The carrot is hardy and may be planted as soon as the ground is in fit condition to be properly prepared for seeding. It is a biennial plant, but grown as an annual. When grown as a market-garden or truck crop, this early seeding is essential to maximum returns. The best soil for carrots is a medium to light loam, rich, friable and comparatively free from weeds. As the seed is slow to germinate, it is a good plan to sow some quick-germinating seed with the carrot seed so that the rows may be noticed in time to keep them ahead of weed growth. Lettuce serves well for this purpose. When the carrots are thinned, this lettuce is pulled out. The carrot seed is best sown in rows 12 to 15 inches apart, using enough seed to produce a plant every inch or two along the row. When the carrots are 3 to 5 inches high, they should be thinned to stand 3 inches apart in the row. The only further culture necessary is frequent tillage to conserve soil-moisture and to prevent weed growth. The early crop should be ready to pull and bunch for sale seventy-five days after sowing. Early carrots are an important crop on the market-garden and truck-farm. They are pulled as soon as they have attained sufficient size and tied into bunches of three, six or seven roots, according to the size of the roots and the market demands. The earlier the crop and the more active the demand, the smaller the roots which may be salable. A later sowing is made for the main or winter crop or for livestock. This may be from four to six weeks after the first sowing. The crop is handled in the same manner as the early crop except that it is allowed to continue growth as long as the weather is suitable. It is then pulled, the tops cut from the roots and the roots placed in frost-proof storage for winter sale.
The carrot may be successfully forced under glass and is grown in this way to a limited extent. The small early varieties are used, such as French Forcing. Early Parisian, Early Scarlet Horn and Golden Ball. These will usually be grown as a catch-crop between tomatoes or cucumbers. When grown in this way, the carrot is one of the most delicious of all vegetables, and deserves much wider popularity. See Forcing.
The field cultivation of carrots for live-stock differs little from the garden or horticultural treatment except that earliness is not desired, and the longer-rooted later maturing kinds are mostly used; and less intensive cultivation is employed.
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