power and begin to draw moisture from the roots, thereby draining the carrots and making it tasteless. Subsequently, the crop will start to rot, it will be stored very badly.
- It is better to remove the tops immediately after digging up carrots and it should be done not with your hands, but with a sharp knife or scissors - so the cut will be neat, the risk of infection in the “wound” is minimal.
- Do not leave the "tails" - the tops of the carrots must be cut "at the root", that is, capturing 1-2 mm of the root. Only in this way will it be possible to cut dormant buds, and the carrot will not be able to start young processes as soon as it senses the spring.
Correctly remove the carrots - this is still half the battle, it must be prepared for storage. The harvested carrot is thoroughly cleaned of adhering soil and laid out in a single layer under a canopy. The place should be cool, dark and well ventilated. So, dried vegetables for several days.Attention! Chopped or broken carrots can not be stored, it is better to eat such root vegetables as food or process them.
The fact is that carrots are very badly tightened "wounds", they get an infection, and the vegetable rots, infecting the neighboring fruits.
Now you need to sort the carrots, remove the damaged, sluggish fruit. Crop laid out in boxes and left for a couple of days in a cold room. This is necessary so that the vegetable is “used” to the basement cold - carrots will evaporate excess moisture, it will not “sweat” after being placed in the cellar.
In the basement, boxes or boxes with root vegetables are not placed directly on the floor; you need to build a platform or place several bricks or bars under the container.Important! Harvest root crops can only be in dry weather, otherwise the carrots will rot.
Drawing conclusions, we can once again note the importance of determining the correct date for harvesting carrots. It is absolutely not permissible to harvest this root crop at random, whenever you want, because then the carrot will lose not only in mass and nutrition, the roots will be poorly stored, will begin to wither and rot.
When to collect carrots, each gardener must decide for himself. It is important to take into account all related factors, such as weather, variety, ripening time and the appearance of the fruit.