Since taking on the allotment, The Enabler has had a pretty easy time of it when it comes to picking out birthday and Christmas gifts. One much loved present has been “James Wong’s Homegrown Revolution”. Many an hour has been spent thumbing through and perusing his wide range of unusual edibles that grow well in the UK climate.
I do see the point in moving away from the dig-for-victory classics like potatoes, cabbage and onions. They are widely available and super cheap to buy in the shops. Best to focus your budget, worry and hard graft on unusual produce that either costs a fortune or that you simply cannot get in the shops. Personally, I’m a total convert to the cult of the New Zealand yam. My first taste of Chilean guava is just around the corner and I *will* find somewhere to shoehorn in some edible ferns for a spring treat.
But one thing I will never give up are my carrots! Not that they’ve been a resounding success. 2015 saw a smattering of beginner’s luck that resulted in the sweetest, most lovely carrots I’ve ever had. 2016 saw an infestation of carrot root fly that led to having shop bought carrots for Christmas dinner. What a disappointment. So tasteless. Christmas was only saved by the very excellent discovery of New Zealand yams!
This year I’ve tried again. In total I have four sowings in the ground – Early Nantes, a mix of what was left in the Resistafly and Maestro F1 packets from last year, a mix of red, yellow and purple and finally Autumn King 2, which worked so well for me two Carrots in waiting, protected under the cloche, back in March
years ago. Because I’m both tightfisted and pressed for time, once it got a little too hot to keep the cloche on, I took my chances and did not bother to replace it with a mesh to keep the carrot fly out. Might prove to be a bad idea… I didn’t thin the seedlings, so fingers crossed the flies won’t be alerted to their presence and they’ll make it through!
The Early Nantes are just just starting to come up! They are a bit skinny and slightly crooked from not having been thinned at all, but still quite tasty. I’ve been having raw carrots (healthy!) with peanut butter (super-fattening…) for lunch for a few days now. Yum! You can see a little bit of carrot fly damage on the left. Fingers crossed that my harvesting efforts have not drawn in every other fly in the borough and my Christmas crops will be safe!