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Growing Carrots

Providing you keep to a few simple rules, growing carrots is fairly easy. They are one of the root vegetables which nearly every kid will like eating and hence be keen to plant, and digging them up is even more fun than sowing them!growing carrots clipart

While we tend to think of carrots as always being orange, there are actually white, red, yellow and purple carrots too! Imagine a snowman with a purple nose ...

  1. Some Basic Facts about Growing Carrots
  2. Growing Carrots with Companion Plants
  3. How to Grow Carrots
  4. Tips

Some Basic Facts about Growing Carrots

Carrots varieties include short, medium and long-rooted types.

The short-rooted carrots can be suitable for growing in containers or deep window boxes and even include small round ball-like types. They are the earliest to be sown and the quickest to mature. Small, quick and tasty! Good varieties to go for are the Parmex (a round type) or the Ideal Speedy Seeds (a type of Nantes which is used as a baby vegetable and ideal for growing in containers on patios).

The medium-rooted types are sown slightly later than the short-rooted carrots and are usually the best bet for harvesting a successful crop.

The long-rooted varieties take the longest to mature and are the most fussy about the quality of the ground. Fine for showing off, but not the sweetest taste.

Carrots like: happy carrot

  • cool, wet weather, and can be sown before the last frost has passed
  • lots of sunshine - choose a sunny spot but keep them well watered
  • fertile, sandy and well-draining soil, without loads of stones in it,
  • onions, chives, radishes, sage and rosemary.

Carrots dislike:sad carrot

  • long, hot, dry spells which bakes the ground hard
  • soil which is heavy, consists largely of clay or is full of stones
  • ground that has been prepared with manure or compost
  • too much nitrogen - it spoils their taste

Growing Carrots with Companion Plants

The main enemy of the carrot is the carrot fly, which is attracted to the wonderful smell given off by the foliage. Onion, leeks and black salsify help to repel carrot fly, as do the herbs rosemary, wormwood and sage.

Carrots also grow well with tomatoes, chives, lettuce, and radishes - the latter is often sown together in a row with carrots, as it germinates and grows quicker and therefore indicates where the carrots are growing!

How to Grow Carrots

Carrots can be sown outside in situ from around the middle of March until the end of June or July. They germinate in 2 to 3 weeks , and take between 2 to 4 months to mature fully, depending on the variety chosen. Chose a sunny spot. Check your seed packet for more detailed information on that varieties prefered sowing time.

Before sowing the carrots, ensure the ground has been well dug over and is free of weeds and stones. If the ground is a bit hard or clayey, dig in some sand or peat to lighten the soil up, but not fresh compost or manure. In fact, carrots should not be grown on a patch which has been manured during the previous year.

preparing the row growing carrots

Prepare the ground as described above, then, a couple of weeks before sowing, rake some general fertilizer into the ground.

Go over the plot with a rake until you have a fine tilth (die the soil is in small grains not large clumps!).

Use your row markers and some twine to mark out the line along which you are growing carrots, draw away about 1/2 inch of soild along the line with a garden rake or hoe, and water generously.

carrot seeds

Carrot seeds are tiny, and it is easy to sow too many and be left with a large number to thin out later on. One way of avoiding this is to mix the seed with sand before sowing.

Alternatively use a carrot tape (eg Suttons Groweasy Seed Tapes), which spaces the seeds out for you and is quick and easy to put down.

sowing carrots

Carefully sprinkle the seeds along the line, trying to drop one seed approximately every 1 1/2 to 2 inches.

Once the seedlings are large enough to handle they can be thinned out. But don't thin them out too much, as the denser the foliage above them, the less likely weeds are to grow underneath and the less weeding you need to do!

Also try to avoid damaging the foliage when thinning out, as the smell attracts carrot fly.

covering carrot seeds

Very gently cover the seeds with a tiny bit of soil. The seeds barely need 1/2 inch of soil above them to germinate, and the most frequent reason for a crop to fail to emerge is the seeds being planted too deeply.

Water generously.


If growing carrots in at least two adjacent rows, leave a gap of about 6 inches between the rows.

Keep the carrots well watered during long, dry spells. Carrot seedlings are quite weak, so keeping the ground damp while they germinate and start to pop their heads through the ground is a must. Radishes planted with them will also help by loosening the ground.

Try to grow some of the companion plants mentioned above next to or at least near the carrots to help avoid them being destroyed by the carrot fly.

When the time comes to dig the carrots up, use a garden fork to loosen the ground around the carrots before pulling.

growing carrots clipart



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