Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Carrots by the Stream!

In addition to planting potatoes, Sunday's visit to the London Vegetable Garden allotment included the planting of some carrots.

If you followed me last year, you'll remember that I didn't have much success with growing carrots, namely because they like to grow downwards, which is problematic when one is only growing in shallow pots! But I also learnt that you need to plant carrots thinly if you are to achieve any real success.

The first variety I planted was the small, sweet 'Royal Chartenay Red' variety, which came as part of my free seed packet, courtesy of the BBC's 'Dig In' campaign. According to the packet, these sweet baby carrots will be ready to pull up in 12 weeks, which means we'll expect vegetables in July, so watch this space!

The second type of carrot I planted was another early-cropping variety, 'Daucus Carota Early Nantes 2'. These can apparently be planted from late winter through to summer, so I'm hoping that they are a hardy variety for an amateur urban gardener like myself.

Now, these carrots prefer cool conditions, so I have planted these in one of my 3 raised beds, which are located in some shade next to the stream:

I have planted 4 small rows of carrots (2 rows of each variety) in rows approximately 1 metre long. These rows have about 12cms between each row and the carrot seeds have been planted thinly. Once the shoots start showing, I can thin these where I have been too liberal with my planting!

So there we go – the second seeds are in the ground. Last year, my balcony afforded me plenty of room to grow seeds in pots on the warm balcony windowsill – a 'luxury' I can't employ this year. Nevertheless, I plan to see how I can overcome this obstacle and of course, I am now officially waiting to receive my window box garden plants from Cornwall. Watch this space!


  1. You didn't waste much time in getting started. It's so exciting when you've finally got some space in which to plant. Good luck with your carrots, mine didn't want to germinate last year, but I'm trying again this year.

  2. I am attempting to grow carrots in a pot, but it's quite a nice deep pot. I managed to accidently sow them not quite as thinly as I'd hoped, but am hoping I can solve this by thinning out! Still, I have seedlings growing, so it's a start!

  3. Am aiming to plant my carrots in the pot tomorrow. It is a round pot which is making me wonder how is the best way to do it.

  4. Your plot by the stream looks lovely.

    My carrots are doing pretty well in a 14 litre trug covered with a fleece - hope they're better than last years!

  5. Hi I'm just catching up on everyone's blogs that I follow.

    Well you are defo on your way, my carrots are in the ground too and last Sunday I observed some tiny shoots.

  6. Dude, your carrots will need full sun to attain maximum weight and sweetness.
    You could write a book about food production in shaded and demi-shaded areas, but my own thinking is full sun is better for pretty much most of what we grow in northern Europe, but blackcurrants, gooseberries, rhubarb interesting exceptions, as are many herbs, and salads of all sorts

  7. Thanks for all of your comments! I went up to the allotment yesterday and am rather concerned that the soil is not as fine as I would like. Has anyone found that this is an issue for sowing seeds directly into the ground?

    As for the shade issue, this raised bed is under a bit of shade for a lot of the day, so thought that root vegetables would do better here as they grow under the ground - is this rational thinking or does anyone have any contrary opinions?

  8. I understand you way of thinking but remember the plant still has to draw its energy from the sun and so its leaves will do better in full sun but I wouldn't worry too much.

    Plants that seem to like the shade a bit are lettuce, fennel, spinach as the reduced heat helps them to not bolt to soon.

    celery would prefer some shade too as then the soil won't dry out too much and they like it a bit boggy.

    hope this helps.

  9. Wish you great success with the Early Nantes 2 carrots. I have grown these in containers for the last two years with wonderful results. Picking the first baby ones for use with salads and letting the others grow on we enjoy the beautiful flavoured carrots for months.

    Mary Bailey
    Wickford, Essex, U.K.
    English Garden

  10. Just an update for you all, but I think I need to spend some time better preparing the soil, as it's very lumpy and hard. I plan to mix in some compost and make it very fine, since these tiny seeds are planted very shallowly in the ground.

  11. Your plot by the stream looks awesome!
    The carrots i've planted are doing ok in a 10l container covered in a blanket - hopefully the frost won't get to them



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