Carrots are one example of a vegetable I always deliberate over whether to grow or not. They can be problematic and are prone to carrot fly, but once you have tasted the very intense flavour you get from home grown carrots, that’s normally enough to sway my decision in favour of growing my own. Carrots are normally sown directly into the ground and require a light well drained soil, so using containers to grow them in is an ideal alternative.
Another good reason for growing carrots in a container is that when grown in the ground, carrots can be easily distorted by stones or large clumps of soil acting as obstructions. They are also prone to attack by carrot fly, but if you use a large container or place it about two feet off the ground, it will help deter them as carrot fly normally only travels low down.
Choosing a container
Choose a container that is not too shallow to allow the carrots to put down good roots. It size will depend on how many carrots you want to harvest, but for a good crop you will need a fairly large pot or even several. The material is also important. Although terracotta looks nice, it heats up quickly and therefore loses a lot of moisture and you will find yourself needing to water more often. In my opinion a good sized plastic pot does the job nicely.
Sowing the carrots
Fill your chosen container with multi-purpose compost and water well. Empty around half of a packet of carrot seed into a small container of either sand or vermiculite. Mixing the seed in this way will help you with an even distribution as carrot seed is very small and easy to over sow. Once you have sprinkled your seed on top of the compost, cover the top with a thin layer of compost. Even if you are careful when sowing carrot seed, you will find that once the seed emerges, you will need to thin out the seedlings. Keep your carrots well watered and within a few weeks you should be able to start harvesting delicious baby carrots.
There are many varieties of carrot to choose from. If you are baffled by choice, I would always plump for Marion or Resistafly. Marion is suitable for all year round growing and the roots are very tender. Resistafly is a main crop carrot with a good resistance to carrot fly as its name suggests. All can be grown successfully in garden planters.
Jo Poultney is one of two people behind Garden Planters. I have an RHS general certificate in horticulture. Garden Planters source unusual outdoor and indoor planters, and other garden related gifts – whatever your taste, be it traditional, modern or just a bit quirky, we will have something for you. I believe garden planters are an integral part of any garden – they enhance the overall design and say a little something about the person to whom the garden belongs. If you would like to know more about Garden Planters, visit our website at http://www.gardenplantersshop.co.uk
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