Growing carrots from seed
Sowing and planting
There are generally two types of carrot to choose from – early varieties, which are sown in spring and ready to pick about 10 weeks later, and late varieties, which can be sown from the end of spring and are ready to lift in about 14-16 weeks.
The main sowing season is late March to June, but earlier and later sowings are worth it if you can protect them fleece or a cloche.
Good soil preparation is essential. Fork it thoroughly to break up lumps and remove as many stones as possible. Carrots prefer a light, well-drained but moisture-retentive soil, so it's also worth adding some well-rotted organic matter.
For best results, sow carrots directly into the ground. Make a seed drill (shallow trench) about 1cm deep using the edge of a hoe or trowel. Sow the seeds thinly along the bottom of the drill about 5-8cm apart. Cover them with soil, and water well using a watering can with a rose attached. You can also grow carrots in containers.
To extend your cropping period, sow seeds successionally at two-week intervals. You can also sow a selection of varieties that will crop at different times over the season.
Tending the crop
Carrots don’t require too much care. Aim to keep the soil around them weed free, although once the carrots start to grow strongly their foliage will shade out most weeds. Water occasionally.
Thinning out seedlings not only wastes time, it can also attract destructive carrot root fly. These pests detect the smell of crushed foliage when you pull the carrots up. So aim to sow your carrot seeds thinly to avoid having to handle the young plants.