Alternative to sand for growing show carrots?

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Totty

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Alternative to sand for growing show carrots?
« on: November 05, 2011, 21:37 »
Hi all, does anyone know the specific benefit of using sand to bore holes into, and then filling these holes with the perfect medium for the carrot to grow in?

I was considering just filling a large container with soil and boring the holes into that,then filling with a mixture the carrots will like. Is there any reason that this wont work as well as doing it with sand?

Totty

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Ice

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Re: Alternative to sand for growing show carrots?
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2011, 22:05 »
What medium the carrots will like do you have in mind?  Carrots have a tap root that you need to encourage to grow downwards in search of food and water.  Any stones or soil with good nutrition will cause them to fork.
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Totty

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Re: Alternative to sand for growing show carrots?
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2011, 12:26 »
The bored holes would be filled with a mixture of compost, a little sand and some calcifed seaweed. The growing medium itself will be light, stone free and free draining. but people advise boring the holes into sand, im wondering why i cant fill my container with soil, and bore holes into that.

totty

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cooperman

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Re: Alternative to sand for growing show carrots?
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2011, 12:43 »
I assume you are growing for "show" purposes then?
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Totty

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Re: Alternative to sand for growing show carrots?
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2011, 12:50 »
Yup, gonna try them this year. Was quite successful in the show last year but not with any carrots, fancy giving them a proper go this year

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LilacSandy

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GrannieAnnie

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Re: Alternative to sand for growing show carrots?
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2011, 14:43 »
Not that I grow to show, but one year I filled a container with growing medium, pushed 4 x 2 litres pop bottles into it with their bottoms cut off so that the cut offs were at the top, and filled the bottles with sand.  But I did it for parsnips and the blooming parsnips didn't grow!     :( :(

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Jamie Butterworth

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Re: Alternative to sand for growing show carrots?
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2011, 17:30 »
One of the main benefits to using sand is that it is a lot lot easier to bore holes into, the sand will keep its structure, and as the soil is a lot heavier and denser, it is more likely to fall back into the holes and collapse :)
Sharpy sand is the ideal sand to use :)
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yorky

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Re: Alternative to sand for growing show carrots?
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2011, 18:16 »
I fill my 3 feet deep container with a mixture of 5 parts sieved soil, 1 part course sand and 1 part peat. The seed is sown at the end of March in the greenhouse using toilet roll inners filled with 3 parts sieved MP compost, 1 part sieved soil and 1 part silver sand. To plant out I use a broom handle plunged to the bottom of the container and wiggled about to make a nice planting hole, which is filled with the same mixture as for sowing.
The important thing is to plant out within a few days of the seed germinating before the tap root emerges from the bottom of the toilet roll inner.
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Totty

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Re: Alternative to sand for growing show carrots?
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2011, 18:32 »
Ok then thanks, but what is the benefit of filling the container with good growing medium if, in theory, the carrot root will never grow outside of the bored hole?

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yorky

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Re: Alternative to sand for growing show carrots?
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2011, 21:53 »
Good question. The only benefit that I can see in my system is that it makes it easy to make the planting hole. I don't add any fertilizer because as you say the carrot should only grow in the planting mix. I have used the same medium for about 5 years now. After the carrots are out I give it a good mix then shovel it back into the cotainer. I don't grow any world beaters but they are good for our local show.

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Totty

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Re: Alternative to sand for growing show carrots?
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2011, 20:51 »
The idea of sowing seed in loo rolls is an excellent one. i reckon parsnip seed would benefit from that too as they are a bit hit and miss to germinate if the temp is not right. the only benefit i can see with using sand is so that it drains fast, thus not keeping the medium surrounding the bore holes moist, which in turn will make the carrot run deep for water, which is the general idea for growing long carrots i think. Mine are sweet candle though and i think its better to have them consistently damp, to keep the uniform shape and stump root, which is why i thought perhaps using soil (which will hold the water a little better than sand) may be a better medium than sand to surround the bore holes??!!??
All for a nice straight carrot! :)

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Jamie Butterworth

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Re: Alternative to sand for growing show carrots?
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2011, 22:51 »
If the soil is kept very damp like you suggest, would the carrot not grow as long, as it wouldn't need to go down looking for water, if its got everything it needs at the top of the soil, then surely it will be tempted to stay where all the moisture is?!?

 :)

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Totty

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Re: Alternative to sand for growing show carrots?
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2011, 21:36 »
The aim for the stump rooted sweet candle is to have uniform straight carrots with a blunt end. For the long maincrop carrots i think the drier conditions will force them to search for water, thus having the desired effect of long and pointed. But with the stumpys i think a more stable moisture should achieve more uniform roots. I hope.... :)

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Carrot Man

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Re: Alternative to sand for growing show carrots?
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2011, 08:28 »
Hi Totty
Apologies as I haven't read all the replies above and may duplicate another comment
Most top showers use the sand as the main supporting medium medium around the mix
It is firm to bore in but also contains all the nutrients to the mix inside the bore so you have more chance getting uniformity for all your carrots

The soil will provide additional nutrients so there will be no benefit calculating the fertilizer you put in the mix as you won't know what is being obtained from the soil

Last year I grew short carrot in bore holes made in the soil with added mix, just for eating and they were awesome. No good for showing but the biggest baddest carrots I have ever grow for eating

All the best
« Last Edit: December 04, 2011, 19:56 by John »


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