September 5, 2009

Grow your own Carrots 2009

The photo below was taken 1 June:

Carrots1June

I sprinkled the seeds straight into a 1cm deep trench and covered lightly with compost, then watered.

 

I was getting a bit worried and impatient as nothing happened for a week, but then we had loads of sun and they finally sprouted so I was happy. But then today I found that something had dug a big hole where my carrots were! It was probably a pesky squirrel as they’re always digging stuff up, so I’ve put some chicken wire over the carrots, beetroots and onions to deter them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The photo below was taken 13 June:

Carrot close 13 JuneThe carrots are doing pretty good and are starting to develop the fluffy green carrot tops! Since I put down the chicken wire I’ve not had any problems with anything trying to dig them up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The photos below were taken 25 June:

Carrots 25 June I spoke too soon when I said the chicken wire had deterred whatever was digging holes! I now think it was a cat having a good old dig as there were bird feathers in the hole and Steve’s Mum found a wing next to the raised bed. I could also smell nasty poo all around the bed, so the cat was either burying the bird he’d caught or using the bed as a toilet – or both! So I lost the patch of basil and a few carrots, which was quite annoying. So I had to increase my defences drastically!

First of all I tied string to the dowels on the raised bed (I knew leaving them long would come in handy!) and also tied it to the canes supporting the tomatoes, plus some other canes. So now if the cat wants to get in he’ll have to do some fancy footwork to negotiate all the string!

 

I did some research and read that the smell of eucalyptus confuses cats, so I sprayed some eucalyptus oil that we bought in Cyprus (to deter mozzies) all around the bed and loads on the fleece canopy I’d made. I also sprinkled some chili flakes down on the soil and then covered the patches with some PVC. The chili gets stuck to their fur, so when they lick to clean themselves they will get a nasty surprise! I know it’s cruel but I don’t think it will come to that as the PVC and the bamboo sticks I’ve stuck in the soil will prevent them from getting that far!

 

Carrots 25 June detail I’ve had these new defences up for 3 days now and no holes have been dug – I guess the cat hasn’t fancied running the gauntlet! So the carrots have been left undisturbed and are doing quite well, fingers crossed! They are now about 3 inches tall.

 

 

I was worried about carrot fly because they are attracted to the smell of damaged foliage, like when you thin out carrots. Apparently they don’t fly any higher than 2 foot/61cm, but my raised bed is only 30cm high so I will have to keep an eye out for any as I don’t want them to lay eggs which become maggots. The symptoms for carrot fly are reddish leaves that wilt in sunny weather, then the leaves turn yellow.

 

The photo below was taken 25 July:

Carrots-25-July

I’m not sure what’s wrong with the carrots but they’re not looking too healthy. The tops are looking very dry and withered, so perhaps it is lack of water? The tomatoes had really overgrown and cast a shadow over the whole raised bed, so I’m not sure if the carrots suffered due to lack of sunlight. I will need to do some research!

 

 

 

The photo below was taken 5 September:

carrots5Sept

This photo actually looks quite impressive, but that’s before I tell you that the largest carrot was only 2 inches long! I knew the carrots were really struggling to grow, so I decided to cut my losses and pull them up as they should have been ready in mid-August. With Summer being over, I didn’t have any hope of the carrots growing any bigger. I am disappointed they didn’t do better, but I am convinced it’s because I just planted too much in the raised bed and they couldn’t compete with all the other vegetables. Next year I will try growing them in a large pot on their own.

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