How to crop the perfect carrots
Hannah Stephenson reveals how to crop the perfect carrots
Maincrop carrots can now be sown outside directly into the ground, for lifting in September and October.
Sow thinly in rows 30cm apart in deep, fertile and sandy soil, or if your soil is heavy or stony, go for short-rooted varieties. Carrots like being in the sunshine and the ground should be dug in autumn but don’t add manure or compost.
Thin out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle, leaving the remaining plants around 5-8cm (2-3in) apart. Thin in the evening as the smell of the bruised seedlings will attract carrot fly, and their grubs ruin the roots.
Damage can be minimised by intercropping them with onions or covering them with a fine mesh. Water when the ground is dry and once established keep weeds down by hand-weeding.
Carrots can be pulled up as required from around September or October, when they can be stored in boxes between layers of sand in a dry, cool shed. Good maincrop varieties include ‘Autumn King’, which are stump-rooted and will stay in the soil over winter, and ‘Flyaway’, which is resistant to carrot fly.
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