Asked July 28, 2019, 11:44 AM EDT

Hello, This is my second try of Carrots. The first one gave very ugly shaped carrots and I was told it is because of stones in the soil or the soil was too compact. So I made a raised bed, sifted all the soil and added sand (play sand) and chicken manor. Attached is a picture of this second try produce. Why are they like this? Thanks

Montgomery County Maryland vegetables abiotic issues

1 Response

Hi- the forkiness is caused by a combination of factors- soil texture too dense or rocky, weather and rapid changes in soil moisture, and cultivar. It's is easier to grow carrots in spring and fall and avoid the heart of the summer season. Chantenay type carrots are shorter and more blunt than other types and will often grow ok in heavier (high clay) soils.

Unless you had a lot of rocks in your soil it was not necessary to sift it. Screening soil through too fine a mesh can damage soil structure by rubbing apart the soil crumbs (aggregates). We recommend that gardeners not add fine play sand to soil. If you decide to add sand in the future make sure it is rough builder's sand. Adding more organic matter is the surest way to improve soil structure and make it more likely that carrots will grow straight.

If you absolutely have to have nice straight carrots you can fill a 12-18 inch container with a 50-50 mix of compost and potting mix. Add some fertilizer and plant your carrot seed.