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I have read so much about carrot fly, am I right to be put off giving carrots/parsnips a go? x
There are a number of ways of combating carrot fly. I grow mine under enviromesh which is fine enough to keep out the flies.
They are not good flyers so if you can grow them in raised beds or elevated containers that also helps.
You can also try companion planting with onions or chives which people say masks the smell, I'm not convinced but others swear by it.
I love the taste of fresh carrots so I think they are worth the effort.
Parsnips dont suffer as much so long as you do your thinning early in the season before the carrot fly gets going and then wait till late autumn before picking, otherwise just follow the same precautions as for carrots.
It may take a while for the carrot fly to find you. Two years ago, when I first got a raised bed going, I planted carrots and we had a fine old harvest of healthy carrots - early Nantes they were, although we planted them a bit late. Last year, I planted EN, and Chantenay red cored and Autumn King, and the carrot fly arrived and all of them got black lines through them. This year, I have made a frame around the carrot bed, and have made sure to grow the carrots in a bed that had no carrots last year, in case the larvae are in the soil. And it looks like this...
attractive feature in any garden, I'm sure you'll agree! But needs must where the carrot fly drives, etc.
I like that idea busy. Might build one tomorrow!
I'm planning to have bespoke frames for all my raised beds Dave, so I can crop rotate, and use polythene over the top in winter to warm up the soil. But it doesn't look so nice. We also get wasps all over the late strawberries, and hoardes of cabbage white butterflies, so it is all a bit essential
Is feverfew any good for confusing the little beggars, I wonder? I have some on the allotment and have moved them to the edges of my root and brassica beds in the hope of disguising the smell.
Well the good thing for me is I have a small allotment 100mtr from my house which came my way only in early April. I am behind with sowing and planting, but I know it will all catch up, but I was wondering how to resist the carrot fly, that is a great solution, especially as I have access to unlimited pallets.
Steve........Feverfew should be good if your Carrot fly are complaining of a headache (this presumably if you got cross and have bashed them over the head with your spade )
You are right in that it smells pretty awful which is why you should eat it as a sandwich - I've not heard that it repels carrot fly but always worth a try.
I grow carrots in buckets, hopefully high enough to prevent carrotfly, but do plant a couple of garlic chives in with them & put some cuttings from curry plant on top.
Liseals, only probs I've had with parsnip is getting them to germinate, don't know if carrot root fly a prob with them but wouldn't think so based on name.
Have a go, grow what you enjoy eating
Kef...........when you say cuttings from Curry plant do you mean just trimmings ? If so, is one lot sufficient or do you have to replace during the carrot growth ?
Carrot fly will attack parsnips, if you thin them when the carrot fly are active then you stand a high chance of the roots being affected.
They are most active May to October so if you thin early you may miss getting attacked as its custom to wait for a frost before picking parsnips.
KEF; excuse me if you already know this, but parsnip seed has a very short shelf life; that may be the cause of the germination problems.
Busy, you will still need some height around the bed. The carrot fly does not fly very high at all. I normally grow them in big high pots; one year I had to grow them quite low down in a very large grow bag, so I placed canes at each corner and tied polythene on to them to a height of 60 cm. It certainly worked.
has anyone grown carrots in a polytunnel. and with what results. it might keep out carrotfly.
Artjak - what do you mean about height? The whole thing is enclosed with polythene frames at the sides and insect netting at the top, so the flies can't get in, but water can. It is about the height of carrot tops, so should be okay.
Looks perfect to me Busy, as long as the netting is sealed, as it is, the flies cant get in.
Ah now I'm glad you have brought that up Scroggin, because I was wanting to know whether carrot flies are casual opportunists or determined beggars, because there are some gaps between the wooden battens - probably only a 1mm or 2mm gap, but if you think the carrot flies would sneak in, we have an endless supply of duct tape from Lidl, and I could tape up the gaps. The netting is stapled with a gun to the frame and put 'join down' at the top, and the polythene on the side panels is likewise stapled to the frames.
After all that effort I would use the duct tape. Carrot flies, though poor fliers, have a good sense of smell, when you are thinning the carrots I would do it in the evening when they are less active and then seal the netting with duct tape to kep them out.
They probably would'nt get in your frame but better safe than sorry
Thanks Scroggin. yes I do try to thin in the evenings. I will presume that carrot flies are the James Bonds, the veritable 'Milk Tray men' of the insect world then!! Duct tape it is