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How to Grow Carrots

How to Grow Carrots
by Chloe Arji

Every vegetable patch should have some of these root veg! Freshly grown, delicious and available in a rainbow of colours. Here's how to grow carrots.

Most common carrot plant questions

When can I plant carrots?

You should plant your carrots outside from late April to early July.

Make sure the last frost has well and truly gone.

The later you plant carrots the later you can expect to harvest them and your carrots can keep on growing right the way through to November.

What kind of soil do carrots need?

Carrots need sandy, well-draining, fertile soil.

Most garden soils will be too heavy to grow carrots and so it is best to grow carrots with lots of garden compost at least 8 inches deep.

If your soil is clay heavy you can mix some sharp sand at about 50% soil to 50% sand.

How much sun do carrot plants need?

Carrots plants do best in full sun.

Position them somewhere where they’ll receive 6-8 hours of direct sunlight every day.

How far apart should I plant carrots?

If you are planting your carrots in the ground in rows then plant them 6-8cm apart with 30cm in between the rows.

If you are planting carrots in pots, then it is best to use a deep container as the pot will need to be at least 30-35cm deep. Again, space them so that they are 6-8cm apart.

Caring for carrot plants

Be sure to pick out weeds around carrots as these can quickly crowd them out.

It is recommended that you cover the carrot plants with a horticultural fleece to prevent carrot fly damage and prevent other pests from ruining your crop.

How to harvest carrots

Carrots will usually be ready around 12 weeks after you’ve planted them.

You will be able to tell as the carrots will often start to poke out at the top of the soil and so you can usually see how big they’ve grown.

Gently pull them up at the base of the leaves when the soil is moist (you may want to water the ground before to do this) to prevent the carrots from snapping.

harvesting a carrot

Common carrot plant problems

Carrot root fly is the most common and serious carrot threat.

Your best protection against carrot root fly is to cover your carrot plants in a horticultural fleece to prevent them laying eggs near the plants which will turn into maggots which will eat the carrots.

Try planting garlic chives near your carrot plants to confuse and deter carrot root flies.

Carrot flies are attracted to the smell of carrots and so it is important that if you do any thinning of carrot plants or pulling any out that this is either done inside if possible or at night when the flies are less active.

You will also only want to plant carrots in the same location for a maximum of two years in a row. Preferably, you would rotate your crops every year to prevent the build up of pests.

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