For the tastiest and healthiest carrots, you should pick companion plants that grow well with them. If you pick right, you can prevent pests as well as enjoy tastier organic treats.
Truly one of the staples of not only the general population’s diet but also of the vegetable patch. Carrots are generally easy to cultivate, and incredibly nutritious.
Read on to learn about great carrot companions.
Helpful Companion for Plants Carrots
There are many plants that can help them grow better. From improving the soil, repelling pests, or even forming protection for them.
They need to be able to push deep into the soil to reach their maximum growth.
Carrots also need at least 4-6 hours of sun a day, and the tops of the roots need to be kept underground until they’re ready to pick.
If they’re exposed to the sun before they’re ripe, the exposed end will be inedible. With this in mind, let’s go over the best picks.
- Tomatoes not only improve the flavor of carrots, but the solanine they put into the soil will repel certain insects. The only issue is they can stunt growth slightly.
- Bush and pole beans as well as peas. As legumes, they add nitrogen to the soil which improves growth. However, too much nitrogen can cause forming and for the carrots to become hairy. Plant sparingly.
- Chives improve flavor, making them sweeter. Just don’t put it near beans.
- Alliums such as garlic, shallots, scallions, leeks, as well as chives are all wonderful for repelling pests like rust fly, beetles, and aphids. However, onions will compete for nutrients.
- Parsley, if left to flower, attracts beneficial insects like hoverflies, which eat pests and are wonderful pollinators.
- Radishes, if planted at the same time, can help loosen the soil. They are picked sooner so once they’re ripe you get better soil for your carrots and increased yield.
- Lettuce grows well next to them. It helps prevent weeds and keeps the soil cooler. This can help prevent nematodes.
- Brown Mustard and buckwheat both can help prevent wireworms if you plant before your crop is in.
- Catnip, peppermint, and tobacco all prevent flea beetles. Their larva is one of the many types that love munching on root vegetables.
- Sage is another one that the scent helps repel pests. It doesn’t require much water either, so it will leave more for your carrots.
What Should You Not Plant Next to Carrots?
Be mindful that some plants can harm them if grown nearby. Be sure to plan your garden carefully if you want to grow these in the same season.
- Potatoes compete for both space and nutrients, stunting both plants.
- Parsnips are in a similar situation. They take up phosphorus that carrots need to grow and take up underground space. They are also vulnerable to similar pests and diseases so you can create a hotbed for pests.
- Umbelliferae is the family carrots are in. This includes fennel, dill, coriander, and cumin. They will cross-pollinate, which can be a major issue if you’re seed-saving.
They grow from seeds and require loose, loamy soil to reach maximum growth.
You should till deeply to ensure there aren’t any rocks, hard soil clumps, or anything similar.
If your soil is very hard or clay-based, you can make a raised bed at least 12 inches deep with proper organic soil to grow in.
You shouldn’t plant the seeds too close to give the roots room to grow. If you put them too close, feel free to thin them out after they germinate.
Make sure your chosen spot will get at least 4 hours of sun a day, and be sure not to plant anything tall in the way of the light.
Care and Maintenance
After you plant your seeds, you’ll need to keep the soil very damp to make sure your seeds germinate properly.
It takes around three weeks, which means it can be a bit difficult to keep the soil at the right moisture level.
Some solutions to make this easier, particularly in hotter climates, include using mulch, a deep watering before planting or even covering the row of seeds with a piece of wood like plywood.
You can just pick it up regularly to check on the seeds and remove it once germination is starting to happen.
Pests and Diseases
Like with all crops, there are plenty of pests and diseases to watch out for.
Once your plant contacts them you need to take swift action or prevent them from happening in the first place.
One of the worst diseases carrots can get is Aster Yellows. It causes yellowing of the leaves and will render your vegetable completely inedible.
The only way to prevent this is to keep the aster leafhopper insect that carries the disease from landing on your crops, which means growing them under row covers.
Other diseases and pests to watch for include:
- Rust fly larva and weevil larva. Both will tunnel into your root tuber.
- Bacterial soft rot. This soil-borne bacteria will eat parts of your carrots into mush.
- Leaf blight. The most common type is caused by the Alternaria fungus. It can hit tomatoes as well and causes yellow spots that can merge and make the greens of your carrots look like they’ve been burned.
- Parsleyworms. These green caterpillars will eat through the leaves with typical caterpillar voraciousness.
- Nematodes. Both root knit and needle nematodes can cause galls, branching roots, and malformed roots. They’re only an issue in soil above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, so early planting can avoid them.
The best ways to avoid these are proper garden hygiene, soil preparation, and of course, picking the right neighbors to help repel pests.
Where to Buy Seeds?
Seeds can be bought at a local farm or gardening store.
Dedicated seed sites like those carry high-quality organic seeds and will likely have the most varieties available.
Now that you know what companions to grow with carrots, you’re all set for a delicious bounty of organic treats. Just remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure and you’ll be set.