The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Carrots & Onions 2011


By balcony


Carrots & Onions 2011

Although I didn’t get much carrot fly I can’t tell if the onions made any difference. I sowed 5 rows of carrot seeds amongst the onions only they took a l-o-n-g time to germinate! When they did they didn’t do very well!

Onions harvested but the carrot seedlings (sown in situ) can be seen behind them after I lifted the onions.

As Gerry told me last year he had never been able to grow them on his plots I thought I would have a go (Something that “can’t” be done is like a red rag to a bull for me! I’ve just got to have a go myself!)

Carrots sown amongst Onions

Onions from seed Alisa Graig

Carrot seedlings in greenhouse

As they were taking so long to germinate I sowed some in a seedtray in the GH. They germinated quite well but by this time so had the ones amongst the onions!

This is from the day I planted out the seedlings that had been growing in the GH.

I pulled up the onions & managed to leave most of the carrot seedlings in the ground. I then planted up the bed with the carrot seedlings from the GH.

Rather fiddly but most, if not all, the seedling survived & went on to grow very well!

A few weeks ago I pulled them all up & was very disappointed to see that most of the roots were very twisted! Almost all of them were badly forked!

Yet that bed (& almost the whole allotment for that matter) had not been manured – not this year nor last as we didn’t know where to get any. Gerry has since found a source & we have lots now. The soil may have been rather hard & not deep enough but even with the dry summer/autumn we had I watered them quite frequently.

Next year I shall prepare the soil better, making sure it’s well broken up & loose.

More blog posts by balcony

Previous post: Plot 12A - The overgrown Raspberry bed’s demise

Next post: Seed sowing time is here again!



It must have been a disappointment after all your work and care, but pleased to hear its not detered you, so better luck for the next season ;0)

28 Nov, 2011


The Carrot seed didnt germinate because of the drought.
The rows need to be kept damp.
Best to sow 3 seeds to a small peat pot in the greenhouse, stand the pots in a solid tray with half an inch of water in the base. Plant out when big enough still in the pot, in land that hasnt been manured for 2 years. The allotment neighbour who told me picks out 2 of the seedlings so just leaves one in each pot.
Use your manure source to dig plenty in this month.
Plant over-winter onion sets for an early crop in June.
Plant maincrop Onion Sets in the spring. Turbo are the
best keepers.

29 Nov, 2011


Sorry I forgot. Sow Early Nantes first week in June for a crop in October.

29 Nov, 2011


Funny how you do something in the garden every year and forget why ! Carrot fly can smell Carrots from 7 miles away. So when thinning out, dont leave any roots exposed. I always mould the rows up, so the roots are covered with soil. Havent had any Carrot Fly for years.

The Carrot Fly problem is over at the end of May/early June. Thats why I started sowing the Early Nantes first week in June. They are slow growing, but will give me
2 rows of medium sized Carrots for the freezer early October.

I never grow for competitions. I have fresh picked organic vegetables every day on my dinner plate 365 days a year, all year round. There are not many who can say that.
Good luck on the allotment.

29 Nov, 2011


I suppose the carrots tasted just as good as if they were straight.
It sounds a good idea to plant them in between onions. Maybe there's something in onions that deters carrot fly.

29 Nov, 2011


This carrot and onion (or any Allium) combo is a great example of companion planting, Balcony. Have never attempted sowing carrot seed for later transplanting elsewhere, though, as I always understood that they don't, at all, like to be disturbed, so am glad that you say that it can be done, Diane, as have never sown carrot seed until June at the earliest, due to the fly.

Having no natural soil in my garden, have sown carrot seed in deep containers, choosing to fill with "Basics" brands of compost, my train of thought being that these must be far less nutritious than dearer brands. Also, I first thought that compost, with no stones, would prevent splitting/forking of the roots. This made no difference, however.

My only conclusion, after doing some research, was that my watering was not consistent enough for them as, despite my best efforts, the carrot tap roots split in their efforts to reach water/moisture :-(

Those onions, however, look just wonderful! :-))

29 Nov, 2011


There was a GW programme a while ago in which Carol was visiting some allotments in South Wales, a chappie on there has been growing his carrots in large containers for years, he keeps them 18ins above the ground on benches as apparently carrotfly doesn`t affect them then, its worth a try Balcony, as you say you`ll try anything........

29 Nov, 2011


Thank you all for your comments & suggestions! I appreciate them very much! :-))

Many thanks PP & I hope next year will be better.

@Dianebulley: Thanks for your comments on the care of carrots. About the germination I think you are right as once I got the onions up & planted out the seedling carrots from the GH, I started watering with greater frequency & the plants sown in situ got off much better. You will have seen from one of the photos in the blog how dense & green the plants became. I have many photos on the computer but I didn't want to add more so as not to bore people.

My carrots weren't thinned out as I planted them at what I thought was a reasonable distance between them.

Congratulations on having fresh veg on your plate 365 days a year! :-))

@Hywel: Apparently the smell of the onions masks the smell of carrots.

@David: I didn't know they say it can't be done! In my ignorance I treated them like any other plant from seed! The only difference being that as they make a tap root I did plant them out very early, just after the first true leaves had expanded but before any more developed. I can't be sure but I think I had 100% success rate in the transplanting! It's rather daunting planting out so many carrot seedlings!

Maybe you've hit the nail on the head & it was the lack of consistent watering that caused it! I must try to remember that for next year. There is so little vegetable matter in the soils on the allotment & there is a thick subsoil level of sand & gravel! The soil, as I've commented in several of my blogs, is like grey sand, though it does seem to grow good crops, even without artificial fertilizers (except for the tomatoes!)

@Lincslass: I, too, saw that programme, thanks for reminding me! I don't think there is much of a problem of carrot fly on the allotment field. One of the guys showed me the damage to the foliage they make but, as far as I understand it the problem is that they lay their eggs at the base of the foliage & the grubs bore into the root making tunnels. I didn't have that problem only a few leaves looked a little silverish. Perhaps having planted them out in July I, unknowingly, avoided the problem!

29 Nov, 2011


shame about some of the veg balcony and you work so hard to, i guess thats gardening for you, keep on with the good work though and hope for a good 2012, lots of onions though, i love red onions best, they digest alot better for some reason ;o))

30 Nov, 2011


Thanks for reading the blog & commenting, Sandra. :-)) You live & learn! Perhaps next year will be better!

30 Nov, 2011


Hi Balcony, carrots are something i have never been able to grow..i dont know what it is with them..i do know they dont like being transplanted has been said before, i have tried a few times over the years & given up on them least you got quite a good for onions..i planted them in & around most of the beds (got a good few packs from £1 shop) & they seemed to keep a good few pests away..from salads i had lots of :o)

30 Nov, 2011


I had no trouble growing them once I lifted the onions & started to water the seedlings more frequently. This has been my first attempt at growing them!

Perhaps you should have another try next year, Sandra.

I had no trouble with growing them other than trying to keep the bed moist. As the bed wasn't flat the water tended to run off the top & just be wasted. To get over the problem I'd water them a little & then go off somewhere else & come back later to give them a little more; I used to do hat several times before considering they had had enough.

1 Dec, 2011

Add a comment

Featured on

Recent posts by balcony

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    16 Mar, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    9 Aug, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    4 Jul, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    2 Nov, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    24 Jun, 2007

  • Gardening with friends since
    5 May, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    22 Oct, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    1 Apr, 2009