Optimizing Carrot Growth in Static Hydroponic Systems

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Priscilla Trinh


The experimental investigation evaluates static hydroponics systems to sustainably produce carrots and alleviate food insecurity via alternative modes of small-scale agriculture. The research compares different carrot cultivars in a variety of substrates to determine which combinations yielded the most produce (fresh weight) and aesthetic product (length).  The focus was on four carrot cultivars: ‘Danvers’, ‘Yaya Hybrid’, ‘Chantenay’, and ‘Imperator’. These cultivars were selected due to their commercial popularity, sugar content, soil type durability, and observed yield potential from previous research done by the Michaels lab.11,12 Substrates included a mix of nonrenewable and renewable materials including perlite, coconut coir, coarse sand, and vermiculite. Hydroponics is commercially used for leafy greens; however, this study aims to expand its applications to root vegetables like carrots to diversify dietary nutrients for consumers and provide growers with more options. Results from this study indicated that sand-dominated substrates, especially 75% sand medium, yielded on average the longest taproot length and fresh weight. Yaya produced the longest carrot. However, Chantenay, while much stouter in appearance, yielded similar fresh weights. Overall, sand-dominated substrates outperformed mediums with perlite.

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Environmental, Conservation, and Plant Science