Growing carrots from seeds remains a true staple for British home-growers, who love to be rewarded with great-tasting crops,
whether in traditional orange or more unusual yellow and purple varieties!
Children enjoy getting involved with growing and harvesting too, and it’s such a simple vegetable to establish and harvest in your patch or allotment.
Some carrot varieties can even be grown in containers.
Where to grow carrots
Carrots like deep, fertile, free-draining and sandy soil. An open and sunny soil location is best in general.
When to grow carrots
Early-cropping carrot seeds can be sown in March, or possibly February.
- Main crop carrots have a planting season of between April and early July.
When to harvest carrots
Seeds sown directly into the soil will usually be ready for harvest about three to four months later.
How to prepare the soil for carrots
Try not to sow (plant) carrot seeds in ground that has already been manured, because lots of organic matter or stones will impact on the vegetable’s growth.
Prepare the soil in the autumn and add a general multi-purpose fertiliser a couple of weeks before putting seeds in.
How to sow carrot seeds
- Use a cane, or wooden stake or pole to press onto the soil surface, creating a drill line about 0.5inches (1cm) deep in which to plant carrot seeds.
- Keep each drill line about 6inches (15cm) apart.
- Sprinkle seeds vary sparingly into the line, then carefully cover over the soil with your hand or a small trowel.
- Remember to mark where your carrot seeds are with a label.
- Water each line of carrot seeds well after planting and keep well-watered, but not overwatered.
- You can plant seeds at two-week intervals, to get a continuous harvest through the season.
- As the plants grow, thin out to ensure an eventual vigorous growth by removing weaker plants or bunches too close to each other.
How to protect carrots
Carrot root fly can be a problem among crops, so keep thinning out to reduce the risk.
Erecting clear polythene or horticultural fleece barriers will also help to keep the flies away and from attacking your plants.
How to harvest carrots
You may be able to begin harvesting carrots from June, according to your planting times. Pull the roots of smaller carrots first, while carefully using a fork to lift larger plants in heavy soil, if necessary.
Some plants can be left in the ground until autumn, to help you store carrots for longer.
Growing carrots in containers
It’s best to grow this vegetable in open ground, but if your soil is shallow or has heavy clay, use a short-rooted variety seed and grow in a container.