Carrots are amongst the easiest crops to grow. Two different varieties of carrots exist: early and maincrop. Early varieties are ready to harvest within 12 weeks, while maincrop varieties take 16 weeks. The maincrop varieties are better for storage.
Carrots love light, sandy, fertile soils. If you want to ensure a great crop, start preparing your soil in late winter or early spring by digging over the bed and removing any stones you may find. The texture of your soil should be fine and crumbly.
Sow your seeds in drills roughly 1 inch deep and 12 inches between each row, starting from mid-spring onwards. Give them a good watering. Keep the soil moist and your seeds should germinate within 16-20 days, depending on the variety.
When the seedlings are big enough to handle, thin them out by removing all but the strongest seedling, leaving roughly 2 inches between each plant. If possible, try to thin your seedlings in the evening to avoid carrot fly.
The best time to harvest carrots is from late June onwards, or when they are big enough to eat. Carrots that are still in the ground in October will need to be pulled up and stored. To keep them fresh, store your carrots in a box of sand in a cool, dry place. Check regularly and remove any rotten carrots.
Carrot root flies are one of the most common pests you’ll encounter when growing carrots. They’re attracted to the smell of crushed foliage. In order to keep carrot fly at bay, try to thin and harvest your carrots in the evening when they are less active. Building a barrier around the bed with a fine mesh or even draping the bed with a fleece can also help. Some people grow onions next to their carrots in an attempt to mask the smell of them.