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Kali Gajar is something you don’t see often in Indian markets, and that’s why it makes perfect sense to grow it in your home!
Kali Gajar is the Hindi term that literally translates to nothing else but “Black carrot.” Due to the dark color, it may intrigue many people as the perception of carrots is that they are purely orange in color. Read on to learn some fascinating facts and how to grow it.
Botanical name: Daucus carota ssp. sativus var. atrorubens
Common names: Kali gajar, Black carrot
Have a look at the best purple vegetables here
Kali Gajar Information
The Kali Gajar is popular in Asiatic countries, especially India and China. The black color is due to the higher concentration of compounds, namely anthocyanins. It has a slightly different taste from other cultivars of carrots, with hints at a tiny amount of spicy flavor as the aftertaste.
It is popular for its health-benefiting properties, such as helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, boost cognition, reduce inflammation, and optimize digestion.
Propagating of Kali Gajar
There are multiple ways to propagate Kali Gajar, but the easiest and most effective is using seeds.
- Obtain the seeds of the Kali Gajar
- The best time to sow the seeds is the end of the winter season.
- A raised gardening bed is beneficial to the growth of the plant.
- Cultivate the soil thoroughly, as it has tender, long, and slender roots.
- Sow the seeds and cover them with 1/4th inch of loose soil.
- Keeping the bed moist is essential, so the watering process should be well-regulated.
- The seeds should start germinating in about 3-4 weeks.
Requirements to Grow Kali Gajar
Kali Gajar requires full sun for atleast 6 hours a day. The optimal range will be between 6-8 hours. They react badly in shady locations, so the raised bed should have access to direct, full sunlight.
The best soil conditions for black carrots are deep, sandy, loamy, well-draining, and loose. This is because the carrots need to be able to push themselves while growing, or else the yield may be misshapen, making it forked or small.
The soil pH level should be around 6-7, making it slightly acidic to neutral. To make the perfect growing medium for Kali Gajar , mix 1 part coco peat,1 part well-rotted manure, and 1 part vermicompost or sand.
Black carrots require plenty of water to grow. They need about 1 to 2 inches of water per week and should be watered deeply and evenly. To ensure that the soil is adequately moist, you can use a soil moisture meter. Water your carrots at the base of the plant in the morning or early afternoon.
Make sure to avoid wetting the foliage, as this can lead to disease. Avoid watering during the hottest part of the day, as this can cause the soil to become too warm, resulting in stunted growth. Mulching around the carrots will help to hold in moisture and reduce the need for frequent watering.
If Kali Gajar doesn’t get enough water, the yield may be misshapen and/or bitter in taste.
Kali Gajar prefers cooler temperatures and grows best with average daily temperatures around 65-75°F (18-24°C).
Taking Care of Kali Gajar
Kali Gajar prefers soil with a pH of 6.0, so a fertilizer with a good balance of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium should be chosen. A 10-10-10 or 5-10-10 fertilizer, once in 3-4 weeks, is a good choice.
If the soil has a low level of organic matter, a fertilizer with a higher percentage of nitrogen should be used, such as a 15-15-15. It is best to apply the fertilizer in a band three to four inches to the side and one inch below the seed line when planting.
If Kali Gajar is already growing, a side dressing of fertilizer can be applied. Wait until the Kali Gajar is about two inches tall, then lightly work the fertilizer into the soil around the plants.
Pests and Diseases
Diseases can easily victimize Kali Gajar. Examples of the diseases that the kali Gajars are prone to are:
- Alternaria leaf blight
- Black rot
- Cottony rot
- Downy mildew
- Soft Rot
- Cavity spot
Pests are also common wreckers of the yield of Kali Gajar – some of the common pests include:
- Carrot rust fly
- Carrot Weevil
- Flea beetle
To control these infestations and infections, use the apt fungicide, pesticide, insecticide, or neem oil. Stay vigilant and try to track pest infestation or disease at the initial stage so that Kali Gajar can be saved from spoilt yield.
Harvesting Kali Gajar
Harvesting Kali Gajar is a fairly straightforward process. The steps are as follows:
1. Wait until Kali Gajar is of the desired size. Carrots can be harvested from a few inches in length up to 6-7 inches long.
2. Pull Kali Gajar from the soil, being careful not to damage the roots.
3. Gently shake off any excess soil from the carrot.
4. Place Kali Gajar in a bucket or basket for storing.
5. Inspect Kali Gajar for any damage or pests. If any are found, discard them.
6. Rinse off any remaining dirt from the carrots.
7. Store Kali Gajar in a cool, dry place until ready to use.
Health Benefits of Kali Gajar
- Reduces the risk of rheumatoid arthritis: Black carrots have anti-inflammatory properties, as well as antioxidant abilities, which can help to slow down chronic diseases.
- Helps improve digestion: Kali Gajar has a good amount of dietary fiber, which helps in the process of digestion.
- Regulates insulin: Black carrots help in the regulation of insulin and maintain glucose levels which helps people suffering from diabetes.
- Improves vision: As we all know, carrots are filled with vitamin A, which helps improves eyesight.
Also read about winter vegetables to grow in pots in India
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