From seed to harvest: How to grow tasty carrots
01st February 2019
Follow our simple advice for producing bigger and better carrots
Carrots are a classic addition to any veg plot. They’re easy to grow, and will reward you with sweet and tasty roots throughout the season if sown regularly. Produce bumper results in light, sandy soil – but if your plot is not suitable for growing carrots, you can always use a large container filled halfway with compost.
Start by digging over your soil in late winter or early spring and remove and weeds and stones. Regularly turn the soil to ensure that it has a fine, crumbly texture. One week before you sow your seeds, rake a light covering of general fertiliser into the earth.
Between March and July, water the bed well and make shallow drills that are around 3cm deep. Sow the seeds into these spaces in a thin layer. Allow 30cm between each row. If you’re sowing your carrot seeds between March and April, protect them from any late frosts with a layer of horticultural fleece that can be bought from nurseries.
Once the seeds have germinated, thin them out to allow 5cm of space between each one. Water your plants on a regular basis to prevent dehydration during the summer months. Your carrots will be ready to harvest 12 to 16 weeks after they were sown. Remove them from the ground as soon as possible. If it’s difficult, use a fork to help persuade stubborn roots to lift free.
Watch out for: Carrot fly
These tiny black-bodied flies are a common problem gardeners face when growing carrots. They are most active between May and October, and their larvae eat into the roots of your veg. Symptoms of an infestation include brown scars along the roots and tunnels filled with creamy-coloured maggots which are visible when the carrot is cut in half. To prevent this problem, make sure you sow your seeds thinly, as carrot fly are attracted to the sweet aroma which occurs when a large number of carrots are grown in a small space. Insect-proof netting can also work.
1. It’s vital to remove all stones from the soil as they can cause your carrots to fork and grow around them.
2. If your crop begins to wilt in the summer, water thoroughly every 10 to 14 days.
3. When storing your carrots, select only the best, undamaged roots. Keep them in a strong wooden box, in between layers of sand. Make sure the conditions are cool and dry, and remove any that have started to rot straight away.
3 must-grow carrot varieties
Carrot Rainbow F1
Multicoloured carrots with great taste. A delightful blend of yellow, white and orange carrots. The flavour varies depending on root colour but all are tender, sweet and flavourful. 7-9 inch tapered roots with strong tops.
Carrot Rubyprince F1
Good tasting crispy red hybrid carrots. Red on the outside and inside, full of lycopene. Delicious and attractive added raw to salads. Best sown late spring - early summer and harvested for maincrop carrots.
Carrot White Satin F1
Pure white roots. Hybrid variety crisp, with a sweet flavour and a nice smooth texture. Long cylindrical juicy roots approx 20cm long. Hybrid maincrop carrot.
Discover more delicious varieties from Nicky’s Nurseries here.
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