Grow Carrots09 September 2019 Justin Russell
The difference in flavour between supermarket and homegrown is most pronounced in the humblest of vegetables- potatoes, onions and carrots.
Trust us, homegrown carrots are a revelation: sweet, spicy or earthy depending on the cultivar, but never bland.
Photo - Elena Dijour/Shutterstock.com
Carrot germination is a challenge. For the best chance of success, sow fresh seed directly into friable soil that’s low in nutrients. Dig the carrot bed with a fork to loosen the soil, sow the seed liberally into shallow furrows, barely cover with soil then wait. Carrots can take up to three weeks to germinate. A piece of shade cloth thrown over the bed helps regulate moisture levels but it’s likely you’ll still need to water every couple of days. Once the plants are up, growing is easy. Keep the bed weeded, and water the plants during day spells (if the tops wilt, add water). Before long, you’ll be pulling amazing-looking roots from the ground and marvelling at your achievements!
Carrots can be harvested from baby-size through to maturity. When you thin out in your seedling eat the baby carrots whole, then harvest as required. Don’t waste the leafy tops. They can be eaten if you fancy something different, but I throw them to my chooks as a health tonic: carrot tops make an effective worm treatment.
Forked (bifurcated) roots are generally a consequences of the soil being too hard, ot too rich. Make sure it’s loose and don’t’ add any fertiliser before sowing.
Keep an eye out for tiny black carrot flies whose larvae tunnel into the roots. Companion planting carrots with members of the allium (onion) family discourages them.
‘Paris Market’ golf ball size, orange, fast-growing and delicious, this the perfect carrot for kids to grow in less than perfect soil.
‘Purple Dragon’ a lovely heirloom with purple skin masking a spicy orange interior.
‘All Seasons’ in good soil. This standard orange variety reliably prosuces long, tapered, flavoursome roots.
‘Solar Yellow’ produces beautiful yellow carrots that are sweet and crunchy. Small root have the best flavour.;