Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Carrot Trials

Tuesday was another nice late autumn day with plenty of sunny spells and dry.

I blogged yesterday about harvesting carrots and I've called this post carrot trials. I'm not referring to trials in the sense of testing different varieties but in the problems we've had growing any carrots at all this year.
First sowing 21 April 2015
The tale begins back in late April this year when we sowed our main crop carrots. Things started off well enough and after a couple of weeks our young seedlings emerged and we thought things were going well. 
Good germination on 15 May 2015
However by late May all our seedlings had mysteriously disappeared. We put this down to slugs and unperturbed decided to re-sow more carrot seeds in the same place. As you may be aware we had exactly the same problem and after germinating all our seedlings disappeared once again.
No seedlings left by 26 May 2015
We were tempted to give up on carrots this year. By this time it was towards the end of June but I remembered that we once sowed carrots in the beginning of July in an attempt to avoid carrot fly. I seem to remember it didn’t work. That was before we discovered environmesh. Anyway we decided to have one more attempt at sowing which we did in a different part of the plot on 26 June. These germinated well and avoided any damage by slugs. The veggie mesh was laid over the soil rather than constructing a tent. These are the carrots we harvested on Saturday.
Our Third attempt took place on 26 June 2015
Carrots on  17 October 2015 when veggie mesh removed
The soil for growing carrots probably wasn't ideal for them. It was too firm and stony but that was down to the dry weather making soil preparation difficult. The result is the carrots have forked. Some carrots have also split which is probably down to irregular rainfall and my irregular watering regime.
Still the carrots we have managed to use have been very tasty. The fact that they've forked isn't really too much of an issue they just take a little more preparation time for the pan.
Definitely not our best carrot growing year.


  1. Interesting stuff Sue, I do think that the problem lies in growing a crop which presents a challenge for your conditions. A couple of years ago I gave a talk to a local allotment society after judging their show for a few years, the point I tried to make was that allotment holders are the last "true" growers along with anyone with a large dedicated vegetable garden. Commercial growers will only grow crops which will suit their conditions to turn a profit. In the case of carrots, sandy soils, as I am sure you know, especially for early carrots, such as those on the Wirral, are totally suitable but even main-crops will suffer in less than ideal conditions. I know you have had a very dry year and I believe the "forking" is probably down to a late influx of moisture.

    1. Hi Rick

      I think you are right Rick trying to grow carrots in rather clayey soil can be somewhat tricky. It turns out to be even more difficult when weather conditions aren't favourable either. Still at least we have some carrots.

      It was only after I'd written the post that I realised it is a bit more of a carrot trial than I said. I thought we had sown only Early Nantes but I realised we sowed some Amsterdam Forcing as well. I will have to check up to see if one variety has done better than the other under these circumstances.

  2. The only "Other Roots" I planted this year was Jerusalem Artechoke. No carrots or parsnip (Ssshh don't tell!) Apart from grappling with building the new greenhouse, I haven't figured out their niche in the post weed suppressant fabric rotation. After reading this I am rather glad I gave them a rest. Next year battle will commence again.

    1. I don't understand why the carrot seedlings were devastated by slugs (twice) yet parsnip seedlings growing in the same bed were left untouched.


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