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protecting carrots

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OK, I'm trying to plan my veg patch as I have onions waiting to put in - this is the first yr so not grown carrots(other than in containers) before and I am trying to figure out the best way to protect them from carrot fly. I don't want to go to all the effort to find when I harvest them that they are ruined (if they get that far that is)! I have heard that companion planting isn't all that reliable??? So I am thinking I should try a barrier but can't figure out how to do it or what to use (eg been suggested to use plastic sheeting strips a foot and a half high all round-or I thought maybe that enviromesh stuff...but how to attach it to canes I have no idea! ). Does anyone have any ideas / benefit of experience??? I would settle for some of those mesh tunnels (lol, I'm going to be about to have a baby when it comes to sowing time so could do without too much scrabbling around :lol: ) but I think it wouldn't be the wisest use of space.

Oh and I am going to be sowing parsnips at the end of this month, do they need to be in the protection zone too? I read somewhere the other day that they are also suseptable to carrotfly attack, but I hadn't seen it mentioned in my books (I don't think! Memory is doubtful at the mo!).

Thanks in advance!

Maddy (who can't wait to get started!)

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Last year I sowed mine mixed in with nigella (Love-in-a-Mist) and had no carrot fly - but it was very wet last summer so I might just have been lucky! This year I have some very early carrots (Early Nantes) sown in late January under cloches made from 2litre soft drinks bottles - hopefully they will be ready to be harvested as baby carrots before the carrot fly even gets going!


A physical barrier is certainly most reliable, but I've never tried it so I have no idea how to do it! I had a look in Carol Klein's "Grow Your Own Veg" book, and it looks like she builds a framework of canes, with horizontals as well as uprights, and pins/staples the barrier material onto it.


Some useful tips:



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I have raised beds too and plant my carrots in between rows of onions and garlic. The smell of the onion confuses the carrot fly and the smell of the carrot confuses the onion fly.


As far as I know, the carrot fly can only fly (hover) about 30 cms off the ground, so any physical barrier needs to be at least that high. As Egluntine has mentioned, marigolds are good as they let off a powerful smell. I use them to stop whitefly on my tomatoes (plus they are really easy to grow from seed).


Good luck

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Thanks Peeps. Looked in the Carol Klein book last night and they had a timber frame with the fleece stapled on I think.... I guess I should make the effort and try and make one! Still don't know about parsnips tho, she said in her book that you might want to protect them from carrot fly, but with carrots she said you definitely need to.... grrrr... who thought it would be so confusing :oops:

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I think other roots in the same family can be affected, but they probably don't smell as good to the carrot fly as real carrots. They will probably be OK if you follow the standard advice about what time of day you thin the young plants, and maybe try some companion planting to help put them off the scent...

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We have grown all of our own carrots for about 7 years now.


At first we grew them in an area surrounded by a barrier made from an old wooden ladder covered in polythene this did a pretty good job of keeping the carrot fly at bay but eventually they would get in usually in January the following year (we are lucky with our sandy soil that we can leave the carrots in the ground in the winter and harvest when needed)


We then tried a year of growing them in double rows surrounded by onions this again worked until about January.


We now cover them with enviromesh when we sow them. We dig the mesh in on one side and hold the other three sides down with lengths of wood and metal poles and other assorted heavy things, this is pretty foolproof and so long as you leave some slack in the mesh the carrots just push up underneath it so it doesn't need to be attatched to anything. We are still harvesting lovely carrots that were sown in March last year.


I believe they work well in tall raised beds or barrels, but I have not tried this.


We grow our parsnips without protection and they are fine.


Hope this helps, good luck with the baby and the veggie growing, it is so satifying to have your own veg and you will be able to wean your baby and your own parsnip and carrot purees how good is that :D

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