Grow Your Own Carrots In Pots And Containers
Enjoying The Benefits Of Carrots Home Grown In Pots And Containers
Carrots are a popular stable in home cooked meals and they are relatively cheap to buy in the shops. So why grow your own? The answer is taste. If you have ever tried home grown carrots, you will know that the taste is a million times better than those sold in the shops. You realise you have been eating a poor imitation of the real taste of carrots once you have tried carrots fresh from your garden. Just pulling a carrot from the compost will reward you with a beautiful smell that will get your taste buds excited. The foliage of carrots is attractive, which is another reason why they are well suited to pots. Even if your garden or outdoor space is small, they will not look out of place mixed in with decorative plants within view of the house.
Growing carrots is simple and easy which makes them popular vegetable garden plants, and they are perfectly suited to being grown in pots and containers. Carrots do not like compacted soil which makes them ideal plants to grow in pots and containers where loose compost can be further loosened with the adding of some sharp sand if required. Carrots like to stretch their roots down deep, so go for the deepest pots you have, ideally 30cm, to keep them happy and allow them to grow to their full potential. If you don’t have deep pots or containers, choose baby salad or round varieties that require less depth.
Getting carrot seeds to germinate. Carrots do not like germinating in cold weather, and may take longer to do so, but sowing them in spring and choosing different varieties should ensure you can harvest long into the year. Either broadcast sow the seeds or in rows if you prefer but don't worry too about sowing too many as it's better to maximise the use of the limited space in the container. You can always thin the seedlings if required. It may be worth giving them some protection if the weather turns cold, in the form of some garden fleece covering the pots. If you want to have carrots for salads, it is best to harvest them when they are young, about 12 weeks from sowing. They will unlikely need any peeling, just a good wash.
The benefits of inter-cropping and protection. It's actually a good idea to grow carrots amongst other plants, especially those that give off strong scents, as this will help to protect the carrots. The main pest of carrots is carrot fly. This pest leaves carrots riddled with black holes, making them unsuitable for the plate. The fly is attracted to carrots by the scent, so masking the carrots amongst other plants will help to protect it. Also, when harvesting some of the carrots, try not to disturb the foliage of the ones left, minimising the smell that attracts the flies. Though less attractive, covering the carrots with fleece between the end of spring and during summer will help prevent carrot fly destroying your crops. If all else fails, try elevating your pots above a metre high. Carrot fly is low flying so will have difficulty reaching them.
Growing conditions. Carrots thrive in hot weather. They will tolerate dry conditions but do not let the compost completely dry out or you may have your carrots splitting. Don't worry if your growing area is affected by shade. Carrots can still be successfully grown in areas with limited hours of direct sunlight, though will take longer to mature. Try to avoid over-watering as this tends to lead to lots of healthy foliage but at the expense of the carrots. When pulling the carrots, try to have the compost slightly wet so that you can pull out the carrots that are ready without disturbing the ones which need more time to grow. Again remember, try to be careful that you create minimal disturbance to avoid attracting the carrot fly.
Carrots are easy to grow and will happily thrive in pots. And though not expensive to buy, those bought in shops are a world away from the quality of your own home grown beauties. Plus, growing your own means you can try different and unusual varieties that you can't find in your local supermarket or store. Good reasons for growing your own!