When to plant carrots

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Carrots come in all shapes and sizes, and in addition to the classic orange variety, you can have a go at planting red, yellow or even purple kinds. Carrots are quick and easy to grow, taking up little space and can even be grown in containers. Once done, they make an excellent addition to your Sunday lunch, or can even be eaten as a healthy afternoon snack.

When to plant carrots

Carrots need an open, sunny site and fertile, well-drained soil.

If your soil is stony, shallow or heavy clay, you may end up with stunted or forked carrots, so if this applies to you, try short-rooted types.

This kind of carrot is also ideal for growing in containers.

Easy cultivating carrot seeds can be sown in February or March under cloches with similar protection.

But the main outdoor sowing season for carrots is usually April to early July.

When you buy the seeds, the packet should state whether the cultivator is an early or main crop type.

In general, carrot seeds can be sown from early spring right through to late August, and they can be harvested almost all year round.

Most varieties are sown outdoors between April and July, however, so that’s worth bearing in mind.

For a spring harvest, you can grow carrots in a greenhouse – if you have one – throughout the winter.

However, as a general rule they prefer to be cool and don’t do well in greenhouses during the hot summer months.

Choose a sunny spot with light, fertile soil and good drainage.

Add plenty of organic matter to the soil before sowing but remember that carrots don’t like freshly manured earth.

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Prepare your beds the autumn before to allow a period of rest before planting.

Before sowing, weed the seedbed well and break up any larger lumps of soil, digging to a fine consistency.

Water the ground before marking out rows 30cm apart and 0.5 to 1cm deep as carrots need to be sown shallowly.

Sow your seeds roughly 5cm apart to reduce overcrowding and make it easier to thin out the seedlings later on.

It’s a good idea to sow just a little thicker than the desired final crop as this allows for losses due to poor germination or other growing issues.

Cover the seeds very lightly and water the area as gently as you can with a fine-rose watering can to minimise disturbance.

Keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate, usually taking between 10 and 20 days.

If seedlings are too close together, thin out the weaker plants to give each one room to grow and prevent them competing with each other for nutrients.

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