If you plan your sowing right and choose suitable varieties, you can have fresh Carrots
virtually all year round. Carrots, although tastiest when freshly dug, are also good for storing and freezing.
Soil & Growing Position
To produce the best, long carrots you will need deep sandy and fertile soil. Use short-rooted varieties if your soil is heavy or clay. Misshapen roots are caused by ground that has not been throughly dug, leaving compacted layers or stones which literally stop the roots from growing straight down. Prepare the soil in autumn/winter through digging, removing stones and adding in compost if necessary. Do not be tempted to manure the soil and do not use ground that has been manured in the previous year. If your soil is going to be a problem then consider growing carrots in containers. Rake Growmore into the seed bed two weeks before sowing.
Sowing from Seed
Sow thinly in rows 15cm (6in) apart and 13mm (0.5in) deep. If you sow thinly enough you may avoid having to thin out. Thinning out can attract carrot rootfly as they are attracted to the smell released when the carrot skin is bruised.
Early varieties can be sown from as early as February/March with frost protection; under cloches or growing tunnels however the main sowing season is from April to early July. Alternatively carrots can be sown in containers for the patio, thus eliminating the need to get the soil right in a traditional plot. Fill containers at least 20cm deep with multi purpose comsost, sprinkle the seeds on the surface, cover with compost and water well. In only 12 weeks you'll have a crop of sweet, mini carrots.
Growing on and Young Plants
Thin out when the plants are large enough to handle, to 5-7.5cm (2-3in) apart. Ideally, thin in the evening and water if the soil is dry. Dispose of the thinnings and firm down loose soil around the remaining plants.
It is important to aim to keep the soil evenly moist as splitting occurs when a downpour follows a drought, so water during dry spells.
Hoe regularly to keep weeds down, as the plants can be easily swamped by them. Once the foliage is established, weeds will be suppressed by the plants and any remaining should be then plucked out by hand.
Carrot rootfly is the most notable pest but this can be effectively controlled through the use of insect mesh.
Harvesting can begin from June and as soon as the carrots are large enough to use. The larger they become the less flavour they have so don't be tempted to wait for them to get massive! If your soil is heavy, lift out carefully using a fork.
Carrots for winter storage are harvested in October. To store, use only undamaged carrots, remove the foliage off the top leaving around half an inch remaining. Then place the carrots in a box between layers of dry peat or sand and leave in a cool, dark place such as a shed. There must be sufficient space between the carrots so they are not touching. Check for any rotting carrots from time to time and dispose of them before any others are infected.