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Tips to beat carrot root fly

Monster carrot winner at Harrogate Autumn Show – I should be so lucky

My garden suffers from terrible carrot root fly, which ruins carrot crops. Adults are attracted to the smell of bruised foliage and lay their eggs in the soil –  the larvae munch through the roots, rendering them useless.

I’ve tried so-called resistant varieties, growing under fleece, growing very hardy varieties overwinter in pots more than 2ft off the ground (the adults can only fly that high) with poor results.

However, here are some other ideas to beat them:

Futile attempt to grow carrots in old recycling bins

Plant spring onions and mint alongside carrots to deter the pests.

Reduce the risk of an attack by thinning plants in the evening on a still day. It’s important to sow thinly, as removing the excess seedlings is what attracts the carrot root fly.

To thin, water the seedlings well so you don’t break the roots. Leave seedlings at 2-4cm apart. After three-four weeks, repeat so they are 5-10cm apart.

Best of all, grow in a bed covered in Enviromesh.

potted-guide-logoPotted guide: carrots

  •  SOWING TIME: March-July outdoors; February under cloches/greenhouse borders.
  •  HARVESTING TIME: June-October.
  •  PLANTING DISTANCE: Sow 1cm deep, thinly, approx 30cm between rows. Thin in stages until you have 10cm between maincrop varieties, 5cm for baby carrots.
  • ASPECT AND SOIL: Full sun, light, well-drained soil, no rocks or lumps – causes roots to ‘fang’, or split.
  • HARDINESS: Hardy.
  • DIFFICULTY: Easy – unless your garden suffers from carrot root fly.
  • RECOMMENDED VARIETIES: Flyaway/Resistafly (partial carrot root fly resistance), Early Nantes 5 (early), Mokum, Atomic Red, Autumn King 2, Bangor, Purple Haze, Purple Sun, Yellowstone, Rainbow, Healthmaster, Parmex, Tendersnax.