Common problems growing carrots
1. Carrots not sprouting - Don’t plant carrot seeds too deep. The tiny seeds should be just under the surface of the soil. Once you’ve sowed them make sure you water them regularly. The temperature is less important. Carrots will germinate in soil temperatures ranging from 40F to 85F. That is why they have a long growing season.
2. Too many seeds have sprouted - Carrots need their own space. Because the seeds are so small it’s easy to sow too many. This is why thinning is absolutely essential. Once the small sprouts are showing, thin them out so each carrot has 2” of room on the row to itself. This will allow the carrot to benefit from all that rich soil you prepared. After harvesting carrots, before you sow the next set of seeds, enrich the soil again with EM-1® or EM® Bokashi
3. Carrots too small and stunted - The most likely reason for small carrots is that the soil is too dense. Your soil needs to be loose and sandy, and packed with nutrients. Soil condition is key. Prepare the soil at the start of the season by adding compost and turning it over with a fork. You can make your own compost using the EM® Bokashi method. If the soil is heavy with clay, mic in some sand to loosen it up.
4. Carrots full of holes / carrot fly - Small holes in your carrots are usually caused by carrot flies. The smell of carrots attracts carrot root flies who lay their eggs in the soil near the carrots’ shoulders. The larvae feed on the roots and leave small holes behind. You can reduce the risk of carrot fly by sowing the seeds thinly. This avoids the need for too much thinning out. When you pinch the seedlings, it releases a smell which attracts the female flies. Another tactic is to cover your plants with a fine net or fleece. It’s usually the first crop of carrots which gets attacked. Later carrots, sown from June onwards, usually avoid carrot fly. You can also reduce the risk by water weekly with EM-1®. The Effective microorganisms in the soil act as protectors against pests and disease.
5. Carrots twisting or forking - Deformed carrots are usually to do with soil condition. If the soil has any sticks, stones or other foreign objects, the carrot root is forced to grow around them. This is what causes the wonky shapes. These carrots will taste just as good as their better-looking siblings. But they won’t score any prizes for beauty. To avoid this problem, remove anything solid from the soil when you are preparing it. The ideal soil has the same even consistency throughout, so your carrots don’t encounter any surprises when they are growing!
6. Cracking and splitting - The roots of a carrot tend to crack and split when they are watered unevenly. Carrots prefer regular watering but not to excess. The worst thing you can do is over-compensate for a dry spell by watering heavily. Maintain a steady level of moisture by watering little and often. EM-1® helps with proper water infiltration and improves your plants tolerance to droughts or dry spells.
7.Green tops - Sometimes the shoulder of carrots (the bit which pokes above the ground) can turn green. This is because the carrot was exposed to too much sunlight. This is often because heavy rain has washed the soil away from the top of the carrots. Being exposed to sunlight causes the carrot to produce chlorophyll. When you spot any green shoulders it’s a sign that the carrot is ready to be harvested. You can eat the green section of a carrot quite safely, but you might prefer to just chop it off and use the orange part instead.