- Fresh carrots are one of the garden's best summer delights. Carrots can be divided into two main groups, Early which are sowed and will be ready to harvest first and main crop. Carrots come in a wide range of colours from striking reds to deep purples and even white.
- There are all different shapes and sizes to match your growing space. If you have deep, rock free soil I would recommend a long rooted variety, if your growing space is smaller try a round variety.
Where to grow
- Carrots will always grow best when planted in an open site with full sun. I have grown carrots in part shade but this yielded a smaller harvest.
- My preferred method of growing carrots is in raised beds that have deep light soil. Growing in raised beds off the ground will help with carrot fly as well as they stay low to the ground.
- My top tip is to grow in soil/compost with no stones in the soil. This will give you the best chance of long healthy carrots.
- If you have rocky or heavy soil I recommend growing smaller or round varieties.
Sowing & Growing
- For the earliest harvest sow a hardy early variety in early march. I recommend pre warming the soil before sowing. This can be done by putting cloches or plastic sheets over the soil.
- Carrots will need a minimum temperature of 13C to germinate.
- The most common way to grow carrots is to dig small trenches in rows then scatter the seeds in these trenches. Once the seeds start to germinate thin the seedlings to give the carrots space to grow. This however, can cause carrot fly.
- Instead take a cane or broom and make a trench 2cm deep.
Sow seeds 8cm apart which will remove the need to thin.
- Rows need to be 10cm apart.
- To help stop carrot fly, either cover with fleece or grow at least 2 feet in the air. Or alternatively plant near onions and garlic as smell can detract carrot fly.
- Make sure to water carrots well, but make sure the soil is not waterlogged as this can cause the carrots to rot.
- Weeds can soon overrun carrots so make sure to weed regularly.
Between each plant
Between each row
- Early varieties can be ready in 7 weeks, but more likely 12 weeks.
- Main crop will take slightly longer, normally around 16 weeks.
Early: Adelaide, Amsterdam forcing, Atlas, Early Nantes, Flyaway, Primo
Maincrop: Autumn King, Chantenay Red, Purple Haze, Rainbow, Resistafly.
If you have the space, a fun variety to grow are Manpukuji carrots. This very fun variety grows to a truly massive size. They can easily grow to three or four feet long!