Carrots come in shapes and colours other than long and orange – look out for round carrots, as well as unusual colours such as red, yellow and even purple.
They can be grown in containers if you are short on space, or your soil is stony or heavy clay. Sow regularly for prolonged cropping.They freeze and store well too, but like most vegetables, taste best freshly picked from the garden.
Carrots require an open, sunny site and fertile well-drained soil. If your soil is stony, shallow or heavy clay, you may end up with stunted or forked carrots, so try short-rooted types. These also suit containers.
Early cultivars can be sown in February or March under cloches or with similar protection. The main outdoor sowing season is from April to early July. Seed packets will state whether the cultivar is an early or maincrop type.
Sow 1cm (½in) deep in rows 15cm-30cm (6-12in) apart. By sowing thinly you can avoid thinning out. Aim for plants 5-7.5cm (2-3in) apart. Thin if needed at the seedling stage.