Small carrots

Question ...

Why do our carrots always end up small? We have been trying to grow Carrots for 42 years and the largest have been as big as your thumb. Before we changed to organic 30 years ago they grew as large as a matchstick. What can we do? We have tried many varieties. All other plants grow well.

Answer ...

Carrots can be difficult to grow if the soil conditions are not right.

Carrots do best on a medium to light, stone free soil in a sunny, open sit. The pH range should be between 6.5-7.5. They do not do well in heavy soil and germination will be affected if a green manure crop has been grown and dug in recently. They are not heavy feeders and usually grow well on soil manured for a previous years crop.

Sow the seed thinly and thin to three inches apart for larger roots. Keep weed-free by hoeing between rows. Water well in dry weather. The main pest is carrot fly. Growing carrots under a cover of horticultural fleece will give protection against this problem.

Some carrot cultivars only produce short, stubby carrots. They are more suitable if the soil is heavy. For a longer root try something like 'James Scarlet Intermediate' or 'Flakkee'. Both of these varieties are available from the Organic Gardening Catalogue.

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