Carrot crop sheet

Information sheet

These are our top tips on how to grow carrots. They are tasty vegetables that can be grown in both spring and summer terms.

  • School term: Late Spring, Early Summer, Late Summer
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Science

Sowing

When: March to July

  1. Prepare the soil by removing as many stones as you can where you would like the carrots to grow.
  2. Make a drill (channel) in the soil 2cm deep, using a measurement stick or bamboo cane to keep it straight.
  3. Taking a pinch of seeds at a time, sprinkle them along the drill evenly and thinly until you have continuous row of seeds.
  4. Cover the seeds with soil and firm the soil with the back of a trowel before watering them, taking care not to disturb the soil too much.
  5. Label the row, then make another drill 20cm away and do the same again.

Growing

  • When the seedlings are about 4cm tall, thin them out carefully so that there is about 5cm between each one.
  • When they are growing or disturbed (for example, from thinning) carrots attract a pest called carrot fly. This fly can only fly up to 50cm off of the ground so you can grow carrots in raised beds, build a barrier taller than 50cm around your crop or grow a more resistant variety (with some that aren't as resistant growing nearby to attract the flies away from your main crop).

Harvesting

When: 12 to 14 weeks after sowing

  • After 12 weeks, the carrots should be a decent size for cooking and eating. Generally smaller carrots are more tender and sweeter than those that are larger.
  • Water the soil well to make pulling the roots easier.
  • Use a fork to losen the soil to one side of the carrot plant, then gently pull up the roots.
  • Leaving them in the ground until you need them is a good way to store carrots and extend the amount of time you have them available.

Using

  • Orange carrots can be used to make a natural orange dye.
  • Save the tops of your carrots to grow leaves and seeds by using our Saucer Veg activity.

Varieties to try

  • 'Parmex' - a short-rooted carrot with round root
  • Flyaway - has sweet orange roots and a good resistance to carrot fly
  • 'Purple Haze' F1 - produces smooth, heavy roots with deep purple skins and orange cores

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