Growing Carrots

February 10, 2009

The humble carrot

This week’s fun vegetable is the humble carrot.
So important in the kitchen that it is taken for granted, but it’s surprisingly easy to grow – and quite quick to harvest. As kids we were given a packet of carrot seed and a packet of radishes to sow together in our square yard of garden – the idea being that the radishes would come up quickly (and keep us enthused!) and as we pulled them, leave room for the carrots. It worked because I still remember the sweetness of a newly pulled up (and well-washed) carrot.
You can plant them in a surprisingly small patch, or in a container – a big clay pot amongst your flowerpots is good, as the scent of the flowers will deter the horrid carrot fly pest.
There are small round carrots and medium sized ones and they come in a surprising variety of colors from yellow through orange to an amazing dull red.
To get good results grow your carrots in a nice crumbly soil with a little general purpose fertilizer mixed well in. Under no circumstances grow them on soil which has had matured compost or manure recently added as this will cause your carrots will grow several thin useless roots instead of one nice fat one.
Make sure you always keep them well-watered, as the pretty, feathery top growth is a good indicator of how well the vegetable root is doing and it will go limp very quickly if the soil is too dry.
You can pull about half of what you have sown once they form baby carrots, and these are very pleasant in a salad.
Finally, if you like them, don’t forget to sow a few every few weeks as they can be harvested for a good many months.
You’ll be amazed at the difference in taste and satisfaction when the carrots in your kitchen were grown by your own hand!
Happy Horticulture