Growing carrots from seed
Before we go any further though, please look at the photos which both show carrots being grown well above ground. This is to deter the carrot fly pest which only flies at just a few inches above ground.
1) Carrots grow best in soil which has not been recently composted, or if compost has been used it should be very well rotted otherwise the end result will look like something which has been spawned from a nuclear reactor site with lots of roots forking from the main one.
2) Carrots are grown best in a light sandy soil, so if your soil is heavy or clay based then dig in plenty of fine builder's sand, the light coloured sand is best we find. All Purpose compose which you can buy from any garden centre is perfectly OK to use, either on it's own or mixed with soil and sand. Sharp sand is excellent too.
3) You will find that some of your crop will show above ground and that part may turn green. Greening of the top of the carrot is caused by sunlight. Heavy rain can wash away the soil from carrot tops exposing them to the sun. The green colour is the chlorophyll pigment. Mound up the soil around the shoulders of the carrots to prevent exposure to the sun.
Sowing carrot seeds:
A typical packet of carrot seeds contains in the region of 2000 seeds and these can be sown in your garden in one of several ways.
1) By broadcasting: basically this means you get a handful of seed and scatter them onto your already prepared and pre-watered patch of soil. Cover them with a light coating of new soil and leave them to grow. This method means that you will have a great many shoots appearing very close together and they need to be thinned out to leave the strongest growing on to become part of your salad.
2) The more time consuming method is to dib 1 CM deep holes in the soil and drop in an individual seed. Cover and leave to grow as normal. You will still have to do some thinning out because it is a virtual impossibility to drop just 1 seed into every hole. But at least with this method most of your seeds will grow at predetermined distances away from each other.
Well, all the above should get you a good crop but there are other little things such as carrot fly which can ruin a whole crop, but we tackle that problem on one of our pages in the pests/diseases section. However, if you follow the tips below you should avoid the problem
1) Carrot flies fly close to the ground and lay their eggs near to the top of you carrots. To overcome this you need to buy some very fine insect netting which will keep them away.
2) Make a raised bed as high as you can and plant your seeds in there. As the pests only fly low they will not be able to infect your crop.
3) When you plant your carrot seeds then also plant plenty of spring onion seeds around the edges of your plot and these will help to deter the pests.