While reading the ‘Kitchen Gardens of Heligan’ I made an amazing discovery. It seems that the popular idea that carrots like sandy soil is a myth. They don’t! They just like soil that doesn’t have any stones in it and generally sandy soils are devoid of stones hence the begining of the myth. So, if you can afford a small army of boys to pick out all the stones in your soil (as the Victorians did) or you fancy doing it yourself then you can practically grow carrots anywhere.
Yep! As a newbie to growing veg, I just went on ahead and sowed some carrots in a heavy clay soil. We did spend a while raking out the stones (but only to get a fine seed bed0. We got a really good crop that we are still working our way through. Sometimes being naive isn’t always a disadvantage, just most of the time. Al
It’s great being new – a friend of mine is just starting out and I told her to chuck everything in an see what grows. If it doesn’t grow you’ve probably done something wrong and you can find out what by the time next year comes round – instant expert!
How interesting… and there was me, carefully mixing sand into my potting compost when I grew carrots in a container last year. They were lovely and straight, but I’m guessing that had nothing to do with my efforts with the sand then.
I’ll have a go at growing them without bothering with the sand this year in that case. I too have a heavy clay soil but it will have had copious amounts of tlc with stones removed etc before planting so I suppose it should be ok.
Great tip – thanks!
Thanks! Just included carrots in my seed order this weekend. I will need to riddle out the stones (again!) & no doubt some bits of glass from the greenhouse that smashed in christmas gales about 8 years ago, that still appears at the end of each winter -otherwise will they grow ready sliced?
for baby carrots on Christmas day(if you have greenhouse) sow seeds late sept early Oct in a bucket filled with soil or sand/compost mix(I do this with potatoes too)
Update: I have to say that even though carrots don’t require sandy soil per se, they do require good drainage.
I live in Guernsey (Channel Islands uk) and much of the Island used to grow sand potatoes very succesfully!
I’m giving it a go for christmas this year and will let you know how I get on
In France you can buy “carrottes de sable” (carrots of sand, lit.) in the supermarkets as well as the normal ones. We tried both and found that the sand carrots definitely have a better flavour (apart from being straight, not forked – or even “rude” etc).