Gardening Tips > April > Growing early and maincrop carrots

Growing early and maincrop carrots

Carrots are easy to grow, and with successional sowing, they can be enjoyed all year round!

If you’re short of space, carrots can be grown in containers, you just need to ensure the container is deep enough for the variety you are growing.

Carrots are classified according to when they mature:

  • Earlies are relatively quick to grow (approx. 7 to 9 weeks). They are smaller in size and are eaten immediately after harvesting.
  • Maincrop take longer to grow (approx. 10 to 11 weeks) and are generally bigger. They can be eaten fresh from harvest or stored and frozen.

Follow our simply ‘how to grow’ guide to achieve a good crop…

Position: Open, sunny but sheltered site. Carrots will also grow in containers (such as a free-standing VegTrug) or growbags if positioned correctly and with adequate drainage.

Soil: Fertile and well-drained (avoid stony, compacted or damp soil)

Preparation: Work some lightweight organic matter into your soil (preferably in the autumn so this has time to break down and improve the soil structure over the winter months). When you are ready to sow, rake the soil to a fine tilth.

TOP TIP: To help cut down on the weeding later on, you can always prepare the soil then leave it  for a few weeks to allow weed seed to germinate and then hoe them off on a dry sunny day.

A wide range of carrot see sold at Perrywood

A wide range of carrot see sold at Perrywood

Sowing: Early varieties can be sown March – April, some varieties such as ‘Nantes 2’ can be sown in February under a clouch. The maincrop can be sown from April – June.

Create small drills in the soil. Sow the seed 1-2 cm deep in rows, 15-30 cm apart. To ensure the seed is sown thinly you can combine it with sand or vermiculite. The less thinning out required the better as crushing any foliage can attract carrot fly. Carrot fly will fly low to the ground, so a good way of protecting your crop is to build a 90cm high barrier of very fine mesh around where you have sown.

Cultivation:  When large enough to handle, thin the plants to 5-7cm apart.

TOP TIP: Thinning carrots is best done after watering in the evening to prevent the smell of leaves attracting carrot fly.

Care: Hand weed between rows, being careful not to crush any foliage. Water every two weeks and prevent the crop from drying out and then flooding, as this can cause the carrots to split.

Harvest: Earlies can be harvested from June to August. Maincrops can be lifted and stored in layers of peat or sand in October and November.

Carrot 'Fly'

Carrot ‘Fly’

Recommend varieties sold at Perrywood:

Earlies:

  • ‘Nantes 2’ – ideal for early sowing, rich orange colour and sweet crunchy taste
  • ‘Flyaway’ – excellent resistance to carrot fly. Naturally sweet tasting (We also sell these as young plants ready to be planted)

Maincrop:

  • Autumn King – can be harvested from late summer or left in the ground throughout winter

TOP TIP: Try growing spring onions and leeks between your rows of carrots, the smell of these crops will deter carrot fly!

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