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Article: Carrots

Created on: Monday, June 09, 2003

Carrots are a staple in every kitchen and are used in a variety of ways both raw and cooked. With the right combination of soil and temperature, carrots can be easy to grow, harvest and store. Carrots prefer cool temperatures, so they can be planted in early spring. Soil should be deep, rich, loosely packed, well drained and free of rocks so roots grow long and straight. Raised beds are ideal for growing carrots, but avoid over-manuring as this can cause splitting of the roots. There are many varieties of carrots, from long tapers to baby-finger size to round so try some of the several types to prolong the harvest. Scatter seed randomly over prepared soil or sow in rows1/4 inch deep and 4 to 5 inches apart. Since carrot seed is slow to germinate, cover seeds with fine soil to hold water until sprouting occurs. Carrot seed cannot afford to dry out while germinating. Keep soil weed-free and evenly moist all season, and thin to two inches apart. Be aware of the carrot rust fly and treat as needed to control this pest. Loosen the soil around roots and pull to harvest. Remove the tops and store carrots in the refrigerator in plastic bags, or in a dry, dark root cellar. Carrots are rich in Beta-Carotene or Vitamin A, and just one carrot per day provides all the reccommended daily allowance of Vitamin A. Today's carrots are bred for such a feature and contain 50% or more additional Vitamin A than older species. Related to parsley and fennel, this native of Afghanistan has come a long way over the centuries to providde a crisp, sweet and healthy taste sensation. And, yes, carrots are good for your eyesight!

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