Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Carrot plans

First, the answers to yesterday's Herb quiz:
A: Lemon Balm
B: Marjoram
C: (Moroccan) Mint
D: Oregano
E: Thyme
F: Rosemary
G: (Green) Sage
H: Thyme
I: (Purple) Sage
J: Winter Savory
K: Bay
L: Summer Savory
M: (Green) Basil
N: (Bush) Basil
O: (Bronze) Fennel
P: (Variegated) Sage
Q: Chervil

Did you get them all right?? There were two Thyme pictures. I'm afraid I don't know what varieties they are, but I just noticed that their leaves were very different. You probably also noticed the three types of Sage, which we all tend to know simply by the name of their colour.

Notice the absence of Parsley. Regular readers will understand the reason for this!


Now, the main thing I want to write about today is carrots. In the past I have had major problems with growing carrots. Despite all my efforts, they were always riddled with the grubs of Carrot Root Fly - even when I sowed the allegedly resistant varieties "Flyaway" and "Resistafly".

Having read that the adult Carrot Root Fly general flies very low above ground level, (allegedly seldom above 45cm) I experimented last year with growing my carrots "at altitude" as it were. I chose some seeds of very small "finger" type carrots and sowed them in an old plastic washing-up bowl:

And I kept the bowl in the tall wooden planter which sits outside our kitchen window, so the bowl was about a metre or so above ground level.

Carrots (centre) with Purple Sage and Maskotka tomato
This arrangement went on to produce some excellent carrots, and the Carrot Root Fly only found them right at the end of the season after I had harvested most of them.

This year I am using this method again, but with a deeper and rather more "tasteful" container - a black plastic storage box purchased from Tesco for the princely sum of £1.97. I bought a couple of them because I wanted one for some Strawberry plants too.

So here they are in place - Strawberry plants nearest camera.

The carrots are a variety called "Mini Finger". The first batch was sown on 11 March and took about three weeks to germinate.

Not very impressive yet, but I'm hopeful that they will do at least as well as last year.

I read the other day on Jo's blog The Good Life that she had last year successfully grown carrots in an old bath, so I think maybe this idea of elevating the carrots above flying height may be the best way to go. Have any of you ever grown carrots in hanging baskets?


  1. I have grown my carrots this way for the last three years without problems but since it is the thinnings crushed foliage which attracts the fly I don`t thin mine at all ok some can be on the small side due to overcrowding but I allow for that with plenty of sowings and I haven`t had a root fly problem yet

  2. I got a lot of carrot fly damage last fall, but none to speak of last spring. I think they hadn't found my garden yet in the spring. I grow a lot of carrots. I can't elevate them that much and have the space I want. So we will see. I might give them a row cover when I sow them for the fall.

  3. I didn't do well at all with your herb quiz, I need the 'D' hat I'm afraid. Thanks for the link. I'm hoping that the carrots we sow in the bath this year do just as well as the ones we harvested last year. I've also got some carrots in a container which were sown at the end of last year and overwintered in the greenhouse. I'm looking forward to seeing how well (or not) they've done over winter.

  4. I just planted some carrots the other day in my raised bed that is made with cement blocks. I am really hoping I get some carrots this year.

  5. I plant all of my carrots in those big rope-handled buckets people use to hold ice and drinks at BBQs. I was never able to grow them in my raised beds but the carrots I got from these buckets last year were perfect! I also keep the dirt about 6 inches lower than the edge so I can put plastic across it for a mini-greenhouse or net to keep flies out (though I have not had to do that). I just bought some more of the giant buckets in a prettier color (purple) and will replace my blue ones when this load is out. I'll never grow them in the ground again!

    Here's the link to the post I made last year when I was putting the buckets together: http://www.awesomeburgh.com/2011/07/planting-carrots-in-buckets.html I updated it with a link at the bottom to the results.

    1. Hi Nikki; I tried to leave a comment on your blog, but Blogger ate it!
      Nice carrots containers - and VERY nice harvest. Hope my carrots will be as good...

  6. I just can't accept that carrot fly can only fly at low levels - if that was the case they'd never get into a walled garden would they?
    Or do they queue up and wait for someone to open the door?

  7. Sue, I don't think it can be that Carrot Root Fly are unable to fly high, just that they normally hug the ground. Maybe they suffer from vertigo? Any self-respecting fly would find a way into a walled garden somehow or other! Under the gate? Stowing away in the gardener's trug? Co-operating with the rabbits to dig a tunnel?

  8. Ah, Nature. Of course the Carrot Root Fly, flies low.....after all, carrots are normally underground, not growing on trees. But Mark, clever one, has come up with yet another grand way to fool Mother Nature. Your carrots last year were really nice and I hope you get a great lot of nice ones this year!

  9. Interesting how scale plays tricks on the brain and our perceptions of what things could be. I'm talking about the photos, rather than the carrots here. Fortunately I have yet to encounter carrot fly - and clearly do not want to.

  10. Nice carrots!! I like the tip on tricking pests!

  11. Right, you've inspired me. I will try carrots again. I've never had any success and gave up a couple of years ago... But I think I'm ready to try again in containers.

  12. I planted my carrots out about a month ago and I've just got little shoots like yours. They go into a tall planter which comes up to my thigh. I've never had the fly issue but I have heard about it and was always told about raised beds for carrots so this is sound advice. I planted purple carrots this year too!

  13. Epic fail on the quiz for me. Humph !

    I always try to sow carrots in a raised bed, not that they germinated last year due to the hot and dry spring. Twice humph !

  14. I did pretty ok on the quiz but it was the savorys that foxed me as it is such a long time since I have grown them. As for carrots, I usually do good with carrots in the ground and have never really suffered from carrot fly. But the container carrots last year were outstanding so I will definitely be growing them this way again.

  15. Carrots are high on my list this year, and although I have not had pests, they just do not seem to do well.


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