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AGRICULTURE REPORT – October 2, 2001: Growing Carrots - 2001-10-01

This is the VOA Special English AGRICULTURE REPORT.

Carrots are grown on farms and in small family gardens throughout the world. They are easy to raise and easy to harvest. They have a pleasing taste. And, they contain a lot of carotene which the body changes into Vitamin A.

When people think about carrots, they usually create a mental picture of a long, thin, orange-colored vegetable. But, carrots come in many different sizes and shapes. And not all carrots are orange.

For example, Paris Market carrots are about five centimeters around. Imperator carrots are thin and about twenty-five centimeters long. And Belgian White carrots are white.

For the best results, carrots should be grown in sandy soil that does not hold water for a long time. The soil also should have no rocks.

To prepare your carrot garden, dig up the soil, loosen it, and turn it over. Then, mix some dead plant material or animal waste. Do not add any additional chemical fertilizers.

Weather, soil condition, and age affect the way carrots taste. Experts say warm days, cool nights, and a medium soil temperature are the best conditions for growing great tasting carrots.

Carrots need time to develop their full sugar content. This gives them their taste. If they are harvested too early they will not have enough sugar. However, carrots become wood-like and loose their sweetness if you wait too long to remove them from the ground.

The best way to judge if a carrot is ready to be harvested is by its color. Usually, the brighter the color, the better the taste.

Most people do not know that carrots can be grown during the winter months. If the winter is not cold enough to freeze the ground, you can grow and harvest carrots the same way as you do during the summer months.

If the ground does freeze in your part of the world, simply cover your carrot garden with a thick layer of leaves or straw. This will prevent the ground from freezing. You can remove the ground cover and harvest the carrots as they are needed.

Carrots are prepared and eaten many different ways. They are cut in thin pieces and added to other vegetables. They are cooked by themselves or added to meat in stews. Or, they are washed, and eaten just as they come out of the ground.

This VOA Special English AGRICULTURE REPORT was written by Bob Bowen.