Easy to grow carrots are the perfect health food
The humble carrot (Daucus carota) is a root vegetable often claimed to be THE perfect health food. Rich in polyacetylene antioxidant and falcarinol they are crunchy, tasty, and highly nutritious. Carrots are part of the Apiaceae or Umbelliferae family, along with dill and fennel.
In the kitchen both the tops and bottoms of carrots can be widely used. A friend of mine recently used carrot tops to bulk out a fabulous pesto while basil was limited during the Coronavirus lockdown.
These days carrot roots come in a rainbow of colours, sizes, and shapes, they’re also quite simple to grow with the benefit of not having too many pests and diseases to worry about.
How to Grow Carrots
Where to Grow Carrots. Carrots are not really fussy at all, you can plant carrot seeds in the ground, within raised beds or on the patio in tubs – carrots can be grown just about anywhere.
Carrots taste best when they are grown really quickly and good soil preparation is paramount here. Compost is good and, depending on the carrot varieties you going to grow, a nice deep topsoil layer is important.
Planting Carrots. Carrots need a location that receives full sunlight, though they can tolerate partial shade. Soil must be loose, sandy, and airy so that carrot roots can easily push down through the soil. Sow seeds outdoors every 3 to 5 weeks. Sow seed thinly, in rows for early varieties and later varieties. Thin out to 3 in. apart as soon as the plants have four leaves or are about 10cm high.
How to grow carrots in a pot. Choose a container that are at least 300mm deep and 400-600mm wide and position in a sunny spot. Fill with a decent Potting Mix and lightly sprinkle carrot seeds on top. Cover, firm down and moisten. Water regularly to keep soil moist and thin seedlings out so the roots don’t get too cramped.
Growing Carrots outside in the garden. Plant your carrots in rows that are 1 to 2 feet (30-60 cm.) apart. Seeds should be planted about a ½ inch deep and 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm.) apart.
Carrots grow better if planted as seed where you want them to grow, but you can grow them from seedlings, too. Make sure you sow early! Successive sowings may be made right up to mid year as there is always a demand for tender young carrots in salads. When the carrots are a little bigger than radishes, pull out every other one for early eating in salads and stir fry then leave the others to come to maturity.
Top Carrot Growing Tips:
- Try growing purple carrots or different colours – to make gardening fun for kids
- Thin your carrots in the evening to avoid carrot fly
- Good drainage is key so be sure to add sand to your soil mix
- Plant Companion plants to deter pests like spring onions or chives, to act as decoys
- Water often and you carrots to grow big and healthy
- Avoid fertilizer – or you’ll end up with some unconventional carrot shapes!