Table of contents:
- Botanical characteristics of carrots and conditions for its cultivation
- Developmental biology and the relationship of carrots to environmental conditions
- Growing carrots
Video: Botanical Characteristics And Varieties Of Carrots
Botanical characteristics of carrots and conditions for its cultivation
Along with potatoes and cabbage, carrots are one of the most common everyday foods today. It is one of the main vegetable crops.
Carrots are considered a plant familiar to man since ancient times. The first information about carrots as a cultivated plant dates back to 2000-1000. BC e. In the literature there are references to carrot seeds found in pile buildings for 2-3 millennia BC. e.
This speaks of the cultivation of carrots since prehistoric times. The homeland of modern cultural forms of carrots are: Central Asia, from where yellow and purple carrots came to us, and then through South-West Asia (Iraq, Syria, Turkey) in the 11th century, it came to the Mediterranean coast, to Spain, from where it later spread to west and east around the world.
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In Russia, the Krivichi already knew carrots in the 6th-9th centuries, then there was a custom to bring it as a gift to the deceased and put it in a boat, which was then burned together with the deceased. They began to grow it in the XIV-XVI centuries, about which there is reliable evidence. Carrot pies were served on holidays.
The main thing about carrots is their dietary properties. Man has been eating carrots for at least one thousand years. Carrot dishes are recognized by culinary experts from all over the world, especially in dietary and baby food. Not only is it tasty, it is extremely easily absorbed by the body. Therefore, it is recommended for both adults and children, sick and healthy.
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Developmental biology and the relationship of carrots to environmental conditions
Botanical characteristics of carrots
Carrots (Daucus carota L.) belong to the celery family. Cultivated carrot plants usually have a two-year development cycle. However, when grown under unusual conditions, some plants sometimes start flowering in the first year of life, often without the formation of root crops.
The root system of carrots is pivotal, it grows quickly and develops very well. The roots extend to a depth of 1.5-2 meters, with the bulk of the roots located at a depth of about 60 cm. The root is fusiform, fleshy thickened in the upper part, whitish in wild forms, in cultivars of various shapes and colors. Carrot root crops are formed due to the deposition of reserve nutrients and thickening of the main taproot, from which a developed suction root system departs.
The mass of root crops, depending on the variety, is from 30 to 200 g or more. In shape, carrot roots are round, oval, conical, cylindrical, fusiform. The length of the root crops is from 3 to 30 cm. In the section of root crops, two very thickened layers can be seen: the outer layer is the bark covered with skin and the inner layer is the core (wood). The outer layer of table carrots has a delicate, tasty pulp. European carrot varieties have predominantly red-orange roots, while Asian varieties have yellow to purple and even black roots. The inner layer is less intensely colored and has a coarser texture.
As a result of long-term selection, forms with intensely colored wood, hardly distinguishable in color and taste from bark (like Nantes), were selected from table varieties. The core diameter of the best carrot varieties does not exceed 30-40% of the root crop thickness. The root vegetable of carrots has a very thin skin, easily permeable to water. In dry conditions without irrigation, carrot plants wilt very quickly and become susceptible to fungal diseases. With abundant precipitation after a drought, the wood of carrot root crops thickens, the bark cracks.
The leaves of the plant of the first year of life are collected in an outlet. They are almost triangular in outline, compound-pinnate, twice or four times dissected, on long petioles, pubescent or glabrous to varying degrees. Less often, the lower part of the leaf blade is also pubescent. The leaves of the plant are in the second year of life on short petioles, expanded at the stem. They are able to withstand drought.
Inflorescences are multi-rayed, compound umbrellas, rays of different lengths, during flowering the umbrellas are convex or flat, later compressed. Flowers are bisexual, sometimes staminate. Petals obovate, white, cream, pink, less often purple. In marginal flowers, the outer petals are much larger than the inner ones.
Fruits are two-seed, often oval or oblong, slightly compressed from the back, with two rows of sharp setae on the main ribs and subulate spines on the secondary ones. The diversity of seeds is one of the main reasons for the uneven germination and development of plants. The most valuable are seeds collected from central umbrellas. To facilitate sowing, they are cleared of thorns by threshing and sold as such.
The fruit shell contains a lot of oil, which quickly goes rancid (deteriorates), which is why the germination of the seed decreases within 1-2 years of storage. The oil also hinders the penetration of water into the seeds, which delays their swelling and germination. At elevated temperatures, essential oils begin to evaporate, and the seeds swell and germinate faster.
The timing of the emergence of seedlings depends both on the quality of the seeds, their preparation for sowing, the methods of sowing and the depth of their seeding, and on temperature conditions. Carrot seedlings develop very slowly. The first true leaf is formed 10-15 days after germination. Under favorable conditions, thickening of root crops begins only 40-60 days after sowing. The earliest varieties of carrots reach a thickness of 1-1.5 cm and can be used for food as a bunch product only 50-70 days after germination.
It should be noted that cultivated carrots are easily crossed with wild ones. The northern border of the distribution of wild carrots in Russia passes through Veliky Novgorod, Kazan.
Requirements for growing conditions for carrots
Attitude towards warmth. Carrots are cold-resistant plants. The minimum temperature for seed germination is + 3 … + 6 ° С, shoots appear fastest at + 18 … + 30 ° С. At a temperature of + 8 ° C, the germination period lasts 25-41 days, and at + 25 ° C it is reduced to 6-11 days. Seedlings of carrots can withstand frosts down to -4 … -5 ° С, but die when the temperature drops to -6 ° С for a long time. Under winter crops, well-hardened carrot shoots can also tolerate stronger frosts. Leaves of vegetative plants freeze at -8 ° C, and root crops cannot tolerate prolonged frosts below -3 … -4 ° C. Roots removed from the soil die at -0.7 … -0.8 ° C.
The optimum temperature for growth and development and for the formation of root crops ranges from + 18 … + 20 ° С, and for the accumulation of carotene + 15 … + 21 ° С. In carrots, the root crop grows until late autumn, when the temperature no longer exceeds + 8 … + 10 ° С. Under the influence of low positive temperatures, the color of the root crop becomes lighter.
At high temperatures, the roots become coarse and deformed, especially if it is accompanied by a decrease in soil moisture.
Attitude towards light. Carrots are demanding on light and react extremely negatively to shading. A high yield of root crops and carrot seeds can only be obtained with good lighting of the plants. When crops thicken, especially in the first phases of development, the illumination of plants decreases, which in turn causes stretching of the plants, ultimately slows down the flow of the crop, reduces its size and quality of products, significantly impairing its vitamin value.
The length of the day and the intensity of solar radiation affect the growth of carrots and the accumulation of nutrients in them. A long day increases the average weight of root crops. The St. Petersburg White Nights, during which the cultivation of plants takes place on an almost continuous day, cause a more intensive increase in production.
The growth of leaves and root crops in carrots is more intense under the influence of orange-red rays.
Relation to moisture. Carrots are relatively drought-resistant. Plants have a powerful root system that extends to a depth of 2-2.5 m and a width of 1-1.5 m, which allows them to use moisture from the lower horizons and withstand soil drought. The shape of the leaves, the presence of essential oils in them, as well as small villi protect the carrots from excessive evaporation of moisture. It has the smallest need among root crops in the total amount of water for the formation of the crop.
However, in dry periods longer than 20 days, carrots need irrigation. It should be remembered that carrot seeds swell slowly due to their high content of various oils. Therefore, it is very demanding on a sufficient amount of moisture in the soil during the period of seed germination and in the first phases of growth. Carrots respond positively to irrigation and, with timely watering, give a significant increase in yield.
Carrots give high and stable yields with uniform soil moisture throughout the entire cultivation period. With moderate and constant soil moisture during the entire growing season, not only an increase in yield is observed, but also an improvement in product quality. A sharp transition from dryness to soil moisture causes intensive growth of root crops from the inside, which leads to a decrease in their quality.
During the entire growing season, carrots do not tolerate even a short-term waterlogging of the soil, since under these conditions the growth and development of plants slows down, root crops rot. The groundwater level when growing carrots should be no closer than 60-80 cm from the soil surface. An increase in the level above 60 cm causes a decrease in yield.
The need for soil nutrition. Carrots are demanding on soil conditions. For the normal development of root crops, it needs soils with a deep arable layer. It grows well on fairly loose, sandy loam or light loamy fertile soil with a high humus content and a good air-gas regime. Heavy loamy and clayey soils are not suitable for growing carrots. They swim hard, forming a soil crust that prevents seeds from germinating.
The emergence of seedlings is delayed, they are sparse, weak. Root crops grown on such soils branch strongly, become ugly, and during storage they are affected by white and gray rot. The thing is that long roots, increasing their diameter, compact the soil. The volume of soil capillaries decreases by 10-15%. Only loose soil can be compacted. That is why all root crops grow well on well-drained, cultivated peatlands and silty soils of river valleys with a permeable subsoil, as well as on light mineral soils.
On heavy clayey, acidic and structureless soils with a low humus content, they do not reach normal size and acquire an irregular shape. When grown on dense soil, lenticels develop on carrots, which, growing, give them an ugly appearance, the surface of root crops becomes uneven and rough, and the yield of marketable products decreases. On poorly cultivated soils with a small arable layer, as well as on soils abundantly fertilized with fresh straw manure, long carrot roots acquire an ugly shape and even branch.
Root branching is also observed when the main root is injured. Therefore, it is not recommended to dive and transplant carrots and root parsley. The roots also branch when the plants are sparsely standing, but when the feeding areas are optimal for the variety, the lateral branches are mutually oppressed by the roots of neighboring plants. Ugly root vegetables often grow in poorly prepared soil. In this case, the roots often "stick out of the soil", resulting in green heads in carrots.
The soil should be neutral or slightly acidic (pH 5.5-7.0). On strongly acidic soils, the yield drops sharply.
Carrots take one of the first places after cabbage for the removal of nutrients. At the same time, its seedlings do not tolerate an increased concentration of soil solution. Nutrients are used by the plant unevenly during the growing season. The greatest amount of them is absorbed by carrots in the second half of cultivation.
Carrots consume little nitrogen. With its lack, the growth of leaves slows down, they turn yellow and die off. With excess nitrogen nutrition, which is observed in floodplain and peat-humus areas, rapid growth of leaves and slow formation of root crops occurs, sugar content decreases, their taste and marketability and keeping quality deteriorate during storage.
Phosphorus is especially needed for young plants. It also helps to increase the sugar content of root crops. With its lack, the leaves become reddish.
Potassium increases the tenderness of the tissues of root crops, promotes better filling of seeds. With its lack, the air supply regime is violated. The leaves turn speckled yellow. It is noticed that with a lack of potassium in the soil, the resistance of plants to diseases decreases. High yields of carrots are obtained with increased doses of potash fertilizers with the addition of boric and manganese micronutrients. At the same time, the plant's resistance to phomosis disease increases.
Carrots should be grown with a moderate phosphorus-nitrogen and abundant potassium diet. It is sensitive to the concentration of the soil solution, which in the seedling phase should not be higher than 0.02%, for adult plants - 0.025%.
For normal growth, carrots need a small amount of iron, sulfur, manganese and other trace elements.
In our country, 76 varieties and hybrids of carrots are recommended for cultivation in various regions, including 38 of them of foreign origin. Of greatest interest to amateur vegetable growers are domestic varieties and hybrids of medium ripening: Altair F1, Berlikum royal, Vitaminnaya 6, Volzhskaya 30, Gribovchanin F1, Emperor, Zabava F1, Callisto F1, Karlena, Queen of Autumn, Royal, Red giant, Leander, Losinoostrovskaya 13, Mars F1, Moscow winter A 515, Nantes 4, Nantes, NIIOH 336, Nuance, News F1, Autumn king, Rogneda, Typhoon, Topaz, Touchon, Feya, Chance, Shantane 2461, Shantane Red Core, Jaguar F1 and so on Further; early ripening varieties: Artek, Blues, Color, Canning, Parisian carotel.
They are distinguished by a high content of carotene, increased resistance to diseases and pests, high productivity, good keeping quality of root crops during winter storage. In recent years, vegetable growers have received recognition for new varieties and hybrids of foreign selection: early maturing - Buror F1, Nantes 2 Tito, Nantes 3 Type Top F1, Napoli F1, Rex; mid-season - Bangor F1, Berski F1, Bramen F1, Boltex, Vita Longa, Kazan F1, Calgary F1, Canada F1, Magno F1, Monanta, Nandrin F1, Napa F1, Narbonne F1, Parmex F1, Samson, Flakki 2 Trophy, Forto, Chanson and late ripening - Vita longa, Nevis F1, Nerac, Flacoro. They are characterized by high productivity, friendly formation of root crops, their evenness, and high taste.
Carrots, being a valuable predecessor for other vegetable crops, are themselves unpretentious to their predecessor. It is grown in the second or third year after the introduction of fresh manure. It is better to place it after legumes, early cabbage, early potatoes, cucumber, tomato, onion. In the absence of specific diseases, it can be sown again within two years. Do not do podzimny sowing in areas where water accumulates. The site should be with light, non-floating soils, free of weed seeds. This is of particular importance for carrots, as they are a poor competitor to weeds. After all, its seedlings in field conditions, seedlings appear not earlier than 15-20 days after sowing.