Carrots are a crop I love to grow on my allotment. The sweetness you get from homegrown carrots beats anything you can bring home from the supermarket.
Thankfully, they are a tough crop, and often have no issues.
But that does not mean problems can’t arise; if they do, you need to know how to deal with them.
The MAJOR problem with homegrown carrots is forked roots. Both the issue and solution here are very simple.
The issue is that your carrot’s root probably grew into something hard, usually a stone, and then damaged the root tip.
When the root tip is damaged, the carrot forks and starts growing in another direction.
As I said, the solution is simple, improve your soil.
You either need to remove all stones and make the soil a nice light mix over time or grow them out of the ground.
Raised beds are a great way of getting perfect soil to grow your carrots, or you can grow them in containers. Hardcore growers trying to get perfect straight roots even grow them in sandboxes.
Carrot Root Fly
This is the major pest carrots suffer from and the one real issue you usually see with this crop.
What happens is that the flies lay their eggs in the soil around carrots.
The maggots that hatch from these eggs then start eating your carrot roots which can cause severe damage.
An early warning sign is red foliage, not just red tips, as this can be caused by other things. But if a large part of the leaves turns red, then this is often a sign that your roots are being attacked.
When they get larger, they start boring into the heart of the root and destroy your crop.
The easiest way to protect carrots from root flies is to use an insect mesh around the plants, if the flies can’t get near, they can’t lay their eggs.
You don’t need to go that far, though. Often just a barrier around the carrots is enough.
This is because carrot flies fly very close to the ground, seeking out carrots by scent. If they encounter a barrier, they often fly up and away from the carrots.
They are not good at going straight down, so a barrier is often enough to prevent them from finding your carrots.
You also want to avoid thinning carrots if possible. This is because by removing them from the soil you release a lot of carrot scent which can attract the flies.
If you do thin carrots, then don’t leave the thinned carrots lying around, get rid of them straight away.
Red Tipped Foliage
If you notice that the tips of the leaves on your carrots have started turning red, this is often a sign of stress caused by a lack of water.
It can also be caused by unseasonably cold weather, so if we have a cold snap, that may be the more likely cause.
This is often nothing to worry about and will start to sort itself out once you either give them some water or the weather starts to improve, depending on the original cause.
Violet Root Rot
This is a fungal disease that can affect carrots. Looks out for yellow stunted foliage.
The roots will have strange violet growths on them, hence the same.
this fungus can remain in your soil for a long time so don’t grow carrots in the same space again. Other crops such as asparagus can also be affected.
Remove the plants and dispose of them, not in your compost heap, as you don’t want to risk spreading the fungus.
Motley Dwarf Disease
This can be caused by a few different viruses so it is hard to pinpoint the exact cause. Look out for red foliage which will be stunted, curled and also often have a yellow banding.
If this is your issue then the roots won’t develop so remove and dispose of the affected plants.