Q&As/Root Vegetables/Growing Carrots

Question

My carrots this year are short and thin. I've thinned them out and I use compost in my garden. I do plant them in the same place each season, is this the problem or could there be something else?

Answer

Preparing the soil well for carrots before planting is the key to a perfect crop. They prefer light, fertile, peaty, well drained soil, so their roots can penetrate deeply and swell. By planting them in the same spot each year, you are depleting the soil of the same nutrients each time. A simple remedy to fix your problem would be to move them to a different site. This will also help avoid the build up of diseases in the soil. Be sure the soil in the new site has been well prepared and has good drainage. Remember to remove any stones, old roots or anything else in the soil that will get in the carrot roots way, as this can result in the root growing around the obstruction into a strange shape. Carrots can be produced better when soil is mounded up after germination; as well as not planting them too close together. Thin seedlings out to stop overcrowding.

However, if you are unable to plant in a different location, then you will need to improve the existing site’s soil dramatically to ensure a good crop. Enrich it by add a good quality soil mix such as Daltons Garden Mix or Daltons Vegetable Mix, and compost. This will give the soil a much needed boost and help with drainage. Carrots are relatively easy to look after and only need regular watering to keep them growing rapidly.

Top tip: Sow seeds carrots directly into the garden as they don’t like being transplanted or having their roots disturbed.

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