Sunday, August 21

A cruel twist of fortune!

Last year lots of you were complaining that you could never get carrots to grow and we were wondering why we always seemed to get great carrots like these.
This year things started off well; the seeds germinated well as usual:
They were protected using an enviromesh tent as usual, it was even a redesigned improved version.
The enviromesh did blow off during strong winds in May but as the wind was strong we hoped we had managed to avoid a carrot fly attack and took the opportunity to do a bit of weeding.
Once weeded the young carrots flopped over a bit but generally this didn't give us any cause for concern.
As I have remarked often we have had very little rain although we did water through the enviromesh however no watering can do the good work of a few downpours of rain. Weeds obviously thrive when receiving less water than carrots and so under the privacy of the enviromesh the weeds gradually took over smothering the young carrots. Usually the carrots are growing away strongly and easily able to cope but not this year! This year the use of the protective covering back-fired as we didn't notice what was happening until it was too late.

We tried to retrieve the situation by weeding, although at this point it was difficult to spot the carrot tops amongst the chickweed. We may be lucky and manage to pull a few carrots but it will be nothing like the bumper crops of previous years. Ironically many other bloggers are reporting carrot success where previously there was none!

The lesson learned is that in future we will be less complacent and remember to regularly check what is happening under the enviromesh.

We are trying to get a later carrot crop by sowing in the now vacant potato bags. The seeds have germinated and the seedlings growing well. We hope by growing in bags we can take these into the greenhouse later to try and extend their growing season.
It's not been all bad on the roots front. We had expected a potato famine as the potatoes made very little top growth and we are regularly told that as far as potatoes are concerned what happens under the ground is reflected by what is happening above. No flowering either. Amazingly we have had a better crop than last year. To read more detail visit Martyn's blog.
The beetroot too is producing well
I wonder how the parsnips will fare?


  1. Awww - a shame about your carrots. I hope you get a decent crop in the bags.... I've previously grown them in containers and they've done ok but this year I tried them in the ground for the first time and nothing! Not a sausage :-( Despite three sowings... Oh well! Love 'n' hugs, Mel xx

  2. Too bad about your carrots. That's one thing about gardening, you learn something new every year. Hopefully the carrots growing in the bags will do much better.

    I had my first decent crop of carrots from the early planting this year. I had little success with my later plantings due to the heat though.

  3. I've had good success this year growing either Flyaway or Resistafly (can't remember which variety). They're varieties that aren't entirely immune to carrot fly but you only get a few little tunnels at the bottom pointy bit of the carrot if you're unlucky, and, even then, it's easy enough to just cut that bit off when you're peeling them. The main beauty of growing them is, of course, that you don't need to give them any protection at all!

  4. Don't be too put off by lack of success this year Mel - it's been a strange year

    Can't blame the heat here, Robin.

    The criticism that seems to be made of the carrot root fly resistant carrots is that they lack the flavour. Is this correct Mrs Jones?

  5. I have the same carrot fate with you but mine is cauliflower! Maybe potato plant that does not flower produce more because it does not spend much energy to produce flower but focusing it all on the tubers which is great!

  6. I haven't looked at my carrots under neath yet but the tops seem to be doing ok. I have very healthy parsley tops too so i am hoping for a good crop this year...though I have only ever managed to grow one parsnip in the last three years so i guess it can't get much worse than that!!

    My potatoes have been good this year.....and you already know all about my beetroot!! :-(

  7. I grew carrots under Enviromesh once, but I had the same problems you describe. Without removing the mesh it seemed to be impossible to get the soil properly moist, and the carrots didn't do well.

  8. What a shame about your carrots. I hope the ones in the bags grow well for you, you'll miss a good crop as you're so used to getting one. My maincrop potatoes haven't put on much top growth, they were planted out quite late but should have put on more growth than they have by now.

  9. Really sorry about your carrot experience. I must admit that I have very mixed feelings about enviromesh. It makes weeding and even harvesting very awkward, and that tends to make you ignore weeds until they get too big - assuming you notice them at all. I think the answer is to build cages covered in mesh with mesh lids like Sara's husband did (Hillwards blog). That's what I plan to do when we settle in our new place - whenever that turns out to be.

    I too thought we'd get no spuds at all, and although we didn't get as many as you, I won't be as scared of no flowers and early foliage die back in future. Good luck with your late carrot sowings - and lovely beetroot...

  10. Sorry to hear about the carrot crop this year Sue. I can imagine your disappointment. I was considering using a mesh next year, but may rethink that plan based your experience.

  11. Sorry about your cauliflowers - ours have done really well - so we seem to be opposites.

    Our parsnips tops look good too Tanya so we too have fingers crossed

    Usually getting things moist enough isn't a problem Mark but the amount of watering needed is the problem. With so little rain since about February we just can't keep up with the watering needed.

    Ours were the same Jo even though they were planted in good time but we still had a good crop so there's hope for yours

    We used enviromesh for years now Janet with no problem next year we are going to use a weed suppressant fabric between the rows and hope that helps.

    It hasn't put us off using enviromesh next year Jenni as this is the first year we have had this sort of problem but it has been a strange year weatherwise.

  12. good luck with the late carrot sowing! The potatoes and beets look fantastic!!! I love Yellow beetroot! Yum Yum!

  13. That's wonderful harvest of carrot, potatoes and turnips! I'm amaze!

  14. We must find more ways of using beetroot Phoebe.

    Unfortunately the carrots were last year's Malar. The last lot do look like swede but they are beetroot - the swede are waiting to be planted.

  15. Your carrot tale was mine last year. This year it was double or quits. I took the nets off and weeded - several times!!! Aside from some early erratic germination and a mass slug assault (easy to overlook under the net) it has been... promising.

  16. Sorry to hear about your carrots,very impressivescreen as well.A couple of tricks might help,firstly carrot fly can only fly about a foot fromthe ground so you dont need to have a top on if the side walls a high enough.I have never bothered with screens but sow chives(any allium will do as it masks the smell of the carrots)I also sow thinly any thinning that does need to be done I do in the evenings.You cant win them all though as we have aphids on the roots of our parsnips this year,usually a problem sowing too early which I did not do but they are in raised beds and I think it has just too dry- all the joys of growing our own.

  17. Last year we only weeded once Mal and it was fine but the carrots grew quickly to a size that could compete with the weeds. The enviromesh tent is high enough just to be able to lift just one side and duck under to weed.
    I have considered both of those things Flowerlady but others have done what you suggest and had no joy avoiding carrot fly.

    I'm told carrot fly can fly higher than suggested and also that you need to plant 5 times as many alliums as carrots to deter carrot fly and that it is only effective whilst the allium leaves are in growth.

    I think we'll be sticking to our mesh but remember to keep an eye on what is happening underneath. It has worked for years - only this year have we ever had a problem and this year has been a strange one all round. Too much time spent watering has distracted us.


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