Last year was discouraging, both from the carrot’s point of view and mine. They were hairy, and unfortunately had been attacked by the carrot rust fly - a very nasty little thing. Honestly, there's another little insect that should never have been invented. No use, even from an environmental perspective.
Carrot rust flies are irresistibly drawn to the smell of carrots, and as soon as they land next to them will lay their eggs on the soil. These hatch into little maggots that worm their way into your carrot plants, making unsightly brownish tunnels. Actually, ugggh, if you cut into the carrots you might even see tiny, creamy colored little worms. It's not pleasant at all, but even worse is to find any half worms after cutting!
Other than that, there's not much you can do to protect those lovely golden veggie roots. And I'm still not sure how the farmers get those perfect, unblemished huge carrots.
This year I decided to try an experiment. It was exciting to think I might be able to encourage almost anyone to have a little carrot garden. There were a couple of empty planters around,and now I set out to grow my own version of organic, beautiful carrots.
First I screened (sifted) some really nice potting soil, so that it had no lumps or big material in it. Sometimes carrots fork if they hit big lumps of anything. I filled the planters with damp, fine soil, and sparingly scattered some carrot seeds in a couple of shallow rows.
Use A Container!
Next piece of the strategy was to place the planter on a rough stand, about 24” high.
I then covered the whole contraption with a piece of row cover, and secured it with some strong stationery clips.
It's been a few weeks now. The carrots are growing happily. I keep them watered. When they were very young I thinned them out, just nipping them off, until they were about 2” apart. It's important to discard the discarded ones into a place where the rust flies won't be attracted to them.
As the first batch matured I invited a couple of random visitors to pull two each just for the taste. I was amazed to discover that neither had ever done this in their entire lives. They were just enthralled with the experience. One guest was in his late sixties, the other her late forties...wow. The older one was completely nervous and flummoxed at even grasping the plant, and asked if you have twist it first? So glad they could finally have this life experience.
You won't believe the difference in taste between your home grown crop , and those supermarket ones. And as a bonus, its very manageable fun! I'm hoping you'll join me with this experiment. The first ones have just finished, and today I’ll be sowing the next seeds.