Carrot Chantenay Red Cored
No veg plot seems quite complete without a couple of rows of carrots. They grow well providing you haven't got really stony soil, and you can pack them in close to one another, producing a bumper crop from a small space.
One pest you will need to contend with is Carrot Fly. The only sure-fire way of dealing with it is to cover your plants with micromesh netting.
Time from seed to plate: 12 weeks
Carrots can be sown directly in your soil anytime from April to July. Lay a narrow piece of wood across your bed and drag a trowel along the edge of it to create a shallow groove in the soil about 1/2in deep. Sprinkle in the seeds aiming for one every half inch or so. Don't be tempted to chuck more in otherwise you'll have a time-consuming thinning job on your hands in 2 weeks!
Once the seedlings emerge get some organic slug killer down. These succulent seedlings will be a prime target. Once the plants have reached an inch or so tall, thin to 1-2in 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.
Chantenay Red Cored is a fast growing variety of carrot, so it should only take about ten weeks from sowing till you can harvest your first baby carrots. Work your way along the row, pull out the biggest, then press back the soil to encourage the smaller ones to grow on.