Lots of brown tunnels in your carrots is the result of carrot flies..they lay their eggs which, when they hatch, bury down into the soil and nibble on your carrots. It’s not too hard to keep your precious crops protected though…especially since carrot flies can’t actually fly very high, staying close to the ground instead – this makes it easier to outwit them! Here are some ideas:
- Plant your carrots in a bed or container that is 50-60cm off the ground if you can and drape a sheet of horticultural fleece over the top of them for added protection.
- If you are growing them close to the ground, put a little makeshift fence around the row using short, 60-80cm long bamboo canes, clothes pegs and horticultural fleece. Plant the poles/bamboo canes at the 4 corners of a row, and plant an extra couple of canes along the length of the row (as if they were fence posts) and then use horticultural fleece as the fencing to create a barrier of approx 50cm high. You can wrap the fleece right around the row, clipping it to the canes with clothes pegs.
- If you don’t mind a barrier between you and your carrots, then putting a little tunnel of horticultural fleece right over the row is another option. But it’s not as easy to keep the area weed free this way.
- Try some companion planting…carrot flies are said to be a little dubious of onions and garlic, so planting chives, onions and garlic chives in amongst the rows will deter them. Clever, huh?