Saturday, 4 May 2013

Strawberries and Carrots

No, I'm not suggesting eating strawberries and carrots together!

I've never had much luck with Carrots. They always get riddled with the maggots of Carrot Root Fly. My current strategy for minimising this problem is to grow the miniature "Finger carrot" varieties, in plastic crates in a raised planter, which puts the carrots three feet or so above ground level:


Opinions vary on this, but some people say that Carrot Root Flies fly at a very low altitude, so maybe my planter will be out of their reach. Results last year were not bad, considering the poor weather, so maybe it's not an Old Wives' Tale.

This year I am growing a mixture of "Mignon", "Mini Finger" and "Amsterdam 3 Sprint". Hopefully at least one of these varieties will do well. They are still tiny, but the germination rate seems to have been OK:


I have been considering whether to try to protect the carrots with Enviromesh. My emerging plan is based on supporting some mesh over some wire hoops. It's not really required just yet, so I have plenty of time to try out a few prototypes.

Meanwhile, in the Strawberry patch...

This year I have the grand total of 13 strawberry plants (if you discount the Alpines). Not a lot, I know, but more than three times the number I had last year! For want of space I'm growing them in containers:


On the left is one of the wooden wine-boxes from Majestic Wines, and on the right two plastic storage crates (£1.69 each from Tesco!) They are the same type as the ones I'm using for the carrots.


The reason why I'm growing the strawberries in containers is not simply lack of space elsewhere: it's also because when the berries are ripening I will be able to move the crates under cover where the birds will not be able to steal them!

The strawberry plants suffered badly from the severe weather in the Winter, but they are beginning to revive. They are certainly all alive, though a couple of them lost almost all their leaves (bottom right in this next photo).


In addition to these I have about 20 Alpine strawberry plants, but I'm realistically not expecting a harvest from them this year, since they have been grown from seed, and most of them are still very tiny. Maybe I'll get a few berries from the three bigger plants that survived the Winter, which are now growing away nicely in my other wooden wine-box:

16 comments:

  1. I'm a sceptic re: carrot flies don't get to plants high up. We protect ours with mesh from sowing to harvesting. In a garden I guess there is a chance that the fly aren't attracted in but allotment sites must be carrot fly nirvana!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm trying carrots in tubs this year too, nothing worse than pulling up your carefully grown carrots to find the maggots in them.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good luck with the carrots, Mark. In the past I've sown them in rows between garlic and onions and also in containers. Both worked well but it's good you have a back up plan. All my strawberries were left to fend for themselves over winter. I was a bit off strawberries after last year's soggy fruit and slug fest so chucked a load of them on the compost. I always chop the old leaves off, leaving just the new growth and my plants are all looking really strong and healthy - some even have flowers already!! Your plants look very healthy so you should get some good runners off them this year, doubling your stock again!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I cover the fall carrots. For some reason the spring carrots aren't as bad as long as I don't leave them in the bed for too long.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I must say that I like looking at the photos of your garden Mark, because your garden looks very neat and nice. You definitely pay attention to details and the plants are very well tended.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I grow carrots in the old bath on the plot and they've never been attacked by carrot root fly, whereas the ones sown in the ground on the plot are absolutely riddled with them, so I think elevating them does work. I've just invested in some new strawberry plants as the ones at the allotment didn't fare well through winter, I hope these do better.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Not sure about the altitude of flight but it does seem that they do not descend easily from a steep flight trajectory and vertical barriers are a help as in Jo's bath!

    ReplyDelete
  8. A post about two things that I struggle with. The carrots are my fault entirely I just don't devote the space to them. Actually that's probably true of the strawberries as well.... Strawberries I am going to stop trying to grow and leave it to the nice market people who sell me such lovely ones each year. Carrots I my try again, although I haven't quite worked out when they do best in Melbourne - summer ones just don't taste as good as the ones I can buy - I think they need a bit of cool to do well, but in winter they seem to grow at an absolute snails pace.

    ReplyDelete
  9. A few years ago I began planting carrots in containers to get them above the bunny rabbit's eye-level, and I've not had any problems with rabbits or the carrot root fly. I plant a baby carrot called 'Little Fingers'. I hope you have great success with your carrots and strawberries this year.
    Happy Gardening!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

    ReplyDelete
  10. Good luck with both of these Mark! I've tried various methods with the strawberries to keep the birds off but here they're more like pterodactyls than birds and a bit of old netting never works!!! Think I'll have to invest in a fruit cage! xxx

    ReplyDelete
  11. Simply beautiful colours...lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  12. It's all looking good Mark.
    Hope you get lots of carrots and strawberries this season, but not on the same plate!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've read the same thing about the carrot fly but never hurts to use netting as well. Your containers look very handsome and your garden, as Dewberry commented, very neat.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The raised wood containers look great and I think they'll be effective for growing carrots. Keep us posted.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm watching your tub carrots with interest!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hopefully the alpine strawberry will start to bear fruit in autumn. When the plants get bushier you can grow alpine strawberry through divisions.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking time to leave me a comment! Please note that Comment Moderation is enabled for older posts.