CARROT

The carrot requires light soil, a good fresh loam, which has been dug to double spit depth, and reinforced with thoroughly decayed manure the previous autumn. If natural manure is scarce use a complete fertiliser when sowing the seed.

Early in March, work out the stones and leave to settle for a week or two, then choose a fine day of the first fortnight in April, after rain, to sow. Seed is small; mix with sand and cover only lightly, but press down. An allotmenteer of long experience says: ‘A sprinkling of ordinary table mustard and wood ash in drills when sowing carrot seed, and a dressing of the seedlings with soot once a week,- will work wonders.’ Sow thinly in drills 9 in. apart; and when the plants are about 3 in. high, thin out to 2 in. apart; after a few weeks to about 7 in. apart. Early crops can be secured by growing under glass in January. For the open ground sowings finer specimens result if— when sowing — a dibber is used to make holes, each of which is filled lightly with fine sand and loam. Bury two seeds just below the surface, thinning out the weaker of the two when they show — a long job but worth it. Keep down weeds, keep soil loose, keep watered. Make fortnightly sowings for succession till mid-July. An old plan, especially useful where space is limited, is to mix radish and carrot seeds. The first grow quickly and may be pulled before the carrots need all the space. In thinning carrots, if the roots left in the soil are exposed they fall prey to the carrot fly. Therefore firm in along the row as the thinning proceedes.

A gamma-BHC (lindane) insecticide will control carrot fly, applications being timed very carefully according to the manufacturer’s directions. Good varieties include Early Scarlet Horn, which is useful for early crops on thin soils, and Dobie’s Intermediate.

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