Vanishing Carrots

I could cry when I look at this photo, this is how my carrots usually look around about now. The growing season this year has been a real mixed bag of baking hot or wet cold weather, it’s been either one or the other. My vegetable garden doesn’t know if it should spring into life or slink underground for cover.

Recently I’ve had a problem with slugs and snails eating my carrot seedlings at night (let’s face it, they have the upper hand with the weather being on their side), I found evidence of their night-time activities – sparkling slime trails across the surface of the soil and carrot seedlings half munched or gone completely. I placed a covering of prickly holly all the way round the rows and sowed more seed, I thought this would stop the little rascals in their slimy tracks, and for a while it appeared to be working.

Up popped my carrots once more, thanks to a spell of warm weather. All was looking good for a while, then the rain and cold came back and all 3 rows of my beautiful little carrot seedlings vanished. Gone. Almost as if the ground opened up and swallowed them whole, in one fell swoop. The carrot seed I’m using is fresh this year and I’ve rotated to avoid roots being in the same bed for 3 years running, the strange thing is the parsnips in the same bed are growing like the clappers and have remained untouched all the way through. So, this has got me thinking; Have I bought dodgy carrot seed? Are slugs and snails around these here parts partial to carrots only? Are slugs and snails actually to blame? Will I ever pull carrots this year?

I can only assume the weather has produced a bumper amount of slimers and they’re really enjoying my carrot growing efforts. I’ve never had a problem with slugs or snails to this extent before, I’m not one to go shaking slug pellets everywhere as I’ve never been into harming wildlife or my pets. Beer traps are just yucky things to deal with so I won’t be going down that route either. Perhaps I should give something like organic slug pellets a try (are they actually safe?) or sow in large pots, off the ground?

Are you having problems this year? Go on, tell me and make me feel better.

Prickly Peas and Carrots

This year I’ve had a real problem with mice digging up and eating my pea seed, also snails and slugs eating my carrot seedlings. Thanks to my slimy and furry foe I’ve had 3 long rows of carrots wiped out and endless amounts of pea seeds.

I’ve started the carrots again, carefully placing clippings from our holly tree around the rows. I switched from direct sowing of peas to sowing in modules (I must get on the guttering train), along with purple and green mangetout in the greenhouse. I planted out a tray of Shiraz mangetout last weekend, placing lots of holly clippings around the base of each seedling.

Hopefully the prickly holly will protect my peas and emerging carrots.