Carrots are one of the easiest crops to grow. Carrots come in two different varieties; early and maincrop. Early varieties are ready within 12 weeks while the maincrop varieties are ready within 16, however the maincrop varieties are better for storage.
Carrots grow well in light, sandy, fertile soil. Ideally you want to start preparing your soil in late winter, early spring by digging over the bed and removing any stones you may find. The texture of your soil needs to be fine and crumbly.
Start by making a drills roughly 1 inch deep and 12 inches between each row from mid-spring onwards. Sow your seeds thinly along the drills, cover with soil and give them a good watering. Keep the soil moist and your seeds should germinate with 16-20 days depending on the variety. Early sowings will benefits from some protection from either a fleece or cloche.
When the seedlings are big enough to handle, thin them out leaving roughly 2 inches between each seedling. If possible, try to thin your seedlings in the evening to avoid carrot fly.
Carrots should be ready to harvest from late June onwards or when they are big enough to eat. Carrots that are still in the ground in October will need to be pulled up and stored. Store your carrots in a box of sand in a cool, dry place. Check regularly and remove any rotten carrots.
Carrot fly is probably the most common pest you will encounter with carrots. They are attracted to the smell of the crushed foliage. To try and prevent carrot fly, try to thin and harvest your carrots in the evening when they are less active. Erecting a barrier around the bed with a fine mesh or even covering the bed with a fleece can also help.