Carrying a bundle of freshly harvested carrots

How to grow carrots

Find out how to grow a bumper crop of tasty carrots at home, in this practical Grow Guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Do Sow in January

Do Sow in February

Do Sow in March

Do Sow in April

Do Sow in May

Do Sow in June

Do Sow in July

Do not Sow in August

Do not Sow in September

Do not Sow in October

Do not Sow in November

Do not Sow in December


Do not Harvest in January

Do not Harvest in February

Do not Harvest in March

Do not Harvest in April

Do Harvest in May

Do Harvest in June

Do Harvest in July

Do Harvest in August

Do Harvest in September

Do Harvest in October

Do Harvest in November

Do Harvest in December

  • Average Yield

    3-4kg per 3m row

  • Spacing

    5cm apart

    30cm between rows

  • Depth


You may be able to buy them from greengrocers and supermarkets at low prices throughout the year but, if you want carrots with plenty of flavour, it’s worth growing your own. Apart from the classic-shaped orange root, there’s a wide selection of carrot varieties, available in an array of unexpected colours.

There's a wide selection of carrot varieties, available in an array of unexpected colours.

Growing carrots from seed

Sowing carrot seeds
Sowing carrot seeds

Sowing and planting carrots

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.

Caring for your carrot 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. If you do choose to thin your carrot seedlings, please see our advice on how to reduce carrot root fly infestation.

Harvesting carrots
Harvesting carrots

How to harvest carrots

Lift carrots when the soil is moist, or water beforehand, to prevent them breaking off when you pull them. Water the soil again to settle it around the remaining roots.

How to store carrots

Carrots keep well for months in dry sand. First, spread a layer of sand in a box, then put in your carrots making sure they don’t touch. Cover with another layer of sand and store in a cool, dry place.

Carrots: preparation and uses

Carrots are delicious steamed, boiled or roasted, and can be grated fresh in salads.

Protecting carrots with fleece
Protecting carrots with fleece

Carrots: problem solving

Carrot fly is the most common and serious problem. The fly’s maggots eat tunnels through the carrots, ruining the crop. Choose resistant varieties such as ‘Resistafly’, ‘Flyaway’ or ‘Syrtan’. Alternatively, place a 45cm-high fine-mesh barrier around crops or cover with fleece or a similar material. Alternating a row of carrots with a row of companion plants like onions or garlic may help to mask their smell.


Growing carrots in pots

If space or soil type is a problem, you can still produce an excellent crop from seed sown in a pot that’s at least 30-45cm deep. Fill with sifted garden soil or compost such as John Innes No.2.

Carrot with leaves attached
A handful of harvested carrots
A handful of harvested carrots

Great carrot varieties to grow

  • ‘Amsterdam Forcing 3’ – produces short, cylindrical roots
  • ‘Autumn King 2’ – classic orange, late-maturing variety
  • ‘Nantes’ – sweet, perfect for slicing
  • ‘Parmex’ – a round-rooted carrot, perfect for growing in pots
  • ‘Purple Haze’ – dark purple skin surrounds the orange flesh
  • ‘Resistafly’ – resistant to carrot fly