The picture above is of some carrots that I dug up on my allotment two days ago. As I explained back in June, I have taken to sowing carrots in deep pots and planting them out as an undisturbed pot full once they are a couple of inches high.
I started to do this because I was getting nowhere sowing them directly into the ground; they would germinate then disappear within days because of slugs. Doing them in pots has worked very well, with almost no losses once they are planted on the plot.
They grow as a clump, 30 in this instance, and their growth doesn’t seem to be impaired by being so close together. I usually try to sow around 20 in a pot and have found I get near perfect germination every time.
The weeds have got a bit of a toehold but this is my carrot patch now. Until a couple of weeks ago the wire hoops were supporting enviromesh, which did an excellent job of keeping out carrot fly. It is however a bit of a nuisance when planting, weeding or harvesting so next year I plan to use a vertical barrier around the carrots rather than over the top. The nuisance is worth it for clean carrots without a doubt.
The clump I just lifted was around 9 inches across when lifted, having been planted from a 1 litre deep pot around 3 inches across. The blog where I showed them being planted is here. The variety is ‘Resistafly’ but I grew ‘Romance’ and ‘Marian’ as well and there was no real difference between them in performance.
Deep pots are mainly seen in garden centres in the climbers, which are usually in 2 litre deeps. Roses are another thing usually sold in deep pots, they are potted up having been dug from the ground and have long roots that are easier to get into a deep pot, usually a 3 or 4 litre. One litre deeps are something of a collectors item.
In this picture the pots are from left to right a normal 1 litre pot, a 1 litre deep pot, a pot used for a young tree and a normal 9cm pot. Some people think of 9cm pots as 3 inch. The tree pot has longitudinal ribs to deter the roots from girdling the pot. I use both the middle two for carrots, there isn’t a lot to choose between them though the tree pot has a considerably smaller volume, meaning less seedlings will be needed to hold the compost together when planting. I plant them when the tops are a couple of inches high and a few fibrous roots are coming out of the bottom. I water the pots well, then give them an hour or two to drain, leaving them at optimal moistness for the compost to hold together. Dig the hole first, try the pot in it for size and depth, then tip out the clump of seedlings and carefully lower them into the hole. Push the loose soil back around the rootball but firm it only very lightly, then work a little between the seedlings at the surface before watering thoroughly. Plant with the surface of the compost 1-2 cm below the surrounding ground level. I leave about 15cm between clumps.
When it comes to harvesting I usually pull the whole of a clump out of the ground and shake off the compost. Lovely.