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Ease of Growing [Scale 1-5] - 1 (Easy)

How Time Consuming

Once planted and growing away not much time needed at all limited watering required.

Recommended Varieties

  • Organic ‘Early Nantes’ – heavy reliable early crop.
  • Organic ‘Flyaway F1’ are carrot fly resistant.
  • Organic ‘Autumn King’ – Maincrop carrot, large and flavoursome , good for storing.
  • Organic ‘Bambino’ – baby carrots, small and slender deep orange, 2nd early or maincrop carrot.
  • ‘Market Baron’ & ‘Parmex’ smaller varieties suitable for containers.

Home Grown Vs Supermarket

There is no comparison.  Home grown carrots dug up and eaten straight from the garden will have a flavour so different you will never want to eat mass produced carrots again!

Best Sites and Soils

Carrots require an open, sunny site with fertile well-drained soil (preferable sandy).  If you have heavy clay, stony or shallow soil carrots can be grown in containers to get around this problem. They are ideal for raised bed gardening as this provides them with a deep root run and good drainage.

When to sow

Early cultivars late winter (Feb / Mar) sown under cloches.
Main season cultivars from early April (once soil is warm) to early July.
Distance between rows - 15cm (6”) apart
Distance between plants - Sow thinly and 13mm (1/2”) deep, thinning later if needed to 5cm (2”) apart.

When to harvest

Between 12-16 weeks after sowing depending on variety.

Problems to look out for:

Carrotfly can destroy a crops of carrots.  Put up a barrier of insect mesh to stop them getting access to your crop.


Meet the Author: Jo Blackwell
Jo  Blackwell

Jo Blackwell is new on the Harrod Horticultural block and has recently taken over her post as Horticultural Advisor and Kitchen Gardener in Stephanie's Kitchen Garden. She caught the gardening bug when she bought her first home 18 years ago.  Her first greenhouse soon followed and she later gained an allotment, where she grows her own organic fruit and vegetables.


Further Information

Improving Soil / Feeding - Help improve soil structure by incorporating well rotted organic matter.  No additional feeding required.


Guide to sowing and planting - Sow carrots thinly and on a cool day when it’s harder for the carrot fly to detect the smell. Avoid crushing the foliage when weeding too. You can thin out at a later stage and use as baby carrots leaving 5cm (2”) between plants.


Problems to look out for - The biggest problem you will have growing carrots is Carrot Root Fly.  The larvae of this pest burrows into the centre of the carrot, you will have no evidence of this until you harvest your carrots. They fly just above ground level, when it picks up the aroma of the carrot it lays its eggs close to the developing root.  If you have an organic garden like us here at Stephanie’s kitchen garden the solution is to either have protection in the form of an Anti Carrot Fly Screen or grow carrots in a minimum height two tier raised bed. Standard Raised Beds & Superior Raised Beds .You will not be troubled by Carrot Root Fly as they don’t fly that high.  (Link to Pest & Disease section???)
Forked Carrots – this is a physiological problem caused by stones in the soil or seeds being sown too close together.
Aphids – most vegetables suffer an aphid attack at some stage, mainly noticeable in early summer, you will see colonies of green or black aphids at the tip of the plant. You can squash them with your finger or thumb or spray them with Organic Insect Killer Spray containing pyrethrum.


How to harvest by type - Harvest as soon as they are large enough to eat – the smaller they are the better flavour they will be.  Young carrots can be pulled up by hand but for larger carrots carefully fork up (without damaging the roots) especially if being stored.

Storing - Carrots keep better in the soil so dig them up when you want to eat them. They can be left in the ground with the foliage removed and covered with polythene to keep out the rain or alternatively they can be lifted and stored in boxes of sand.

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