Most of the benefits of carrots can be attributed to their beta carotene and fiber content. This root vegetable is also a good source of antioxidant agents. Furthermore, carrots are rich in vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, vitamin B8, pantothenic acid, folate, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese.
Forget about vitamin A pills. With this orange crunchy powerfood, you get vitamin A and a host of other powerful health benefits including beautiful skin, cancer prevention, and anti-aging. Read how to get maximum benefits from this amazing vegetable.
Benefits of Carrots
- Improves vision
Western culture’s understanding of carrots being “good for the eyes” is one of the few we got right. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A is transformed in the retina, to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision.Beta-carotene has also been shown to protect against macular degeneration and senile cataracts. A study found that people who eat the most beta-carotene had 40 percent lower risk of macular degeneration than those who consumed little.
- Helps prevent cancer
Studies have shown carrots reduce the risk of lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer. Researchers have just discovered falcarinol and falcarindiol which they feel cause the anticancer properties.Falcarinol is a natural pesticide produced by the carrot that protects its roots from fungal diseases. Carrots are one of the only common sources of this compound. A study showed 1/3 lower cancer risk by carrot-eating mice.
- Slows down aging
The high level of beta-carotene acts as an antioxidant to cell damage done to the body through regular metabolism. It help slows down the aging of cells.
- Promotes healthier skin
Vitamin A and antioxidants protects the skin from sun damage. Deficiencies of vitamin A cause dryness to the skin, hair and nails. Vitamin A prevents premature wrinkling, acne, dry skin, pigmentation, blemishes, and uneven skin tone.
- Helps prevent infection
Carrots are known by herbalists to prevent infection. They can be used on cuts – shredded raw or boiled and mashed.
- Promotes healthier skin (from the outside)
Carrots are used as an inexpensive and very convenient facial mask. Just mix grated carrot with a bit of honey. See the full recipe here: carrot face mask.
- Prevents heart disease
Studies show that diets high in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Carrots have not only beta-carotene but also alpha-carotene and lutein.
The regular consumption of carrots also reduces cholesterol levels because the soluble fibers in carrots bind with bile acids.
- Cleanses the body
Vitamin A assists the liver in flushing out the toxins from the body. It reduces the bile and fat in the liver. The fibers present in carrots help clean out the colon and hasten waste movement.
- Protects teeth and gums
It’s all in the crunch! Carrots clean your teeth and mouth. They scrape off plaque and food particles just like toothbrushes or toothpaste. Carrots stimulate gums and trigger a lot of saliva, which being alkaline, balances out the acid-forming, cavity-forming bacteria. The minerals in carrots prevent tooth damage.
- Prevents stroke
From all the above benefits it is no surprise that in a Harvard University study, people who ate more than six carrots a week are less likely to suffer a stroke than those who ate only one carrot a month or less.
Fun Facts on Carrots
- Rabbits love to eat carrots but they shouldn’t eat too much. A rabbit eating a single carrot is like us eating over 20! They like the sweetness and carrots are good for their teeth and don’t have white sugar but even too too many natural sugars will cause digestive problems and diabetes. They probably would do better with the carrot tops. We would benefit from the tops also but probably won’t eat them!
- Carrots are the second most popular type of vegetable after potatoes.
- The biggest carrot recorded is more than 19 pounds and the longest is over 19 feet!
- There are over 100 species of carrots. Some are big. Some are small and they come in a variety of colors including: orange, purple, white, yellow, and red.
- English women in the 1600’s often wore carrot leaves in their hats in place of flowers or feathers.
- The name “carrot” comes from the Greek word “karoton.” The beta-carotene that is found in carrots was actually named for the carrot itself!
- The average American eats about 12 pounds of carrots a year. That’s only one cup per week. We could easily triple that with great benefits if we were also eating a variety of other vegetables.
Eat More Carrots!
The nutrition in carrots are tightly encased in protein sacs that have to be broken by heat (cooking) or mechanical action (grinding, juicing, proper chewing).
Cooking the carrots in fat or oils, or pureeing or juicing them increases the availability of carotenoids by 600 percent.
Fats help the absorption of carotenoids into the blood by 1000 percent as carotenoids are fat soluble.
The commercial cultivation of carrots is successful in most regions of the world. About 60% of world carrot production occurs in Asia alone. However, selecting quality seeds/seedlings and good farm management practices make the carrot production most successful. Carrots common to Asia have purple, pink, or red skins, with yellow or orange cores. Basically, carrots are biennial plants, grown as annuals. The first year, they store energy in their roots. Then the next spring, they leaf out quickly and send up a flower stalk. Carrots can be cultivated in both tropical and sub-tropical regions. Carrot belongs to the family of “Apiaceae” and genus of “Daucus “. Carrot is native to native to Europe and southwestern Asia. The most commonly eaten part of a carrot is a taproot, although the greens are sometimes eaten as well. Carrot has good health benefits as well. Let us discuss its growing conditions, planting methods and other factors involved in carrot farming. Carrots can be grown in pots, containers and protected environment like green house and polyhouse.
Basically, carrot is a cool season crop and when grown at 15°C – 21 °C will develop a good colour. The carrot crop requires deep loose loamy soil rich in organic matter with a pH ranging from 6.0 to 7.5 for higher yield.
Basically, carrot is a cool season crop and can be cultivated under wide range of rain-fall conditions. The optimum temperature for seed germination is 6°C to 24°C where as 17°C to 24°C is ideal for better root growth. Very high and very low temperatures will impact the yield, quality of carrot.
The field should be thoroughly ploughed so that the clods do not interfere with the root development of carrots. Land should be prepared by giving 3 or 4 ploughings to bring the soil to fine tilth stage. Supplement the land with 25 tonnes/ha of well-rotten farm yard manure during last plough. This also takes care of any weeds from previous crops. Form raised beds of 1 meter breadth and convenient length in hills where as in plains; ridges and furrows should be formed at 30 cm distance.
Seasonal Planting Methods
Carrot is a usually grown on ridge to facilitate good root development. The carrot seeds should be dibbled at 1.5 cm depth at a spacing of 30 cm x 8 cm. For enhancing germination, the seeds should be soaked in water for 12 to 24 hours before sowing in the field. The carrot crop is sown during January to February, June to July and October to November. In the mild climate, carrot can be grown almost throughout the year except few summer months.
Propagation and Seed Rate
Propagation is done through seeds and the seed rate depends on the variety and region. On an average of 5 to 6 kg of seed /ha is required in carrot farming.
The following ways seeds can be treated before sowing in the garden.
- Carry out the seed treatment with cow pat pit @ 3 grams in 1 liter of water for 24 hours.
- Carry out the seed treatment with 5% of Trichoderma viride.
- Seedling root dip with 5% of Pseudomonas fluorescens before transplanting in the main filed.
Sowing and Spacing
Prepare the rows with distance of 25 cm to 30 cm apart and sow the carrot seeds mixed with sand (Mix 1 part of seed with 4 parts of sand).
Manures and Fertilizers
Well-rotten farm yard manure (FMY) of 30 to 35 tonnes should be applied during land preparation. This may be increased up to 50 tonnes/ha in case of organic carrot farming. The N:P:K of 90:90:90 kg/ha should be applied as basal dose and N:P:K of 45:45:45 kg/ha should be applied after 45 days of sowing the seeds. Applying 25 kg of ZnSO4 per ha as a basal is also recommended.
Give light Irrigation while sowing the seeds in the field. On an average, it requires irrigation in 4 to 5 days interval. During drought periods, after giving irrigation in the evening, crop beds should be covered with wet gunny bags. This prevents water loss during hot climatic conditions. This also makes seeds to germinate quickly.
Weeding and Thinning
Regular weeding will improve the plant growth and production. Spray weedicide of Fluchloralin 1 liter a.i./ha after sowing the seeds to control weeds or first weeding is to be done on 15th day after sowing. Thinning should be given after 1 month of sowing.
Harvesting your Carrots
The edible roots of carrot plant becomes ready for harvesting in about 3 to 4 months after sowing. Harvesting period depends on the variety. It is recommended to discontinue the irrigation 2 to 3 weeks before harvesting to increase the sweetness and taste. A light irrigation should be given a day before harvesting for lifting of roots. Carrot crop is harvested manually by uprooting each plant. Carrots for processing purpose should be left in the ground for a longer period. After harvesting, the green tops should be cut and the carrots should be separated and cleaned.
Carrot Farming Yields
Well, yield of any crop depends on many factors. With good cultivar (variety), soil, climatic conditions and finally farm management practices, 25 to 35 tonnes /ha can be achieved in 100 to 120 days.
Post Harvesting Activities
Carrots should be graded based on their size and length. The carrots should ideally uniform in all aspects and similar shape for the variety, well formed, smooth, firm but of tender texture. It should also be free from harvest damage, decay or disease for best quality marketing. Marketing can be done on daily basis to local markets or can be packed for imports to long distance markets.
To find out more about how Plantations International can assist you with the development and management of your own carrot farm and to receive a free initial consultation, please call us today on +852 5808 3775 or Click Here to contact your nearest Plantations International representative.