Friday, 10 December 2010

To cover or not to cover - That is the question?

Well at last the snow is beginning to thaw a bit here. The long carrot house I built last year has suffered a bit of damage due to the amount of snow but nothing irrepairable. This led to this post on the issue of whether you grow carrots for show under cover or not. There are several schools of thought on this - I grow my stumps under cover in tunnels, however I grow the long carrots in a mixture of polythene and enviromesh covers, although this year I will also be growing 36 completely under cover(more about them in later posts). The stump carrots without a doubt perform better under cover. Why? - Well one of the reasons may be a better and constant temperature. Research on carrots has shown that the root length and glucose content decreased as temperature increased.The carotene content stays unchanged at temperatures between 10 and 21c,but decreased as the temperature rises from 21 to 27c. Most experts also agree that the best colour and the highest content of carotenoids are obtained at temperatures above 16c and below 21c.So thats one of the reasons I cover,in that I am trying to keep as constant between these two temperatures as possible(not always easy!!).

These pictures show the structure for the long carrots and the tunnel for stumps.


  1. Hi Ian just looking at the photo of the long Carrot house and there are Carrots growing in some of the barrels is this an old photo or should I have sown some already?
    Cheers Paul.

  2. Paul - Don`t worry - This is an old phot - My long carrots don`t go in until early April

  3. I will never be able to compete with you with all those barrels you have
    Very impressive though
    My Mrs isn't very impressed with my carrots beds in the middle of the garden lol

  4. this is what i was doing today moving four of the large drums into the polytunnel. going too try doing them this way. the other drums i have outside will be parsnips and am going too give the long beet other go.

  5. I have put my barrels on top of a meter high raised bed above a 12"-18" trench
    Do you think the barrels big enough on their own or am I just being to ambitious lol ?

  6. Darren you are doing it the right way. My barrels are on top of 2 breeze blocks high with around 2ft of sand underneath as well. My barrels sit on 3x2 timber to keep them straight and to let me get at the tap root. If the root goes right down you will struggle to get all of it out without breaking some of it( I have tried lots of methods over the years - none succesful in getting the full tap root out). The barrels being supported on top of the breeze block bed lets me remove the sand right down the length of the tap root and then gently wash it to release the whole tap root.