preparing ground for carrots

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preparing ground for carrots
« on: September 18, 2011, 09:17 »
My carrots this year that I grew at home, in a raised bed and from seed, where lovely and straight.  The ones at my allotment grown from modules where beautiful shapes!  I would like to try again at the allotment but the soil is quite heavy.  I read I can add sand but when is the best time?

Thank you



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Re: preparing ground for carrots
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2011, 14:15 »
stick with raised beds, if the soil is at all heavy no amount of sand will help as you have to rotate crops meaning you will have to do it all over again.

I have three raised beds on my allotment, the soil is old spent compost (from my tomato greenhouse) with HORTICULTURAL sand added (NOT builders sand) - I also add some muck every third year plus plenty of Fish/Blood/Bone.

I cycle each bed through Carrots then Salad then onions....

I cannot grow a decent carrot straight in the ground, they always come up totally paranoid!
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Re: preparing ground for carrots
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2011, 14:28 »
I find that heavy soil is not as big a problem as stoney soil. If you dig it over then let it stand for the frost and rain to do its work over winter, you can then rake in your sand when you are getting ready for sowing. That way you will have a nice tilth to sow into. If you try to dig in enough sand to make a heavy soil sandy all the way down you will need tons and tons of the stuff.
I notice that you started off in modules. This in itself can be the cause of funny shaped carrots. If you dont plant them out within a day or two of germination the tap root hits the bottom of the module and will then never make a straight carrot.
I grow a few carrots for showing and start them in the greenhouse sown into toilet roll inners. It only takes a few days from germination for the tap root to reach the bottom. Leave it too long and its a waste of time planting them out. In my opinion carrots for the kitchen are always best sown direct into the ground.
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Re: preparing ground for carrots
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2011, 16:04 »
Thank you.  I think I will try just seed next year at the allotment and see what happens.  I do enjoy the shapes but would prefer them not to be completely wrapped around each other!



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Re: preparing ground for carrots
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2011, 21:43 »
I have heavy silty and stony soil on our plot, so every time a bed is empty of crops I take out every stone I can that is more than 1cm across.

Sometimes from  bed 2.4m by 1.2m I got six or seven builder's buckets of stones, but 18months later, on the thord or fourth round, this is much reduced.

I also add every possible bit of compost/old growbags etc as well, to bullk up the soil.

Carrots were almost straight this time around, so don;t give up  :D

Also, don;t forget to cover with environmesh or fine net curtians (broken record but I didn't do it properly this year and had carrot fly grubs in so many of the roots  :tongue2: )
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