How to grow carrots
You can be harvesting, sweet, crisp, vitamin-rich carrots for most of the year round with a mixture of different types of seed. The two main groups that carrot varieties belong to are long-rooted and short-rooted.
Long-rooted carrots are the typical looking carrot with a long, tapered shape. They take a little longer to grow and their flavor is a little sweeter than shorter varieties. They also seem to grow better when planted in rows.
Short-rooted varieties are quicker to mature and can be grown in a variety of locations, such as pots, tubs, raised beds, even window boxes.
You can enjoy your crop at any time but they are sweetest and best harvested when they reach full maturity. For continuous cropping, plant both long and short rooted varieties so they mature at different times.
Prepare the bed
Begin by preparing the bed well before planting. With your spade dig to a depth of at least 12 inches (30cm). Remove all debris and rocks and break up all the clods of dirt. Fork in a good layer (a bit over an inch (3cm) of well-rotted compost to help improve drainage. Rake over to create an even surface and to remove any missed rocks etc.
Soak the carrot seeds
Before planting soak the carrot seeds in water overnight. Mix the seeds with equal parts of sand, this will help the seed distribute evenly when you scatter the mixture over the surface of the prepared bed at planting time.
Sow the seeds
Sow the carrot seeds as soon as the soil has warmed in early spring. Sow them in rows or scatter the seeds over narrow beds. Continue to sow them every seven to ten days until hot summer weather sets in. This will ensure a continuous harvest.
Sprinkle with soil
Sprinkle a fine layer of soil over the seeds. Water with a fine spray. If birds are a problem, cover the bed with landscape fabric to protect the seeds and give them time to germinate. Remove the landscape fabric when new growth appears.
Water the bed deeply on a regular basis. Once the seedlings have emerged, thin out every other one. Then after several weeks, thin the carrots again so the mature ones are spaced about 2-3 inches (5-8cm) apart.
Harvest the carrots
You can harvest the carrots at any time, although they have the most flavor when they reach maturity. Mature carrots have the darkest green foliage. Don’t leave the carrots in the ground too long past maturity or they will become woody.
Mulch late-maturing carrots to protect the crop from the onset of frosts. This will ensure you keep harvesting them into the early winter months. You can also sow seeds indoors in a pot. Space them 2 inches (5cm) apart and cover the pot with plastic to help the seeds to sprout. Remove the plastic after they begin to grow.
Watch out for weevils
Vegetable weevil has larvae that eats a wide range of vegetables and weeds in late autumn and winter. The adults attack in spring and can chew away the leaves of carrots. Weed removal and crop rotation will keep these pests at bay. If severe infestation is present, spray cut weeds with carbaryl and spread them amongst the plants.