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Home grown carrots are absolutely delicious. They're like nothing you can buy in the supermarket and are well worth growing. There are various different varieties that crop up different times of the year and are different types of carrots for different purposes. But the most important thing to remember is that carrots like to grow in a light, sandy soil. So if your soil is a little heavy, then you're best sticking to the shorter-rooted varieties. Carrots like sun, but they will grow in some light shade. A week before planting the carrots, add a general purpose fertilizer like fish, blood and bone meal and rake it lightly into the surface. Carrots also grow really well in containers. Make sure that the containers are at least 12" deep. You can sow carrots from February to March onwards, but they will need to be protected with some fleece or a cloche. If you start planting in April, then they won't need any protection at all. Keep sowing the carrots up until July. Sow the carrots thinly to reduce the need for thinning later. Sow the carrot seeds on a sunny dry day. The seeds should be sown in drills, or rows, shallow, about 1" deep and each row 6" apart. If you're having trouble sowing the seeds thinly, mix them in with some sharp sand. This helps with thinner sowing and also helps with drainage. When the carrot seedlings start to show, when they've got about 2" of top growth, thin them to around about 2" apart. Be careful not to cut through the roots, if you're using a hoe. It's actually better to use a fork and to hand weed between the plants. Give them a liquid feed while they're growing to help the roots swell. The main threat to your carrot crop is the dreaded carrot root fly. There's no preventative measure for them other than to erect a barrier around your plants. Carrot root fly are very low flying, so they won't fly much above a foot. So if you put something up, like a fine mesh, up to 2' in height, this stops the flies getting to the carrots. What they do is lay their eggs on top of the carrots and the maggots burrow down into your carrots, so as the carrots may look pristine when you pull them, when you cut them open, they're just a mass of little tunnels and they're completely inedible. So, those are my tips on getting great carrots. Good Luck! Linsey Evans offers tips on growing carrots from seed in your garden and how to avoid common pitfalls when planting this remarkable vegetable.
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