If, last year, you managed to grow oddly shaped, gnarly or dumpy carrots, then you need to read this little growing guide for a top crop…
- Carrots like light, sandy soil. If you have heavy, clay soil then don’t despair. The easiest thing to do is simply dig a narrow trench (about 20-30cm deep and 10cm wide) and backfill it with lovely, fresh compost (this bit is even easier if growing in pots, just make sure the pots are at least 30cm deep and have a drainage hole, then fill them up with compost).
- Make sure there are no stones/lumps. Forked carrots are quite common in transplanted seedlings like ours, but you can help by ensuring that the soil is free from lumps and bumps.
- Be very careful when you plant them – the seedlings arrive in biodegradable pots, and you just need to peel back the very bottom of the pot as gently as possible so as not to disturb the roots.
- Thin them out. When you receive your seedlings, use a small pair of scissors to cut off excess shoots so that you only have one plant growing in each bio-pot before you plant them. This way the carrots are not competing for space.
- Set up slug control before planting. The most common problem we hear about is carrot seedlings that have been eaten by slugs on the first night. The answer is to get your slug control in hand before planting – beer traps, copper tape, grit or broken eggshells can all help. And do a nightly slug patrol at dusk with a torch and bucket until your plants are a little more mature.
- Use horticultural fleece to keep carrot root fly at bay. Simply laying a sheet of fleece over the row of carrots and securing it down with stones can really help ward off these pests. You can also plant onions and garlic in between rows of carrots to help mask the scent and thus deter carrot fly.
That’s it. Follow these tips and remember to water frequently whilst plants are young and settling in and your carrots should thrive!