Real Men Sow

The Interim Carrot Report 2011

Back in April, I blogged about my Carrot Plan for 2011. It was a pretty straight forward plan, and included a few little tips I’d picked up from the year before. After a successful bounty of Autumn King, I made the bold claim that I’d found my *carrot confidence*.

Well, 4 months on, I’m going to put my claims to the test with my Interim Carrot Report 2011.

Things, as they say, don’t always go to plan…

Early Nantes Toilet Roll Stylee
My Early Nantes toilet roll sowing went in at the beginning of April, and germinated quickly inside a coldframe. Ace, I thought, I’ll finally nail an early carrot crop – except the seedlings stayed an inch high for what seemed like an age.

I left them, thinking they’d suddenly pull themselves together, but they shirked their duties and remained an inch high. After a few weeks I planted them out anyway, but even then they took their time and I only harvested my first one towards the end of July (pictured).

Early Nantes Direct
I made another sowing of Early Nantes in May, directly into the ground, and these germinated superbly. Trouble is, the germination was almost too good, and where I’ve not got around to thinning them out, I’m now left with a row of carrots that have taken ages to even get to a piddly size.

I’m not quite sure what to do with them. I might try and thin them now, and see if they’ll grow on in to Autumn.

Spontaneous Early Nantes Container
One bonus is a random container sowing of Early Nantes that I didn’t plan to do. The earth in the container was crumbly and stone-free, but lacking in nutrients, so I was surprised the seeds germinated. Mind you, some say carrots like soil free of manure etc – maybe these are proof of this. I’ve got bushy, tall carrot tops, and some beautifully straight veg.

Autumn King
I left the sowing of my two Autumn King rows until late June and late July respectively, and the signs are promising. I pulled a couple of test Kings last week, and the roots are also growing downwards and straight, which hopefully means I dug deep and thoroughly enough for picturebook carrots, rather than useless, stumpy ones.

The trick of covering the seeds with a layer of multi-purpose to prevent a crusty surface worked a treat too, and most the row is full with carrot seedlings.

I might sow another row of each variety this weekend, as I’ve got some seeds and space to use up, and it will be interesting to see what happens if I pop a fleece over them when the colder months set in. Maybe I can get some overwintering going on again.
I’ll definitely fleece my current Kings as I did last year. They kept really well in the ground, even during the snow, and this method sure beats going soggy in sand.

Recommendations for Next Year

Despite my supposed new-found *carrot confidence*, I’ve still not got my carrots growing how I want them to, so I’ve already got some more wisdom to take in to next year.

I’ll start the first Early Nantes off on a warm windowsill to give them the kickstart they need, keep planting small rows every three weeks like I said I was going to, and make sure I don’t forget to thin out!

It’s funny how every year we think we’ve got it licked, but not everything always goes to plan, however many well-intentioned plans we write. Guess we never stop learning in this game.

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope.

However, three years on, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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Saving £500 a year!

During 2011, I kept a diary of how much money I save from growing my own fruit and vegetables. After totalling all my outgoings, I saved approximately £500 over the year. I made a spreadsheet to calculate these savings - it’s nothing too complicated, as I’m no Excel guru, but hopefully someone else will find it as useful (and strangely fun) as me. For more info, visit my Money Saving Experiment page by clicking here.

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