Nothing beats a home-grown carrot for taste; if you’ve never tried one we promise it will be a revelation. Crunchy, sweet and full of flavour; quite different from the watery bite of an average supermarket carrot!
Carrots are one of those crops that can be sown early in spring, and later from mid summer. This ‘successional’ sowing will extend the season right the way through until September and beyond. Sowing now when the soil is warm, but still moist, means that the seed germinates very quickly, and those unmistakeable ferny leaves will soon be showing through.
How to sow carrots
Weed and fork over the area where you are going to sow. Carrots need fertile soil but don’t add fertilisers such as manure which could cause the roots to fork. Deep, light stone-free soil suits this root crop best but if you have stony soil you can still grow carrots; just choose a round or stump rooted variety. The same applies if you are growing carrots in a container.
Rake the soil to a fine crumbly texture, often referred to as a fine tilth. Sow the carrots very thinly. You can sow in two ways.
Sow in rows in a shallow depression known as a drill, you can mark this on the soil with the edge off a hoe or the tip of a bamboo cane. Make it just deep enough to take the seed.
You can also scatter the seed thinly across a defined area where you want them to grow; this is known as broadcast sowing.
When the seed is sown, cover it lightly with soil by raking over the area very lightly, or you can scuff earth back across the row with your hand; either method works well. The aim is to just cover the seeds with a fine sprinkling of earth.
Once the seeds are covered water the soil to settle the seeds and to help start germination.
Thin the rows very carefully. Carrot root fly is a major pest and the females are attracted to your crop by the delicious carroty smell! They lay their eggs on the soil where the grubs hatch and burrow into your carrots, causing holes and wrecking the crop. Try to thin late in the evening if possible when the flies are less likely to be about.
Covering with fleece or raising a metre high barrier around the carrots are other ways of protecting your crop from this pest.