In 2015 the carrots were beautiful. I had the best carrots. I was so happy.
2016 was a huge year for all things orange, except for my carrots. They lost big league to carrot root fly. In 2017, I made carrots great again.
In early March a sowing of Early Nantes went in under a cloche tunnel. Later that month a mix of F1 Maestro and Resistafly went into the open ground, both of which are meant to have some carrot root fly resistance. Finally in late April a block of red, yellow and purple mix went in, plus a block of Autumn King 2, which worked really well two years ago. I took a chance on leaving them un-netted due in part to budget restrictions, but mostly because I couldn’t be arsed was too busy.
The first two went in in the traditional rows, but the last two were sown in blocks following advice from Monty (Don, host of BBC Gardeners World for my non-UK friends). The idea is that we sow too thickly in rows. You end up having to thin out the carrots, which can attract the carrot root fly. Better in blocks, where it’s easier to sow thinly.
This might be beautiful if you’ve been working the same patch for years with a team of professional gardeners. Not so beautiful if your plot was waist high in weeds three years ago. Everything had to be hand weeded. It took ages. Who knew it could be this complicated? Also, I was a bit heavy handed with the seeds. A couple of seedlings surely got crushed, releasing their aroma to every bad hombre in the borough. Perhaps I should have built a carrot fly wall…
However, in the end a wall wasn’t really needed. Both the Early Nantes and Autumn Kings had a small bit of fly damage, but they were mostly pretty good. Despite being planted in the same bed as 2016’s carrots (very bad, I know, lock me up…), the Resistafly and Maestro F1s were unharmed. Vive la resistance! The diversity bed was interesting in that the red Samurais got totally clobbered, yet the yellow Goldfingers and the Purple Haze F1s next to them were mostly ok.
Tastewise, the yellows were not quite as sweet as my favourite orange (Early Nantes!). They are closer to a parsnip, so not great for eating raw with peanut butter or hummous, but very nice roasted and glazed with butter. The Purple Hazes are perhaps the best of the lot, being rather sweet and having an interesting color. Their main drawback is that they are an F1 variety. This won’t be much good should 2018 find The Enabler and I huddling indoors, taking iodine tablets and clutching our kitty and my seed box in hope that all will be okay…
Nevermind that though — 2017 was pretty awesome! Starting in June we had as many carrots as we could eat and they are still going strong. Honourable mentions should also be included for the French Beans, which were both tasty and incredibly prolific. Warmest wishes for 2018 from me, The Enabler and our new addition, Zebu!