Carrots are truly one of the staples of not only the general population’s diet but also of the vegetable patch. They’re generally easy to grow, and incredibly nutritious.
For the tastiest and healthiest carrots, you should pick what plants grow with it carefully. If you pick right, you can prevent pests as well as grow a tastier organic carrot.
Read on to learn about great carrot companion plants.
Helpful Carrot Companion Plants
There are many plants that can help carrots grow better. From improving the soil, repelling pests, or even forming protection for your carrots.
Carrots need to be able to push deep into the soil to reach their maximum growth.
They 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 common carrot companion plants.
- Tomatoes. 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 carrot growth. However, too much nitrogen can cause forming and for the carrots to become hairy. Plant sparingly.
- Chives improve flavor, making carrots sweeter. Just don’t plant near beans.
- Alliums such as garlic, shallots, scallions, leeks, as well as chives are all wonderful for repelling pests like the carrot 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 for carrots. They are picked sooner so once they’re ripe you get better soil for your carrots and increased yield.
- Lettuce grows well next to carrots. 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 carrots are in.
- Catnip, peppermint, and tobacco all prevent flea beetles. Their larva is one of the many types that love munching on carrots.
- 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.
Harmful Companion Plants for Carrots
When companion planting carrots, some plants can harm your carrots if planted 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 with carrots, 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 plants like fennel, dill, coriander, and cumin. They will cross-pollinate with carrots, which can be a major issue if you’re seed saving.
Carrots 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 your carrots 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 the plants 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 all plants, 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 your carrots can get is Aster Yellows disease. It causes yellowing of the leaves and will render your carrots completely inedible.
The only way to prevent this is to keep the aster leafhopper insect that carries it from landing on your plants, which means growing them under row covers.
Other diseases and pests to watch for include:
- Carrot rust fly larva and carrot weevil larva. Both will tunnel into your carrots.
- Bacterial soft rot. This soil-borne bacteria will eat parts of your carrots into mush.
- Leaf blight. The most common type for carrots 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 in carrots. They’re only an issue in soil above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, so early planting can avoid them.
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 carrot companion plants to grow, you’re all set for a delicious bounty of organic carrots. Just remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure and you’ll be set.