Cultivation Carrots do best in deep, well-cultivated sandy loam, preferably well-manured for the previous crop. Fresh manure causes forking and excessive top growth. Apply a good compound fertilizer 7-10 days prior to sowing. This may be a fish meal or 3 parts of superphosphate, 2 parts of sulfate of potash, and 1 part of sulfate of ammonia, applied at 85g (3oz) per sq m (sq yd). Sow early crops thinly in drills 6mm (.25in) deep and 23cm (9in) apart from November onwards in heat or under cloches in January or February as soon as the soil is workable. Thin the seedlings as required, using the young roots as they become fit for use.
Outdoor sowing may begin in early March or when the ground is suitably dry. Successive sowings of short-horn and stump-rooted types made at three-week intervals until the middle of June provide a continuous supply of young carrots throughout the summer. Make drills for the main crop 12mm (0.5in) deep and 3040cm (12-15in) apart. Postpone sowings of the main crop for storing until late May or June when carrot fly is troublesome. Thin main crop to 5cm (2in) when the seedlings are large enough to handle, finally thinning to 16cm (6in). As a precaution against carrot fly, draw soil towards the rows after thinning, and a mixture of pathogenic nematodes. Lift for the winter stores in October.
Carefully lift the roots with a fork and cut the tops to 12mm (0.5in) above the root. Store in layers of dry sand or ash in a cool shed or where the quantity is large, use the clamp method as for potatoes. The store must not be damp or soft rot will result. Where cloches or frames are available, make a sowing of a stump-rooted variety in August out-of-doors and place the cloches in position in October for pulling November and December. Hoe throughout the season to keep down weeds and to keep the soil surface crumbly. Careful watering throughout the season obviates root cracking which occurs when a period of drought is followed by heavy rain. As a result, slugs and millipedes find their way into the root and are blamed for the severe damage. With good crop rotation and cultivation, there should be little difficulty with pests or diseases.
Among the reliable varieties are:
Earliest French Horn and Early Nates.
Stump-rooted: Red Coned Early Market.
Intermediate: St. Valery.
Main crop: James’s Scarlet Intermediate.