This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  tess 11 years, 8 months ago.

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    Hi, any tips on growing carrots? I grew them for the first time this year and many, but not all, were short fat stubby things. Lovely flavour but its definitely a case of size matters here! What went wrong?! The allotment had been untended for a few years when I took it over last summer. I painstakingly dug out the dense couch, dandelions and bindweed over the winter. That bit of the plot didn’t have any manure added and although I tried not to walk on it couldn’t stop my two boys playing on it (they were 1 and 3 at the time so not too heavy!). Any advise for a more successful harvest next year?
    Many thanks in advance, Tess



     Hi Tess

    Sounds alright for a first year. I don’t think your mini boys will have caused soil compaction!

    I suspect the roots are short because the soil is weak and needs some well rotted manure, or compost, two or three inches on top. Apply it asap, knock it around through the winter to break lumps and create some tilth, and then you can sow carrot, parsnip etc into it next spring.

    I know all the books say ‘no manure/compost for root veg’ but they assume it is being dug in. When on the surface, the seeds germinate in it and root down into the improving soil below.My carrots, mostly Early Nantes,  average about 15cm (6") and parsnips are often 30cm or a foot long, with no forking. Keep adding some organic matter every autumn, or at other times if convenient, and your harvests will improve.

    PS A mature, well fed organic soil is firm enough to take a person’s weight without damage to its structure. My clay soil is certainly in that condition, and is certainly not soft and crumbly to the touch – yet it grows excellent roots and so forth.



    Thanks Charles. Will be interesting to see how my parsnips come out. I put down the first load of manure today so looking forward to next spring already!

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