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DAUCUS carota

  • Planting

    1. Dig garden soil at least 6-8 inches deep
    2. Lightly amend heavy clay or sandy soils with organic matter
    3. Sow seed directly into garden soil, with large seed planted more deeply than small seed
    4. Or gently remove plants from containers, loosen potting soil and roots, and plant level with surrounding soil, spreading roots outward
    5. Fill around roots with lightly amended soil
    6. Water to settle soil around roots
    7. Water deeply
    8. Stake large vine-type vegetables such as tomatoes and beans to help them grow upward instead of sprawling on the ground

  • Watering

    • Vegetables are simply annual plants grown for food
    • Water vegetables as needed
    • Fast-growing or shallow-rooted vegetables such as tomatoes or onions require more frequent watering
    • When possible, water early in the morning to avoid leaf and fruit diseases
    • When possible, use "flood" irrigation, soaker hoses, or drip irrigation to water roots rather than overhead sprinkling which wets foliage and can spread diseases
    • Water slowly and deeply, not frequently
    • Mulches help protect rapid water loss during sunny or windy weather

  • Pruning

    1. Prune vegetable plants to remove dead or diseased plant parts, control size, or to stimulate strong new flowering or fruiting growth
    2. Tomato plants that are pruned to just two or three main trunks produce fewer but larger tomatoes than those allowed to grow thickly; remove "suckers" as needed by clipping or pinching (they can be rooted in water for more plants)
    3. Clean up dead or spent plants at the end of the season
    4. Avoid putting diseased vegetable plants in the compost, or risk spreading disease later

  • Propagation

    1. Most vegetables are grown from seed sown directly into moist, warm soil
    2. Some vegetables such as tomatoes can be started from cuttings or "suckers" rooted even in water
    3. Many are easily started in small pots a few weeks before being transplanted later into the garden. They need direct sun, warmth and humidity
    4. Time vegetable plants to grow within recommended planting dates for your area - between last predicted spring frosts, and average early frosts in the fall
    5. Irish potatoes are grown from bits of mature potatoes cut into "seed pieces" each with an "eye"
    6. Sweet potatoes are grown from rooted vine cuttings or from sprouts taken from tubers planted in moist soil or sand
    7. When saving seed, select clean seed from healthy plants early in the season to avoid the buildup of insects or diseases; store seed in a cool, dry place

  • Fertilization

    • For best results, have your soil tested for nutrient deficiencies and pH needs (alkaline or acidic soils), and correct as needed before planting
    • Fertilize vegetables before or during planting with an all-purpose fertilizer containing equal amounts of N-P-K (nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium)
    • "Side dress" vegetables a few weeks after planting with a very small amount of nitrogen, to replace that which is washed away or used up; be very light
    • If using water soluble fertilizers, use at or less than recommended strength every few weeks