Here are a few common problems that you may encounter when you pull up your carrots this season!
Weird, crazy shapes when you pull up your carrots.
Carrots are notoriously difficult to transplant, which is why we supply our carrot plants in biodegradable pots. However, even with this measure, they will still find it tricky sometimes, especially in lumpy soil or clay-heavy soil.
When planting up next year, be sure to dig over the bed really well and remove stones/clumps. When it comes to handling the plug plants, try to be as gentle with them as possible. You could try planting into a trench of compost if your soil is particularly heavy.
Carrot Root Fly
Brown, rotten looking patches and tunnels through your carrots.
The carrot fly lays its eggs at the base of the carrot stems (and often also lays eggs by parsnips and celery). When the eggs hatch the larvae bury into the soil and start feeding on the roots. It can go unnoticed until either the leaves start to discolour, or you pull up a carrot and see the damage.
- Use companion plants to mask the scent of the carrots. Plant garlic, onions or leeks, or put pots of mint near your carrots to hide the scent. We often alternate rows of carrots with rows of onions.
- Protect them with insect mesh. Draping horticultural fleece or making an enviromesh cloche tunnel to go over your carrots offers the best barrier.
Carrot roots are split open down the side.
This root splitting is seen when a hot, dry spell (i.e. the one that we have had recently) is interrupted by a heavy downpour. The carrots have been used to the relatively dry conditions, working hard to take up water and the roots are growing slowly. With the sudden availability of water, the carrots take up a big amount of water and have a growth spurt that they are not ready for. The result is the crack/split that appears.
Try to avoid very dry spells by watering thoroughly on a regular basis during the summer.