Carrots over the years have been my nemesis: hardly growing at all and looking like micro-carrots, or growing arms and legs and looking like alien invaders! I know all the theories and good practice to carrot growing success but somehow, it escapes me every year. Not so this year: this year, I will discover the secret to growing spectacular carrots – they don’t have to be show bench worthy, even normal sized and regular looking ones would suffice!
Carrots like a light, free-draining soil to allow them a loose root run. Do not add manure to the soil before sowing: carrots as I found out from experience, respond in extra-terrestial ways to the extra goodness.
Carrots should be sown out directly where you want them to grow and can be sown straight into the ground, into raised bed or in containers. If you are thinking of growing carrots in containers, use a short-rooted variety which will not need as long a root run. And do remember to make drainage holes in the container, my rookie mistake years and years ago when I grew carrots for the first time was not to bore drainage holes, and the carrots literally sulked and refused to grow!
Water the soil before sowing carrot seed so the tiny seeds aren’t washed too far down after sowing, carrots seeds should not be sown too deeply.
Sow carrot seed thinly so you don’t have to thin them out too much once the seed has germinated. Thinning out is the number one way to attract the dreaded carrot root fly which burrow into the root and can decimate your crop. Sowing thinly and in raised beds or containers is a good way to prevent an attack as carrot flies aren’t able to fly above 2 feet. Alternatively, you could erect a mesh around your carrot growing area to a height of 2 feet to deter them.
Once germinated, carrots are a pretty easy crop to ignore. Just make sure the area around them is weed-free and water sparingly as they are a fairly drought resistant crop.
May is a great time to sow carrots, when the soil has warmed up enough to allow you to direct sow them. I’ve sown two different varieties this year: ‘Flyaway F1’ from Mr. Fothergill’s and ‘Autumn King 2’ from Thompson & Morgan. If you can then make a second sowing later in June, you’ll have a succession of carrots to harvest and enjoy!
Do let me know your secrets to carrot growing success, and I’ll come back to you later in the season with pictures of my fabulous carrots, fingers crossed!