Over a month ago I instigated the ‘Carrot Plan’ in an effort to grow edible carrots this year. In part one I selected a ‘stone free’ piece of the plot, dug in some sharp sand and covered with black plastic to warm up the soil. That done, we are now ready for part two. Last year one of my main problems was lack of germination. I planted my first carrot seeds on April 27th last year but they just didn’t germinate and as you can see from this picture it was clear that the soil was the problem. It was just too heavy and cloddy for the seedlings to push through. So this year we’re giving them a helping hand by making a nice deep hole with the dibber and filling it with soft, fluffy compost. On goes the fleece, and then we wait. I’m sowing Amsterdam Forcing which is an early variety suited to cold weather.
…But I’m having trouble keeping the fleece on in this windy weather. Any tips?
You could get some plastic pegs to hold it down, or you could try burying the edges. The flatter you can get it, the better, although you’ll have to slacken it off when the carrots start to grow.
Flat – now that’s the key. I put small bent over canes under it to give the carrots room but they ripped it and now it’s in pieces. Hmmm….
are you doing one seeda at a time? I do this and it stops having to thin so much. I use wine bottles upside down underneath the fleece to hold it up, it creates a warm space for things to start, when plants are bigger they can hold it up themselves as long as its not too tight, carrots need t be completely covered, no gaps to prevent carrot fly.
If you lay your fleece flat directly on the ground I’ve found that it flaps about in the wind anyway and damages the seedlings as soon as they emerge. I vote for having the fleece suspended above the carrots – the wine bottle trick sounds good.
How about also planting some scorzonera or black salsify alongside the carrots to deter the carrot fly?
Does that work? – I’ve always been frightened by Scorzonera, there’s just something about black food that freaks me out.
Another thing for carrot fly that I’ve heard of is earthing up the tiy seelings until they are strong enough to hold their own. Might be worth a go – especially if it gets cold again.
By the way, hello – I gave you an honourable mention on my new blog this morning :-) (You’re a bit inspiring you see.)
Wow thanks Shell – I’m honoured by your honourable mention. Good luck with the blog, it’s great to see people setting up new allotment blogs. The more of us the better – Make the world stand up and listen!
Love your site! We planted our carrots this weekend too along with our onions. We’re giving the companion planting a bit of a go and will see if that works. We’re also using fleece but may make some kind of teepee frame to go over it.
The old Gods on my site all swear on planting carrots in ex water tanks – plastic, aluminium – which have the necessary height to deter carrot fly. I tried last year to grow carrots in the ground and it was a disaster. A later planting in a tank however produced very good results and nastursiums made it all look very pretty. Good to find mtp.
Holy Heck! So that’s what the aluminium water tank was for? When I first took over mtp last year there was an old tank sunk into the ground with dirt in it. It was kind of in the way so we dug it up and took it to the recycle centre. Blimey – the things you learn when it’s too late.