Stage 2 of the ‘Good Life’ Carrots

I’m torn!  One part of me is full of optimism about our Good Life carrot experiment, the other thinks we might have been wasting our time.  Will they … won’t they?  Time alone will tell.

Fybogel & chitted carrot seeds

Fybogel & chitted carrot seeds

If you’re new to the story … here’s the plot so far.  Last year we saw an old re-run of the Good Life, where Tom and Barbara were sprouting carrot seeds and mixing them with wallpaper paste before sowing.  They used a cook’s piping bag to pipe a line into the drill.  As I’ve said before, nothing annoys me more than only getting half a story, so here you’re going to get a blow-by-blow account of the 2nd stage our carrot experiment (for the story so far, check out last weeks’ posts).

All was going well until I took the sprouting carrots seeds out of the airing cupboard.  Leave the clingfilm on … or take it off?  In the end, I took it off and left them on the window ledge overnight.  Needless to say they dried out, and I have no way of knowing whether I had done them irrevocable harm.  A dribble of water later, I set off to the kitchen to mix the dreaded Fybogel.

Piping chitted carrot jollop

Piping chitted carrot jollop

Trust me … when you actually have to drink this stuff, it sets in the glass in seconds!  When I want it to set, what happens?  You’ve guessed it … runny as hell!  So 6 sachets later (expensive game this) it was thick and ready to go.  Now … should I mix the seeds in here or wait until we got to the allotment?  I tell you, this game is fraught with hazards!  I finally decided to transport the chitted seeds and Fybogel jollop individually, if for no better reason than they didn’t actually want to part company from the kitchen paper at this stage!  Perhaps I’d overdone the water?  Who knows? This is an experiment, after all!

Weeding done and carrot seeds slightly dried out (again), I set to work.  Now this Fybogel stuff is really gluey and sticky and, by the time I’d finished, most of the shed was covered in it!  The chitted carrot seeds were clinging fast to the kitchen paper (aaargh! what if I damaged them trying to get them off?) and I had to resort to a teaspoon and some brute force to get them off.

3 drills of chitted carrots

3 drills of chitted carrots

Earlier, I’d decided the best way might be to improvise with a placcy bag, rather than subject my best kitchen piping bag to this indignity.  After all … who would want to eat whipped cream with Fybogel, garnished with chitted carrots?  I will admit once to sacrificing a piping bag to sand and cement when I used it to point a York stone fireplace … worked a treat, but that’s another story!

Tra-la!  Placcy piping bag filled with chitted carrot jollop and we’re ready to go.  It was nice and easy to pipe in the drills, as you’ll see from the pictures.  Shortly later our embryonic carrots were enclosed in their mesh ‘play pen’ ready to thwart the most ardent carrot flies.

As I said … I’m torn between waves of optimism and outright panic at the thought of failure.  If it is a success, I think I’ll be finding some fungicide-free wallpaper paste online and making the investment.  But I tell you what … I’m going back up to allotment tomorrow to plant more carrots the old-fashioned way … just in case!


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8 Responses to “Stage 2 of the ‘Good Life’ Carrots”

  1. Damo Says:

    Best of luck……I thought my carrot growing experiment was complicated!

  2. Joy McCarthy Says:

    Thanks Damo … watch this space! If it works, I’m sure it will get easier.

  3. Sue Says:

    I hope it works, it’s a very interesting idea, I saw that episode of the Good Life too!!

    Last year we had a bumper crop of carrots, grown outdoors in tyres and in the polytunnel in two raised beds, we were eating them from the pt beds until February of this year, (although I did have to hack a few frozen ones out!!)

    I never have (touch head made of wood) had a problem with carrot fly yet!! I don’t use any netting or companion planting either for the carrots. We’ll see how this year goes.

    Sue xx

  4. Joy McCarthy Says:

    Hi Sue

    Like the idea of growing carrots in tyres. We did pop bottles in 2008 with great results, but very time consuming. Intended to do it again last year, but never got round to it.

    Perhaps the location of our allotment, right next to a hedgerow, increases the number of carrot flies.

    I’ve never tried storing carrots and would love to know how to go about it. It would take a lot of pressure off the freezer!


  5. Sue Says:

    I though the first photo was carrot soup!

  6. Joy McCarthy Says:

    That’s just what it looks like Sue! Mind you, by the time it was taken, it had set solid and came out like a jelly. Yuk! Lets hope it works. Watch this space.

  7. Let the harvest commence! « The Oxfordshire Copywriters' Allotment Says:

    […] situation.  We’ve given up on the carrots … 3 packets of seeds, planted conventionally and our Good Life experiment, and we have about 6 to show for it.  The parsnips, which have always been one of our champion […]

  8. Of planting, peas, and pests « The Oxfordshire Copywriters' Allotment Says:

    […] onion experiment (having taken over from last year’s carrot one) continues.  Half of the little onion plants are in the ground, while the other 50% are growing on […]

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