To decide whether it's time to harvest the carrot or leave it in the ground for another 10-15 days, you just need to dig one or two roots out of the ground. If the carrot is overgrown with small roots, then it's time, otherwise nimble rodents will get to it before us.
Early ripe carrots are usually harvested selectively as needed. At the same time, larger roots are first pulled out in order to improve the growth conditions of neighboring plants. In this case, it is necessary to immediately fill with earth all the voids formed after the pulled out plant in order to protect the "neighbors" in the garden from the carrot fly.
But many gardeners harvest early ripe carrots completely at once to make room for re-sowing of other vegetables. After early carrots, bush beans, head lettuce, cauliflower, kohlrabi and broccoli are successfully grown.
Popular wisdom says: "On Cornelius (September 24), the root does not grow in the earth, but it chills." In accordance with this sign, one must act, i.e. harvest the main crop of mid- and late-ripening carrots at the end of September, focusing on weather conditions.
Carrots are a cold-resistant crop and that it gives the most intensive yield increase (up to 40–45%) at the end of August and in September during the period of a gradual decrease in the average daily temperature. This is facilitated by the rapid outflow of nutrients from the leaves to the roots at a temperature of 7–8 ° C. The biological ripeness of root crops occurs after the end of intensive growth when the shape and color are typical for the given variety. But under unfavorable conditions, at very high or low temperatures during the formation of root crops, the biological ripeness of carrots may not come, and then the roots have to be harvested at the stage of technical ripeness.
For various reasons, sometimes it is generally necessary to harvest this vegetable on the site in the first half of September, this leads to a large shortage of harvest and the receipt of small, not fully ripe root crops, which then quickly wither and are poorly stored.
The most favorable time for harvesting carrots in our plots should be considered the end of September. When harvesting at this time, you will get the maximum yield of carrots, which will be well stored in winter. Further prolonged delay in harvesting does not give a positive effect, since if the daytime air temperature does not rise above 4–5 ° C, the outflow of nutrients from the leaves to the roots practically stops and the vegetable stops growing. Root crops of this culture in the soil tolerate a short-term drop in temperature to -3 ... -5 ° C, but if they are dug out of the ground, they cannot tolerate even the weakest frosts.
Carrots are harvested only in good weather. Varieties with short and semi-long roots are easily pulled out of the ground by hands, but when harvesting long roots, a pitchfork or a shovel is indispensable.
It should not be forgotten that carrots are very sensitive to mechanical damage. Therefore, when cleaning, transporting and storing it, it is necessary to carefully follow the generally accepted rules: do not allow shocks, breaks, scratches and other mechanical damage, because root crops do not heal such damage well, namely, rot pathogens penetrate through them.
You can not leave the tops uncut for a long time, because leaves, quickly evaporating moisture, will cause wilting of root crops, which will sharply reduce their resistance to diseases during storage.In addition, it is not necessary to completely clean the roots of the soil, as well as wash them, as this can accelerate the development of diseases. It is not recommended to keep the harvested carrots for a long time in heaps in the garden, because root crops wither quickly and become unsuitable for winter storage.
How to remove tops? Do not break it off by twisting it with your hands, but carefully cut it with a knife. If you leave small stalks at the same time, then closer to spring, tops will begin to grow on root crops, which will not only reduce the weight of carrots, but also dramatically worsen their nutritional value. Therefore, cut the roots with a knife along the line of the sleeping eyes, i.e. cut off the top by 1-2 mm. In this case, the tops will not sprout during storage.
Immediately after cutting the tops, the root crops must be removed under a canopy and slightly ventilated before laying in boxes. Then the harvested crop is sorted, removing diseased, damaged and soft roots. They are used immediately for food or for processing, without leaving them for winter storage. After that, the carrots selected for winter storage must be kept in a dark and cool room for 5–6 days so that they cool well, and only then can they be stored in the basement after being chilled.
Harvesting of carrots must be completed before the onset of cold weather, since root crops damaged by frost loses their resistance to pathogens. During temporary storage, root crops are covered with soil with a layer of 15-20 cm. It is impossible to cover them with straw or tops, since after harvesting they release a lot of moisture, and moistening the straw and tops creates conditions for the development of diseases.