Stupid Flies! – or are they?

planting carrots
I sowed some carrots in the coldframe yesterday. My carrot plan (part 1 & part 2) last year just didn’t work. The few carrots that I did harvest were small and infested with the usual carrot fly. Neither the sand nor the fleece worked (the later being blown away by the windy conditions at mtp summit). Sooo… not being easily discouraged I am embarking on my third attempt to grow some edible carrots. This year’s harebrained scheme involves a coldframe (without lid – again due to wind) and some sneakily fly-resistant seeds (F1 Flyaway). The plan should work thus: sow F1 seed now to enable it to germinate before the first wave of flies hatch in early May. Sow seed in soil below the level of the cold frame to confuse flies that only travel in either horizontal or vertical directions (stupid flies!). Cover cold frame with fleece (or polythene) in May once weather has settled down. This HAS to work. Bottom line – I’m running out of ideas and I HATE losing!

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29 Comments on “Stupid Flies! – or are they?

  1. Hi
    I have put a link from my page to yours,I hope you don’t mind?

    Quite a few people have looked at mine already so they maybe coming accross to yours,I’m new to having a plot but not new to gardening,I only have a tiny backyard so I grow what I can,I have been following your page and check daily for updates,
    Good luck with the Carrots and the Blumin flies!
    Billie-Jean

  2. It’s great that you update your blog so often. I am not growing carrots because I am struggling in my first season down the allotment and carrots seem like hard work. So far I have learnt that mice eat broadbeans, my dog will roll around in the fish bone if I let her and digging is easy if you wait till it dries out! Good luck with the carrots. I am sure there will be a few more lessons on the way. I have had loads of good tips from reading the rest of your blog.

  3. Still struggling with the wretched carrots?

    I have one word for you: Enviromesh. It really works. I promise. And you can quote me on that!

    And I admire your optimism sowing carrots outside in March. I know Cornwall’s warm, but I’ve never been able to get a decent germination rate in the South East before April.

  4. We have real problems with carrot fly at my allotment as well – I’ve realised that I can’t get round it so have to learn to live with it. I’m going to try growing carrots in bins this time because the flies, apparently, can’t fly above 60cm. I believe you can also build a barrier of similar height that should confound them but I’m not convinced. I’ll keep you posted how I get on!
    http://organicallotment.typepad.com

  5. I got this off an old school gardener. Plant carrots in containers, buckets, raised beds that are a minimum of 30 cm off the ground. Carrot flies can’t fly any higher than that so can’t get to your carrots. Sounds stupid I know but it works!

  6. I second Darren’s comment. Carrots grown in a tall container don’t seem to be affected by carrot fly.

    Good luck with the cold frame though! If you have a tall container and plenty of seeds you could always sow some as a back up?

  7. Enviro-mesh seems like a likely contender for this year’s coverage of choice. I will give it a go.

    I’ll also be rummaging in skips to find a tall planter. Thanks for the advice – you guys rock!

  8. Hi,
    I’ve been growing carrots successfully in clay soil (the worst!) for five seasons now.
    I dug in several tonnes of sharp grey sand (from a builders merchant) until I could stick my arm into it nearly up to my elbow! The patch is at ground level, not raised. I sow the seeds at the end of March, under fleece, in moist soil. To stop carrot fly I plant onions and garlic in rows between the rows of carrots.
    I sow the variety “Amsterdam forcing”, they’re really high yielding, 8 inches is not uncommon, and they have good flavour. Water your carrots plenty, the roots chase the water down.
    I leave them in all winter and pull them up as I need. The soil is so well drained It’s not a problem.
    Regards,
    dom.

  9. Hi Dom,

    Thanks for your advice – very helpful
    One question…
    Is your patch on an allotment or in your garden?

  10. Our allotment site (East Midlands)is rife with carrot fly, but for the last 2 yrs we have been carrot fly free(try saying that fast!) because we alternate our carrot rows with spring onions and garlic.It’s certainly worth a try as it worked for us.

  11. Good luck with those carrots. The cold frame is a good idea. I’ve never seen a carrot fly, I guess I’m lucky.

  12. Godd luck with cold frame! I did the very same 2 years ago – no carrot fly. Then i tried environmesh – no carrot fly. 18” high polythene – no carrot fly . But have I harvested a single carrot in all the years I’ve had my plot? No. One word – badgers. Do I give up? well every year I try and persuade my hub and son to take a trot down the lottie after a beer too many to neatly relieve themselves in the vicinity ( apparently this works!) but nothing so far. I live in hope so will be planting again as usual :(

  13. Badgers! Woh that’s seriously unlucky! Have you tried putting chicken wire up round your plot with the end weighed down with heavy stones? Time consuming but probably ‘carrot’ saving!

  14. Thanks for all your feedback on my carrot situation – it’s fab!

    I did make a special trip to the garden centre to buy some enviromesh today and they ‘DIDN’T HAVE ANY’ – mistake on their part since I was prepared to buy all they had.

  15. Thanx Darren I’ve tried chicken wire, breeze blocks you name it, they just bulldoze through. Someone on our allotments built a hu ge coffin thing 3 feet high and filled it with soil for his carrots, it certainly stopped the carrot fly but the badgers still got in . He raised it even higher and it seems to work, but it’s a bit drastic! I’ll still sow hoping they’ll fancy somebody elses – ha ha! (sorry mtp-veering off the subject!)

  16. hi, have just planted our carrots in between garlic and spring onions. In the past I have planted them surrounded by garden chives. Apparently they get confused by the scent. Have never had carrot fly, but have not had much success with the carrots either. This is probably due to planting so sparingly so as to avoid thinning ( which attract the flies) that few carrots actually grow. My beloved husband has taken an interest this year and as he sowed the carrots there is rather a lot of thinning to do so now we shall see if our ‘onionny’ barrier works. Good luck with yours….hope you win this time!

  17. i planted carrots next to the onions and it didnt work so i pulled them up and hit people over the head with them and gave them to my mum.

  18. why are u lot sittin here garden u stupid cunts i think it is sick to grow ur own veg i think u need to get a life

  19. Hi All

    I’m new to growing veg got an allotment the other week its great realy love it and the peps are great too

    Now someone told me to plant marrigolds next to my carrots to stop the fly does this work or are thay pulling my legg

  20. little pots of derv or priffin,masks the smell.
    CB

  21. Hello CB – excuse my question but what exactly is Priffin?

  22. Hello…am new to all this veg growing lark (totally hooked though!) I avidly watched The Big Dig recently and the tip that all these experienced allotmenteers had found worked really well was to plant carrots in tubs (bath or otherwise) raised well off the ground ….above 31″ was mentioned. The Carrot Root Fly can’t scale these heights so they all had successful crops….a couple of them for the first time ever.
    Just thought I’d mention it.

  23. Hi I have been serching sites for tips on growing carots in pots and have found this blog very usefull i havent planted yet but after a few years of sucessful tomatoes and cucumbers in my green house i feel i am ready to tackle potatos and carrots in containers, I’m eagerly awaiting my potato bags and tubers to arrive.

  24. my carrots grew amazingly(last summer) i planted chives in between my carrots; and it worked extreamly well so give it a try ( I’m not a ‘good’ gardener so if i can do it anyone can!)
    P.S if it doesn’t work get carrot fly free carrots i tried they are really tasty

  25. I’ve just got a bin for my wonderful carrots ; though a few have been eaten by the arrot fly ; so i thing the best way is; just plant loads and hope they don’t get eaten it worked for me and you can put onions ect. inbetween them so it is not hard to keep them away

  26. I am embarking on growing veg for the first time carrots, herbs,
    onions, cucumbers, toms, lettuce & green beens all will be in containers and bags as I dont have the strength to dig much. All the views are very interesting. Hopefully I will be able to eat some if not all of them as people (partner) says I will fail. Am going to use this as therapy after two years of illness. (Green) fingers crossed

  27. Hi Ali,

    Don’t listen to them! Of course you will have a few crops that don’t make it, everyone does, and usually it’s the fault of the weather or some insistent bug. However, 90% of what you grow will be great and you’ll be enjoying home grown crops sooner than you think.
    Good luck

  28. it wasn’t because of the weater they were eaten ypou can tell;a “good” gardener can tell;theat it was CARROT FLY CARROT FLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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