Growing carrots in the UK is composed of planting, maintenance, and harvesting. There are some practices that you must meet with these steps unique to the UK because of the country’s conditions. According to the Royal Horticultural Society UK, the USDA hardiness zones range from 4b to 10b, which means the country’s climate is arid in some parts.
Still, it’s feasible to grow carrots in the UK by complying with the requirements for the crop’s optimum growth and health. In the UK, farmers sow 1,000,000 seeds per acre. Regardless of planting on a large scale or small scale, read down below on how to make your UK carrot farm a fruitful endeavour.
How To Grow Carrots In the UK?
Plants grow best if the climate in the region is similar to their hardiness. Since the hardiness zones of carrots are from 3 to 10, it is possible to grow them in the UK’s 4 to 10 zones. However, please note that even though they are hardy, prolonged exposure to extreme cold can affect carrot health.
An excellent planting strategy to keep harvesting quality carrots is by using a polytunnel. Refer to Krostrade.com and learn more about polytunnel gardening. This ensures that you consistently get a high yield of quality vegetables because you’ve blocked exposure to extreme outdoor conditions and challenges.
Growing carrots in the UK
The best time to plant carrots in the UK is from August through April since they grow best in early spring and late autumn. Choose an area that will receive 6 to 8 hours of full sun with well-drained sandy soil. Sow the seeds at half an inch deep, and you can have a continuous harvest if you plant every three weeks.
Growing carrots in the polytunnel will protect them from extreme temperatures that can cause discolouration. The ideal temperature for them is the cold conditions in spring to autumn or 75°F at day and 55°F at night. Carrots will take up to 21 days to sprout.
When it comes to maintenance, water the sprouts regularly to encourage continuous growth, the seeds will also not germinate in dry soil, so remember to keep them moist for ten days after planting. It would help if you thinned the seedlings using scissors 3 inches apart to create enough room for each crop as they reach maturity.
For feeding, two tablespoons of fertiliser per 10 feet of the row are enough. The Texas A & M University recommends fertilising the carrots again when they reach 8 inches in height. And like with any plants, address pests and weeds early on.
The key takeaway in harvesting carrots in the UK is that you want to do it before summer comes. The heat can damage the carrots if you leave them in the ground in this condition. However, it’s important to note that it’s best to leave carrots in the field until they turn vibrant in colour.
This means that they are ready to eat, and you’ll notice that the top of the roots is about an inch in diameter. In terms of storage, long carrots are suitable for storing, while fresh consumption of the shorter ones is best. And since carrots are biennial, expect to wait two seasons before they flower.
Depending on the variety, you might be ready to harvest your vegetables in 60 days. Leaving them longer can lead to more giant carrots, but their flavour may also diminish. It’s a good practice to sow carrots every three weeks from spring to summer, so you don’t lose flavour for long.
Can You Grow A Carrot From A Carrot?
You can grow a carrot from a carrot in the sense that you’ll be using the carrot tops. This is because the vegetable part is the plant’s taproot, and you can’t use it to regrow carrots. On the bright side, the amount you usually throw away, which are the tops, can grow into a carrot.
There are many ways to grow a new plant from the carrot tops. The easiest method is by growing them in water. It’s as simple as using an inch of the root and then balancing it on top of a small glass with water.
How Long Does It Take To Grow A Carrot In the UK?
In the UK, growing carrots can take 60 to 100 days. As mentioned earlier, these crops are biennial, so it takes two growing seasons before they mature. However, harvesting carrots at the end of the first growing season is possible when the roots turn thick and long.
If you didn’t harvest the vegetables, the carrots could use the nutrients on the ground for the following year. The crops will grow back in spring if you leave them over winter. And in the autumn, the plants will die after they seed.
How Many Carrots Do You Get From a Plant?
One carrot top can yield six to seven stumps. If you’re planting in rows, you can harvest up to 10 pounds of carrots. On the other hand, using a foot square planter allows the harvest of up to 40 carrots.
What Vegetables Grow Best In Kent?
Artichokes grow well in Kent. They grow best in the autumn in an area that receives afternoon shade. Watering them is crucial, and according to farmers, it’s natural for artichokes to look dead during the summer.
You can plant basil in Kent during the autumn or winter. You can also grow this herb alongside oregano and rosemary in the polytunnel, as high heat can slow down its growth. Additionally, basil is annual, so expect to replant every year.
Kent provides suitable conditions for broccoli. It is an easy crop, and you can harvest it in spring if you plant it in fall. Remember to place broccoli in an area that receives sun.
Chilis and peppers
Spring and autumn in Kent are excellent for hot and sweet peppers. They are not suitable for extreme hot or cold, so planting them in a polytunnel is a sensible practice. You can plant them in early March or the autumn.
Dill is full of benefits, and it is easy to grow in Kent. You can start it in early spring, and you’ll get an abundant harvest because it grows fast. Once summer comes, you’ll notice that your plant got taller.
A viable summer crop for the UK climate is eggplant. However, do note that frost can damage them. The best time to plant eggplants is in March.
You can plant healthy greens like spinach in Kent in the autumn. You can harvest it in spring, and maintenance is not even meticulous. Besides spinach, swiss chard also grows well in this area.
Farming and gardening in the UK require additional practices to protect the crops against extreme conditions. If you’re interested in growing carrots in the UK, it’s essential to understand every step from planting, maintenance, and harvesting. Carrots are biennial, so expect to wait two seasons before they flower.
Other than carrots, the UK can also grow artichokes, basil, broccoli, chilis and peppers, dill, eggplants, and spinach. Most of them will even grow better in a polytunnel since indoors will protect them from high heat and frost. Overall, planting in the UK is straightforward as long as you plan.