Monday, 31 January 2011

Aiming For Success

This will be my third year growing on the allotment, and yet I haven't yet had any success in growing carrots there. There is such a difference in taste, as with most things, between home grown carrots and shop bought that I won't give up until my home grown carrots are on my plate. I'm not totally convinced that this will be the year of the allotment carrot though, so I've invested in a packet of Paris Market 5 - Atlas seeds, which are stumpy carrots. Before I had the allotment, I used to grow all my veggies in containers, and I grew stumpy carrots, though not this variety. I shall plant these in containers to ensure that I get at least some lovely home grown carrots just in case the ones at the allotment come to nothing again. Stumpy carrots are good for growing in containers as you don't have to provide lots of space for long root growth.

The purple sprouting broccoli at the allotment has been eaten by something, probably pigeons or rabbits desperate for food in the icy weather. It's the first time that I've tried to grow purple sprouting broccoli, and to be honest, I didn't put much effort in to it, it wasn't netted, I really didn't expect much to come of it, so I'm not too disappointed. The cavolo nero has died in the frosts, and the only thing left standing at the allotment now is curly kale. Hubby set to on Saturday and did a bit of digging. Anything done now is less to do later.

This weekend was the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch where you record the number of each species of bird which visits your garden over the period of an hour. I had intented to take part, but in the end I ran out of time. Why is it that my weekends are always so busy? I did see a Red Kite on Saturday though, but I wouldn't have been able to include it in my results as it wasn't in my garden. At one time Red Kites were quite rare but following a reintroduction programme in England and Scotland, they can be seen in many parts of the country.


  1. Good luck with those carrots, Ive never tried the stumpy ones, I may give them a go, sounds like your broccoli suffered the same fate as mine, my bet is on those pesky pigeons, netting next time. Happy gardening

  2. I grew carrots for the first time last year, and it was indeed an exciting time. I haven't tried the stumpy ones either, I might give them a go this year. Good luck with yours :)


  3. I find carrots difficult too. I do think it depends so much on your soil. I had success at my old allotment which we had to leave when we came here. Determined to have another go this year with the new plot!

  4. Carrots are difficult to grow for me too. I think it is all about how well you prepare the soil.
    And you are right - home grown ones taste so much better than the bought ones.

  5. Hi Jo, my little'un loves to grow carrots. We use old tyres as planters (if you go down a tyre centre and ask nicely, they'll give you as many old ones as you need, as they normally have to pay to have them taken away for recycling).

    We don't grow long ones either - more stocky type - like these;

    Good luck!

  6. I have never had much luck with carrots here. I think one year I got a few small carrots which I thought was great. I too am going to try again this year though.

  7. Keep trying JO the end resulting fresh carrots will be well worth the effort. Don't be put off as we grow carrots in soil that most people reckon shouldn't grow them!

    Red kite now that is exciting - was it near Harewood as I understand they release some there some years ago!

  8. I had some carrot success this year so I was very happy as I totally agree with you on the taste factor. Just make sure you dig deep and finely before putting in your carrots as this was the only thing I did different last year and I got a lovley crop.

    I'm growing some baby carrots in containers this year for salads so I will be harvesting them much sooner...nnow all I want is spring.

    Fingers crossed for you and your carrots this year. x

  9. I grew some round carrots once, but felt that I didn't get much for the effort/space so changed to others but not long ones so could still do in some containers. Good luck with those.

    Red Kite's are just wonderful to see aren't they? We see them around here (out for walks in the countryside, not the garden!) and they are a fantastic sight. We were away so missed doing the RSPB watch this year.

  10. I feel quite guilty that we've never had a problem with carrots - on the other hand we don't have Red Kites :)

  11. ive tried carrots for a few years without succsess until last year built raised bed and filled with sieved soil and manure and sand then covered with fleece to beat the fly and did great hope this helps

  12. Thanks for visiting, James. I would imagine it's pigeons too, I'll definitely net next time.

    Thanks, Ali. I would love to be able to grow carrots, perhaps it will be my year this year, who knows? Stumpy carrots are ok if you can't grow proper ones.

    Let's hope we both have success this year then, Vegetable Heaven. I think it's to do with the soil too. I'm hoping that now my soil has been worked for a couple of years it might be better for carrots, we'll see.

    It's funny how many of us have problems with carrots, Ana. The taste of home grown is far superior to supermarket bought though so it's worth persevering.

    The carrots you mention would be a good alternative, Mark. Not quite long tapering roots but not quite so stubby either. I might give them a go next year if the perfect carrot is still elusive.

    It will be interesting to see if any of us who usually have problems growing carrots manage it this year, Becky. A few small carrots are better than nothing though.

    I'll definitely keep trying, Sue, I love a challenge. We saw the Red Kite in Crossgates, a residential area. We'd just parked up to go to the pet shop and it was overhead. We stayed for quite a few minutes watching it until it flew off. We've seen quite a few recently.

    Thanks for the tip, Tanya. I'm hoping that now the soil has been worked for a couple of years it might be more suited to carrot growing, time will tell.

    You don't get much on stumpy carrots, Dawn, you're right. I certainly won't be peeling them. Red Kites are beautiful birds, so distinctive. We're very lucky, we've seen quite a few recently.

    Don't feel guilty, Mo, enjoy them. As for Red Kites, keep watching out as they're becoming more common again.

    Thanks for visiting, Chris. I think the soil has to be right for carrots to grow. I'm sure I'll have better luck growing in containers again than I will on the allotment.

  13. My carrots have been pretty uninspiring so far but I'll be trying yet again this year. So fingers crossed for both of us!
    Red kites have been a real success story in recent years. Flighty xx

  14. Carrots are my nemesis too Jo hence the drastic steps of growing them in pipes this year. They'll also go into various containers and I may even grow some straight in the ground!! Best of luck.

  15. Never had much luck with carrots myself. Carrot Root Fly usually gets them. However (although I have never had one in my garden) I have seen plenty of Red Kites nearby. In the Berks / Herts / Hants area they are getting to be quite common.

  16. hi jo you seem to have alot of replies from people and yourself about having lot of trouble with growing carrots, since i have been growing carrots the last 3 years i have never had any problems i grow short one and long ones, i do have raised beds but i swear by always growing my carrots inbetween my onions whether it is spring/salad or main crop onions give it a try you guys and see if it works, ps ive never had any carrot fly either like i said i think its the onions they seem to like x x good luck x x

  17. oops i meant to say i dont think the carrot fly like the onions x

  18. I did not grow carrots until 2009 Jo and my first lot were brilliant - complete beginners luck methinks. Last year's crop was not up too much at all, although I did sow some 'Parmex' (similar to 'Paris Market) later on and they did better. My lottie neighbour has been busy making a special carrot box to grow them in but sounds too much like hard work to me :) I hope that yours do well for you.

  19. I've got about 7 different varieties of carrot seed, but all quite old, so I'm not holding out much hope for the harvest this year. Good luck with yours, I grew some stumpy carrots in containers a couple of years ago and found them virtually tastless, so I hope you fare better! This is my first year with an allotment so I am trying to keep expectations low, its all about the learning.

  20. Dear Jo,

    I grew carrots for the first time last year and they were rather successful. I did not grow the long ones as my raised bed is not very deep. I think I will try a different variety this year, but with some of the 'successful' ones to be on the safe side.

    Thank you so very much for the award and thanks for not pressuring me to accept. I was in hospital for longer than expected. I am home now and feeling well, but have a lot of catching up to do. I need to do a posting as well as reading blogs I missed while I was away from my computer. So I must decline, but again I thank you, my dear gardening friend. P x

  21. Good luck with your carrots! I am sure you will succeed. They are one of my must have plants, but so far not enough space

  22. Just looking at your blog has me so excited about the gardening year to come. I can feel a day of browsing seed catalogues coming up!

  23. Good luck with your carrots, Flighty. It's actually quite a challenge when you haven't been successful previously, something to aim for. Red Kites are such beautiful birds, I'm so pleased they're not quite so rare now.

    I'm looking forward to seeing how your pipe carrots do, Damo. It would be an expense to grow them this way for the table though.

    There's always some pest waiting to get our crops after all our effort in growing them, Mark. Glad to hear that you too have the pleasure of seeing Red Kites.

    Thanks for the tip, Bears Footprints. Companion planting can be very successful.

    Thanks, Anna. Parmex were the ones I grew previously and they grew really well in containers. Last year was a funny year for growing veg so it might just have been a blip and your carrots will probably be fantastic again this year. Fingers crossed.

    The stumpy carrots I grew previously had a good flavour, Plantaliscious. These are a different variety so I hope I'm not going to be disappointed. I spent my first year on my allotment getting to know what will grow. It's very exciting though.

    Glad to see you back in action, Pam. I hope your hospital visit was successful and that you're recovering well. I think it's always best to be on the safe side and grow things you know are successful as well as trying new varieties. I hope they both do well for you.

    Thanks, fer. You could always try a similar variety to the ones I'm going to grow in containers, they would be good for your balcony.

    I'm always excited at the start of the gardening year, ReapWhatYouGrow. I did my browsing of seed catalogues quite a while ago, I'm just waiting for the off now. Hope you find lots of lovely things to grow.


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