Growing great carrots that stand a chance of winning at shows is quite straightforward
although it does need a little more investment of time than growing them normally.
First thing is to select a variety that has the potential to do well. For stump
or ‘short’ carrots Sweet Candle is the best variety and for long carrots New Red
Intermediate is highly recommended.
Find a container at least 18-24 inches deep (deeper for long carrots) and remove
the bottom. Site it on a well drained piece of ground, I prefer well dug soil.
A plastic barrel/dustbin with the base removed or specially made beds are often
used. To get a set of three for a show you may only need to grow 5 or 6 carrots
of the above varieties if you use these methods.
Fill a the container with sharp sand and let it settle for a time. Bore out conical
holes in the sand about 4 inches wide at the top and 20 inches or so deep for stump
carrots and at least twice as deep for long carrots. Mix some multi-purpose compost
with a little extra fertiliser and perhaps a little fine calcified seaweed. Use
this to fill the holes tamping down carefully to avoid air pockets.
Plant 3 or 4 seeds at each station. When they geminate select the largest and remove
the others. If you plant in March preferably with some protection such as fleece
and they will be ready for the Ainsdale show in early July Keep them reasonably
well watered and watch them grow away. If they push their ‘shoulders out of the
compost cover them up to stop them going green.
The day before the show carefully remove the sand from around their tops and then
flood with water and twist slightly pulling steadily to remove them . If you are
careful and gentle they should come out with a good thin root at the end. Then carefully
cut off the leaves as recommended by the show schedule .
By the way these large carrots make good eating with a mild sweet flavour.