Carrots

Family: Apiaceae

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Carrots, also known by their botanical name of Daucus carota, are an easy to grow, delicious root vegetable.  There are a wide range of carrot cultivars available for gardeners to grow, from the more regularly seen orange coloured carrots, to red, purple, white, or yellow coloured carrots.  I enjoy the subtle differences in the taste and texture of the carrots of each colour variation.  Some carrot varieties are sweeter and more flavourful than others.

There are many other differences between the carrot cultivars available and the range of carrot seeds we can buy.  We can grow many different shapes and sizes of carrots.  The seed of some cultivars produce short, round rooted carrots ideal for container growing; other cultivars produce slightly longer, stump rooted carrots.  There are seeds that will produce carrots of a medium size, other cultivars produce regular sized carrots, thicker rooted or thinner carrots; as well as incredibly long carrots that could grow to record breaking lengths!  The soil, sowing time, growing conditions, and harvest time will all affect the eventual size and shape of each carrot sown but you need to select a cultivar that will generate the colour, shape, size, and taste you’re looking for.

Carrots don’t transplant at all well.  This vegetable is best sown directly where they will grow to full size and be harvested.  Carrots can’t be moved.

Grow carrots in a bright and sunny, or partially shaded site, in any well drained soil.  Carrots can be successfully grown in the soil, or in a peat-free compost, in containers.

For optimum results, (in the UK) most carrots are best sown from March to the end of May (early spring until late spring), but depending on the carrot cultivar and the growing conditions, sowings in June or July may also be successful.  Seeds can be sown earlier or later than this, but most carrot cultivars are best sown during the optimum spring sowing window.

The number one problem for carrots is a pest called Carrot Fly (Psila rosae).  These flies lay their eggs at the base of carrot plants; the larvae emerge and begin feasting on carrot roots, beneath the soil.  It’s easy to avoid Carrot Fly – cover your plants with a finely woven protective barrier, like Enviromesh immediately after sowing.

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