Plant a rainbow

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Carrots are nutritional heroes, and the darker (that is, the more purple) the carrot, the more antioxidants. Plant a rainbow of carrots and you’ll have your A, B and Cs (vitamins) covered.

Carrots are one of the easiest crops to grow so there’s really no excuse not to grow your own. Dig your soil over to at least 20cm and remove any stones or bark or you’ll end up with forked roots. Fresh manure also causes the roots to fork, but a generous helping of aged manure or compost is ideal.

Sow seed directly in the ground. When plants reach seedling size, thin them out so they’re about 5cm apart, to give plants room to grow.

Feeding is not necessary if your soil has enough organic material such as compost incorporated. In fact, too much nitrogen fertiliser results in leafy tops and no bottoms. Provide ample water though while the roots are developing. You can continue sowing carrots right up to early autumn.


Carrot fly is the number one pest for carrots. They’re out and about between early spring and late autumn and during this time they’re busy laying eggs in the soil right next to your carrots. The eggs, from which small larvae (like tiny white worms) emerge, hatch in 7-14 days. The larvae then make their way to the carrot, attacking the roots first, then the carrot itself. Those larvae eventually pupate and transform into another fly ready to lay more eggs. And the cycle begins again.

If you have trouble with carrot fly, cover your crop with a porous cloth that lets in air and water but keeps out bugs. Make sure there are no gaps along the ground for the flies to get in. A cover that reaches 60cm high is perfect. Carrot flies hover close to the ground and if they come across a barrier taller than about 45cm they change direction.

If you don’t have the space or you find covers cumbersome, try companion planting. Chives, rosemary and sage are said to deter carrot fly. Mulching with straw will also make it harder for carrot flies to find a spot to lay their eggs.

Practise crop rotation too, as carrot flies overwinter in the soil and emerge in spring to munch on your crop if it’s in the same spot.

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