The Great Carrot Experiment

Carrots. My favourite vegetable, and one I’ve found difficult to grow. That may be because I’ve always had gardens on heavy clay. But now all has changed, and I’m trying again. As the garden is still being prepared for any sort of planting, I thought I’d try a method of sowing I’ve not used before with carrots, and it neatly involves recycling. Hence, the great carrot experiment begins. It all starts with toilet roll tubes!



I’ve filled them with compost and placed one seed in each (a fiddly job to say the least!) These are of course going to allow plenty of depth for the carrots to send their roots straight down and will hopefully encourage long straight roots that don’t split. They’re now in the cold frame and I eagerly await germination. Once established, my intention is to plant them straight in the ground, very well watered, complete with tube. This means there will be no thinning out, so less chance of carrot root fly finding them, and gets around the fact that I’ve had to dig the soil close to planting, which usually causes roots splitting in carrots, as in the photo. Before you say anything, nature did this, not me!

split carrot

Split carrot

I’ve also sown dwarf french beans, three to a five-inch pot in my conservatory (the holding spot for seedlings until the greenhouse is built). This method was taught by the late Geoff Hamilton, and he expected you’d be able to harvest from the pot in about June. That should save quite a lot of money, as we love our beans and they’re expensive, both in monetary and carbon terms when bought from the supermarket. Often they’re shipped in from abroad with a high carbon footprint and lots of packaging. Not ecologically sound, in my book. Everything I do here is based on organic growing, so our food costs the planet and us as little as possible and are as healthy for us as possible.

Broad beans are through and in the cold frame, as is parsley. And yesterday I finally did some planting of herbs in the first bit of garden I’ve managed to clear and sort out. This patch is right next to the patio and barbeque, and handy for the kitchen, so perfect for part of my herb collection. I found out the previous owners did nothing out there, and lived in the house twelve years, so It was well overdue for an overhaul. While digging and sorting the plants that were in that border I found vine weevil, which I will treat with nematodes.

Herbs have always interested me not only because of the wonderful flavours you can put into a meal, but for their medicinal properties. Plants have always amazed me with their knack of survival, too. We know that a poppy-seed can germinate after 100 years in the soil, popping up the minute it is exposed to a bit of light. But the following report is truly astounding and shows firstly just how amazing seeds can be and how important plant medicine can be.

“Israeli researchers say they have succeeded in growing a date palm from a 2,000-year-old seed.”

date palm

Date Palm

Here’s the link for the full article from the BBC

Fascinating stuff and possibly, in the future, new medicine from a previously extinct plant. Isn’t nature wonderful?

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