How To Grow Carrots With Kids.
Today we’re planting our first carrots of the season. Every one of my children love nothing better, than pulling up a fresh carrot and doing their best bugs bunny impression, chomping away.
We have really heavy clay soil which isnt the best conditions for carrots. They like light, sandy soils and an area that is open and sunny.
If you have clay soil like we do,
- Digging in leaf mould in the winter helps loosen the soil.
- You could also grow stunt rooted varieties that need less soil to grow it.
- Or this year we are trying them in a raised planter we but out of recycled timber.
Carrots dont need any manure. This can more harm than good as this can cause them to go all sorts of funny shapes(forked)
We do sprinkle some ‘Blood, Fish and Bone’ fertilizer over the area before we sow seeds.
There is so many different types of carrots to choose from. Colours range from red, orange, yellow, purple, white and different shapes from ball, long, stunted etc.The kids love to get a suprise when pulling these roots up. What colour will they get.
Carrots hate being moved about so we sow seeds thinly in rows at my allotment. Make a channel (drill) in the soil about 11/2 cm deep and water it carefully.
We try to sow the carrot seed every 4cm apart so we don’t need to thin them out later. This attracts the carrot fly (Number 1 carrot pest – think evil nemisis). They smell the carrot seeds and foliage from miles away and attack on mass to devastate our poor little carrots.
Once we’ve sprinkled the seed, we cover them over with dry soil (helps keep the moisture in) This helps the seed to germinate.
At the allotment, we always cover the seeds with fine mesh to protect from carrot fly.
It’s said this pest can’t fly above 30″ but ive found that planting in raised beds doesn’t always guarantee a maggot free crop, so the mesh is a foolproof way to make sure we get juicey carrots without the tell tail black channels the carrot fly maggots make in them.
TIPS WHEN GROWING ON
- Keep watering regularly, so your carrots don’t dry out. (A sudden flush of water after a dry spell can split the roots)
- Look out for slugs and snails as they might munch your yummy carrots. Try sprinkling crushed egg shell along the row to deter the soft bodied slugs.
- Put a little soil over any carrot tops that start to pop through the soil as the light makes them turn green and bitter.
- We also sow short rooted varieties, in big plastic containers in my garden at home. This makes it easier to pull some fresh and pop them in the kids lunch boxes after a quick wash.
We have found the easiest way to check whether the carrots are ready to harvest. Run a finger around the base of the ferny leaves and have a feel at the top of the carrot. We normally try to harvest carrot around thumb thickness. This keeps the carrots sweeter)
The kids dig the carrots up with a garden fork, That way they dont chop them in half or break the carrot by pulling it up.
We leave the carrots in the ground and just pull up what we need.
It gets cold where we are, so we lay some grass clippings around the stems in the autumn so the ground doesnt freeze hard around the roots.
Carrots can be sowed from March to June and harvested from June to November. If your keen, you could sow carrots in August and cover with cloches for an early spring crop.
So that’s it! Give it a try! Carrots are so easy to grow. They are so sweet and delicious when you grow them yourself.Why not use some to make our delicious carrot cake