Carrot Autumn King
Carrots are very productive, producing lots to eat for the space they take up, so they're well worth including in your plot.
Autumn King is a late maturing variety that stores well to give you a supply through the Autumn and Winter. One to include if you've got a big plot, and you're already growing quick maturing chantenay red cored.
Time from seed to plate: 16 weeks
Carrot seeds need to be sown direct in the ground. Work the soil in the area where you're going to sow until it's loose and crumbly. Then stretch out a taut length of string along your veg bed. Run a trowel, or corner of a rake along the string to create a shallow drill about half an inch deep. Now sprinkle in seeds leaving about half an inch between them. Firm back the soil and water.
Once the seedlings emerge get some organic slug killer down. The succulent seedlings will be a prime target. Once the plants have reached an inch or so tall, thin to 1-2 inches between plants to give the roots space to swell.
Only water your carrots if it's very dry. This way you'll be encouraging them to send down long tasty roots.
Carrots can attract an annoying pest called the Carrot Fly whose larvae can burrow holes through your carrots. The environmentally friendly way of dealing with it is to cover with micromesh netting. Just lay it over the plants and peg in. It's so light the plants will just push it upwards as they grow.
Your first carrot will be pickable about 16 weeks after sowing. If you're growing chantenay red cored as well, leave the autumn king ones in the ground. They'll sit quite happily there - even through the winter in the south.
When you pick them work your way along the row, pull out the biggest, then press back the soil to encourage the smaller ones to grow on.