Among the less simple vegetables to grow we can certainly mention carrots, because they sometimes remain small, badly shaped and therefore very different from those that we buy, even if they have a very good taste.
Those who have tried to plant them without success often attribute the failure to loose soil, but another very common mistake is neglecting to thin the seedlings. Carrots, in fact, without this fundamental intervention, become very thick and do not have enough space to properly develop the root, which even in organic cultivation can reach considerable dimensions. Of course, you can sow the seeds sparingly, but often this is not enough.
However, even when trying to cultivate carrots with the greatest possible care, it may happen that the harvest does not reach the expected result due to other inconveniences, such as diseases or pests, which it is good to d learn to detect in time. Next, the possible pathologies of the plant are considered, you can also read what are the most harmful insects.
Main problems and organic remedies
bad carrot wine
General forms of prevention, always to be kept in mind when growing carrots, are:
- Respect of rotations which requires, as difficult as it may be in practice, that neither carrots nor the other umbrellas (celery, parsley and fennel) return to the same plot for at least 3 growing cycles.
- correct watering which moisten the soil but not the aerial part of the carrot plants.
- balanced fertilization without excess and avoiding the distribution of fertilizers or unripe manure, which in contact with the growing plants could make them sick and rot.
Major problems and organic remedies
After having applied these precautions, it is good to see in particular which are the most frequent diseases in carrots, in order to be able to recognize them and perhaps prevent them, or solve them in the most ecological way possible.
Bad Carrot Wine
Bad wine disease, of a cryptogamic nature, appears mainly in soils converted to orchards after having been in grassland for a long time, but in general it can also occur in loose soils rich in organic matter.
The roots of the carrots (primary root) then appear covered with the purple mass of the fungus, dotted with spheroidal globules, responsible for the spread of the disease. In practice, the taproot rots and is inedible. The disease is prevented by rotations and soils that have grown affected carrot crops should be treated with an antagonistic fungus of the genus Thricoderma.
In this case, the fungus creates a white cotton mycelium with numerous black dots (the fungus sclerotia) on the primary root, which rots. Symptoms of sclerotinia can be seen at harvest time or later, in the refrigerator or in storage.
The disease is more common in heavy soils which tend to stagnate water, and if this is the state of the crop, it is very important to mix a little sand into the soil where the carrots are going to be planted, taking care which also serves to ensure proper development of the primary root. The problem is that the sclerotia are small organs with which the fungus is able to maintain itself for years in the soil, so it is essential to eradicate the affected plants at the first symptoms and treat them with products based on the Thricoderma fungus.
This pathology also affects other Umbelliferae, such as fennel, and manifests itself by small brown necrotic spots surrounded by a yellowish halo. Alternaria spots, with the course of the disease, converge, and vegetation in the dry complex. If the disease also affects the primary roots, rot spots can be noticed on them.
In professional organic crops, it is wise to treat with a copper product as soon as the first symptoms appear, but never exceeding the doses but respecting the indications on the packaging of the purchased product.
Powdery mildew, or powdery mildew, is a recurrent problem in various vegetables, in carrots it is caused by a fungus (Erysiphe umbrelliferarum) which also attacks other umbrellas. Normally, the pathology appears at the end of summer and is favored by hot-humid weather. The affected leaves turn yellow and eventually dry out, and you can also notice many black balls, which are the organs of propagation of the fungus.
Treatments based on sodium bicarbonate or sulfur can be used against white evil, of which there are various formulations, so it is necessary to read the labels of the chosen product carefully to make careful and effective use of it.
Virus diseases of carrots include leaf blush virus, a disease that also affects parsley and causes tissues to first yellow and then redden, starting at the edge of the leaves. It is a classic viral disease transmitted by an aphid, so the defense of plants against aphids is always important and can be done by ecological means.
Another virus that can appear is the Giignite phytoplasma, but fortunately it affects few plants, also manifesting itself at the root level, with reduced development contours.
When the roots of the carrot split, the phenomenon is due to a water imbalance, that is to say to a sudden provision of water in the soil preceded by a dry period. The outer tissues of the primary root have a faster growth rate than the inner tissues and hence a stretch is created which results in longitudinal splits.
The problem is that this physiopathy, a term designating an alteration of a non-parasitic nature, can cause the invasion of colonies of aphids which insinuate themselves into the crack. To avoid this, it is important that the irrigation water is distributed evenly, without excesses or deficiencies.