As the name suggests, Carrot ‘Eskimo’ is one of the most cold tolerant varieties available, coping with winter weather down to -10C when grown on lighter soils. The rich orange, cylindrical roots can be lifted late in the season or even over wintered in free draining conditions. This top quality, RHS AGM variety resists splitting and retains its flavour throughout the autumn and winter – especially if left in the ground. Height: 30cm (12″). Spread: 15cm (6″).
Companion planting: Try growing carrots with spring onions, leeks and mint, whose aromatic leaves deter carrot root fly.
Early maturing varieties:
Early varieties of carrot seed can be sown under cloches in March, or outdoors from April to July.
Should be sown outdoors from April to June.
Some varieties are suitable for forcing to produce an early crop. These can be sown under glass from November to February. Direct sow carrot seed outdoors, in a weed free, sunny position in fertile, light, well drained soil. Carrots dislike freshly manured soils so seed beds are best prepared in autumn, well in advance of spring sowings.
Sow carrot seeds thinly at a depth of 1cm (½in) in drills 30cm (12″) apart. Germination will take 10 to 20 days. When large enough to handle, thin out the seedlings within each row to 5cm (2″) apart. Where space is limited, growing carrots in containers will also produce a worthwhile crop.
Water well to encourage germination. Once germinated, carrots should be watered only when necessary to keep the soil moist as excessive water may encourage leaf growth instead of roots. During growth, the carrot roots may be earthed up to prevent green crowns developing.
Cover later carrot sowings with fleece or fine netting, and remove all thinning’s from the site to minimise carrot fly infestation. Early varieties may be lifted when required from 9 weeks onwards, while maincrops can be harvested from 12 weeks after their sowing date. Pull a single carrot first to assess the size of the roots. If the soil is dry, lifting carrots can be made easier by watering beforehand. Roots can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to 4 months.