When growing carrots for commercial production, it is helpful to run a knife in the soil beside the rows. This breaks up any soil compaction, allowing the carrot roots to grow straight. Otherwise, the carrot roots can fork or grow sideways.
When to Knife CarrotsA carrot crop should be knifed when the carrot tops are 4-6 inches tall.
How to Knife CarrotsA narrow knife blade (Figure 1) should be run about 8-12 inches deep beside the carrot row. If the carrots are planted in twin drills or multiple rows, a knife should be run between each pair of rows. The knife should be no further than 4-6 inches from the row. Cone guide wheels should be used to guide the knives on the beds and minimize crop damage (Figure 2). When you run knives in this manner, it will look like you are ruining the carrots, but they will survive and make much straighter, more marketable roots after knifing.
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