Newest Review: ... grow their own carrots, and I have grown them many times in a tub on my patio. Carrots need a fine, sandy soil, and will not grow well in ... more
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Member Name: clairestevens
Advantages: Fairly easy to grow and taste delicious
Disadvantages: Suseptible to carrot fly
Carrots are a great way to start growing your own vegetables. They are fairly easy and if you harvest them while they're still fairly small you only have to wait 12 weeks between planting and harvesting. They are very nutritious and are a good source of vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K as well as potassium.
Carrots do best in a bed, but can also be grown in containers. Either way, they like free draining soil that is fairly loose, so that they can push down and create a nice long root. If you do grow in containers, you will need to use something at least 25cm deep.
There are a lot of varities of carrot you could try. Amsterdam are fairly slim carrots and are quick to mature. Paris Market are small and round, also quick to mature. Autumn Long are large, late maturing carrots. I've had success with these varieties and would recommend them. If you fancy something a bit more unusual, there are different coloured carrots you could try, from yellows to purple and red.
To get a continuous harvest, start sowing carrots in the early spring, but be aware that they need a temperature of around 8C to germinate. Stagger further sowings every couple of weeks until summer to get a harvest of carrots right through until early winter. Sow the seed 1cm deep and thin to around 7cm after a few weeks (the thinnings can be used in salads).
Carrots need watering regularly so that the roots don't split, but be careful not to over water as this will promote leafy growth at the expense of root formation. Similarly, do not use plant food on your carrot crop for the same reason. Carrots should not be planted in recently manured or composted soil - leave it until the following year before planting on these sites.
Carrot fly can be a problem and they are attracted by the smell of the foliage. To avoid this problem, plant French Marigolds, lavender or parsley near your carrots. I'm not sure if the strong smell puts the carrot fly off, or they just lose their way to the carrots, but it seems to work.
Carrots are best served freshly harvested. They can be roasted in tin foil in a hot oven for half an hour with a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper. They can be steamed (especially good when you have harvested them young). A good way of serving them raw is to serve them with water cress, mustard and cress in a salad. Mix the vegetables together in a large bowl and dress with a lemon vinaigrette.
Summary: Worth a try