This month is a great time to be sowing carrots. ‘Ooohhhhh,’ I hear many of you groan! ‘But carrots are sooo hard to grow!’ This month, I will share my top tips for sowing carrots.
Tip #1 – Direct sow
Carrots much prefer to be direct-sown from seed, as opposed to being bought from the garden centre and transplanted. Carrots roots are very sensitive and do not take kindly to being transplanted, as this can easily damage the roots and cause misshapen veg, stunted growth and a slow start while they recover from the shock of transplanting.
Sowing carrots from seed is so rewarding; once you have success, you will never look back again.
Carrots grow best in the cooler months and I sow every month for a continuous supply.
Tip #2 – Prepare your soil well
Preparing your soil before sowing is imperative, as there are things carrots must have and must not have. Carrots do not require any compost or fertiliser when sowing, as too much nitrogen will cause your carrots to fork.
Carrots ideally love a sandy loam, where there are no obstacles in their path under the soil. If you have heavy soil, try adding some sand and make sure to crumble the hard lumps in your soil, as these obstructions will cause the root tip to grow around them, and this is what causes misshapen carrots. Prepare your soil for as deeply as your carrot grows; but if you suffer with heavy soil and there is no way round this, my advice would be to try growing shorter carrots.
Tip #3 – Sow with care
Once your soil is prepared, water, then sow in drills about 2cm deep and 10-15cm apart. Sow your seeds sparingly about 1cm apart and cover with .5cm of soil. Lightly press the soil down and gently water.
Cover your seeds with wet cardboard or a plank of wood to keep the moisture in and aid germination. Carrots can take up to 21 days to germinate, so check under your cardboard or plant every week and gently apply more water if required.
Once you see your carrots have germinated, remove the cover. Your seeds will appear a very pale yellow, as they have not yet seen any light. My top tip is that I find it is best to remove the cover in the late afternoon when there are less daylight hours left, as this will give your carrots a good 12-14 hours to acclimatise to the elements and start to green up before the brighter sun hits them.
Tip #4 – Feed your carrots so they will feed you
Feed your carrots monthly with liquid kelp and EM (effective microorganisms) – their roots will thank you for it!
Tip #5 – Harvest don’t thin
Personally, I don’t thin my carrots – instead, I wait until they have grown for a few months and then I carefully harvest every other one and eat as gourmet carrots – and then leave the others to mature.
Also remember that a greening on top of the carrots is not poisonous, unlike potatoes.
Once you have tasted a freshly plucked, juicy, sweet carrot from your garden, there will be no going back to shop-bought ones!