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The lost plot: Growing carrots

Once you’ve tasted your own home grown fresh, juicy carrots you’ll never want to eat supermarket ones again.

Carrots need to be sown in the place they are to grow as they hate being transplanted. Their ideal soil is deep, cool and loose. Soil that has been well manured for a previous crop of brassicas is ideal. Don’t add fresh manure as this will cause them to fork and grow extra roots.

Choose a variety that suits your needs. Personally, I like eating them raw, so I prefer to grow Paris market types or baby ones, but for cooking you’ll want one of the larger varieties.

As the carrot seed is very fine, sow it with a little sand, making shallow rows about 10cm-15cm apart. Carrots can be temperamental in germinating and can take up to three weeks.

The tiny plants look like grass, and when they are a few centimetres high, thin them out, so they aren’t overcrowded. A few weeks later, thin them again to give the roots room to develop. You can use the little carrots from this thinning in salads.

They take around 80 days to mature, depending on the variety. To check whether they’re big enough to use, scrape a bit of soil away from around the top to see if it is ready.

Date modified: August 15 2019
First published: Aug 2019

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