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    Thin carrots you sowed earlier this spring

    Thin carrots you sowed earlier this spring

    Thin carrots you sowed earlier this spring – but this year, instead of following the traditional routine of removing all the seedlings to leave those remaining at their final 5-8cm spacings, try taking a more relaxed approach.

    However sparingly you sow, you'll always get a few seedlings coming up in clumps, or too close to their neighbours. But instead of pinching them out, let them grow on. You'll find that the very smallest get overwhelmed anyway by their neighbours: that's saved you one lot of thinning already.

    Keep an eye on them, and then when they've started to form little visible roots – around 1cm across at the shoulders is about right – pull out every other one, choosing the largest from clumps to leave the remaining seedlings more room to grow. This is a job best done in the evening, and on a still day, so the scent isn’t carried to tempt any passing carrot flies that may be about.

    This should leave your seedlings regularly spaced, with room to grow on: but don't throw the thinnings away. They're delicious eaten whole, raw in salads or sprinkled into stirfries. Then repeat this process every couple of weeks until you're harvesting full-sized carrots: no thinning, in the old-fashioned sense, required.