18 Nov 2011

Carrot characters

I may have spoken a bit too soon about the gloominess of the weather as we've had some lovely autumnal days over the past week. Fresh, breezy and crisply cold once you step away from the sunny spots. I'm always spurred into action by a bit of brightness in the day and last Sunday I found a few sunny spots in the veg patch that needed a tidy up so indulged in some warm lingering seed saving. Part of the tidy up involved removing some nasturtiums that were past their best; they were self-seeded from last year and had grown to cover the area previously occupied by onions and carrots. Once the nasturtiums (and baby snails and slugs) were removed, I found a good kilo of carrots still waiting to be harvested, although some presented a challenge to peel for the pot:

The good news is that none of them had any damage, whether from carrot fly or other beasties.  As they were grown in a raised bed, I'm uncertain whether this success (for the second year running) is due to the height of the beds or to companion planting them among onions.  Interestingly, I've also read that sage and rosemary make good companions for carrots. Worth a try for next year as both are very pretty herbs.

The main mistake was that I sort of forgot that the soil underneath the raised beds is not that great: quite heavy and given to clumping, if not obviously solid clay in parts.  These carrots are Amsterdam, a quick growing carrot that isn't supposed to get this big (but doesn't seem to suffer taste-wise for being allowed to grow on).  They've obviously encountered a few obstacles which have led to some very amusing results:

The self-plaiting carrot

The little walrus carrot

And my favourite:
Colin Carrott (by small child, aged 4)

Alas, they are no more.  They made a very delicious addition to a chicken and leek pie and a Root Veg Chilli.


  1. LOL, I like the Colin carrot but I guess you definitely need a deeper bed for them.

  2. Oh I absolutely love the look of those quirky carrots - don't care how they look - bet they taste 'very carroty!'

  3. You definitely wouldn't find any shapes like that in Sainsbury's, mores the pity, it doesn't matter what any veg looks like really as long as they're still useable - who cares.

  4. Lol! Love the carrot characters. I'm growing some in a raised bed this year with spring onions next to them...wondering if they're going to turn out like yours! Wouldn't matter if they did, mind you. They're still tasty :)

  5. I planted carrots in my onion bed this year and none of them were edible, the carrot root fly had had a good feast, so companion planting with onions didn't work for me. Carrots are another veg which taste so much nicer when home grown, so carroty.

  6. So funny. My son would have loved these. Maybe children would eat more veg if they all came in funny shapes. :)

  7. I just wish I could grow some decent carrots to eat regardless of their shape! Perhaps next year...said sighing! Flighty xx

  8. Great looking carrots, the less they look like shop bought the better!

  9. Becky, if I'd had more room I could have shown the BigNose family of carrots as well! Definitely need a deeper bed, perhaps growing in tubs next year.

    Shaheen, they were certainly very delicious!!

    Elaine, it would make my day to find carrot mis-shapes in the supermarket!

    Gwen, I'm sure your carrots will be lovely - lots of antipodean sunshine to help them along!

    Jo, luckily I haven't yet encountered the dreaded carrot root fly. Try growing in tubs next year, I think the added height will help!

    Lorna, you've given me a good idea for next year's gardening club! Perhaps the kids should deliberately grown quirky carrots! What fun!

    Flighty, I read that carrot seed is only really good for one year and I get mine going nice and early so maybe that helps. Also, I always top up the soil with a nice layer of new compost. Keep persevering!

    Caro xx

  10. Damo, our comments just crossed timewise! Your friend Darren Blick (champion veg grower) wouldn't be impressed but I bet your kids would! I wonder what the show judges would have made of these!

  11. LOL! But I'm sure they'll taste the same as 'perfect' carrots once they're in the pot :)

  12. These made me smile. My carrots were all got by carrot root fly so I'm going to try them in pots next year. Hopefully I'll have some comedy carrots of my own next year.

  13. Tanya, they tasted BETTER than perfect carrots because they were freshly dug from the ground! x

    Wellywoman, I hope to grow straight and quirky carrots next year but growing in pots is a great idea - I never seem to have enough carrots!


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