Carrot Patio Planter

  • How to Protect Carrots from Carrot Fly

    If you have yet to experience that awful sinking feeling of lifting carrot after carrot riddled with dark crevices, tunnelled out by the dreaded carrot fly larvae, then consider yourself lucky. But for those of you that have, fear not! Haxnicks have been fighting various garden pests for over 20 years, and have picked up a few tricks along the way...

    How to protect your Carrots from Carrot Fly with Haxnicks
    Image courtesy of www.morguefile.com

    But first... some facts about carrot fly:

    • Carrot fly also affects other vegetables in the parsley family, such as Parsnip, Celery, Dill, Coriander, Fennel and Celeriac
    • They are attracted to the smell of bruised foliage
    • The larvae that damage the roots can continue to feed through the autumn into winter, moving between plants
    • The adult carrot fly is approximately 9mm long.  It is a slender, metallic, greenish-black fly with yellow legs and head. Larvae are creamy white, tapering maggots

    How can you tell if your carrots are infected? - Check for reddening of the foliage and stunted growth

     

    So now we know a little bit about the pest itself, we can look at some of the ways which we can protect our crops from infestations:

    1.  Make sure to avoid using previously infested ground. Carrot fly larvae are capable of surviving through the winter, so avoid re-sowing any vegetable from the Parsley family (see above)
    2. Avoid sowing during the main egg-laying periods, which are (for most parts of the UK): mid-April to the end of May & Mid-July to the end of August.
    3. Sow disease and pest resistant varieties such as Fly Away F1 and Resistafly F1, available from garden centres and online seed suppliers.
    4. Erect a fine-mesh barrier at the time of sowing – at least 70cm high. Check out our Micromesh Pest & Wind Barrier which will work for containers and open ground.  Or a Micromesh Tunnel - with 0.6mm netting it will keep the Carrot Fly from getting to your precious crop.
    5. Sow thinly so as to avoid ‘thinning out’, releasing the smell of bruised foliage
    6. Thin out or harvest on a dry evening with no wind – or use scissors so that no bruising of foliage occurs
    7. Try companion planting - growing varieties of pungent Rosemary, Sage or Marigold as a deterrent/’smokescreen’
    8. Grow your carrots in planters taller than 70cm - for example the Haxnicks Oxford fabric planter or Carrot Patio Planters
    9. Lift main carrot crops by Winter, especially if any are infected – don’t leave them in the ground to serve as food for overwintering larvae.

    Thinning out tip: Use scissors to avoid bruising the foliage (and releasing the carrot-fly attracting scent)

    To find out more about carrot fly, and the other pests that may arrive in your garden check out Pippa Greenwood's excellent RHS book for plant by plant advice on Pests and Diseases

    Have you any experience of carrot fly damage? What do you think went wrong? Please let us know your thoughts using the comments section below.

  • Growing on a balcony, a roof top and more!

    Growing plants on rooftops, balconies and terraces with HaxnicksWhether it’s a balcony, a roof top or a terrace, urban gardeners need to be creative about growing in small spaces. I met a lovely lady in a nice hat at Chelsea Flower show who has this balcony in central London. I think it would look marvelous adorned with pots and planters, but she claimed to be rather too busy!

    Over the years, all sorts of gardeners have been kind enough to share their pictures of creative growing in unusual places….

    Haxnicks patio planters and pots growing in a treehouse.

    These crazy crops are 30 ft high in a tree house. I am told the benefits of growing so high outweigh the impracticality. Not only are the planters out of reach from the family goat, but slug pellets are not required at such dizzy heights. Even the least sluggish slug would find the climb beyond his capabilities. Watering requires a cleverly devised pulley system that keeps the children fully entertained, mostly due to the soaking of unwary passers-by.

    Haxnicks patio planters on the roof of a river boat

    No problem with watering here! This floating herb garden in pots and planters helps to add a little home-grown flavour when cooking up a feast in the galley.

    Growing Tomatoes in a Telephone Box

    In the absence of a Greenhouse this disused telephone box is a great place to grow tomatoes. Not only is it a warm shelter, but the perfect width to support the plant as the stems become heavily laden with fruit. It’s the perfect colour too!

    Growing Plants in the back of a car

    More colour matching here. This car may have reached the end of its useful life on the road, but makes a perfect greenhouse now. It’s cosy for germination in the early Spring and the windows can be wound down for ventilation on warmer days. When crops are ready they can be popped on the top out of reach of cats, dogs, goats and slugs. Carrots à la car!

     

     

  • The Potty Gardener puts her planters to bed

     

    Haxnicks Garden Products can be brought onlineThis week I decided that my well-travelled potted veg garden had given its all and was ready to be put to bed for the winter. The pots and planters have had an exciting year travelling from greenhouse to garden, from the Cotswolds to Chelsea and finally settling in their new spot on top of a windy hill in Dorset.

    Healthy Potatoes and other Vegetables grown with Haxnicks ProductsMy final colourful crop was a healthy collection of oddly sized, strange coloured veg that nevertheless gave me a grin of self-satisfaction and made me wonder a few things….

    Q Are the satisfied smiles of celebrity gardeners that glare out of my gardening magazines perhaps true grow-your-own grins rather than I-can-charge-an-enormous-fee faces?

    A Of course.

    Q Can I call my giant courgette a marrow?

    A I can if I want to. Marrows and courgettes are both members of the squash family (cucurbit) with just a few horticultural differences. Strictly speaking, according to my research, if you want to grow marrows you should choose a thicker skinned variety of courgette designed to grow big and make sure that you are happy to spend most of autumn making chutney!

    Q Can I ripen the last few green tomatoes without the Indian summer that I was expecting?

    A Yes with a banana! Put the green toms in a box or jar with a ripe banana and it will release its magic ripening gas to turn your tomatoes red. Wouldn't we all go red if we were trapped in a confined place with a banana?

    Q What can I do with the seemingly useful looking soil that I have emptied from the planters?

    A The soil will have lost its magic, drained of goodness and gusto for growth.  As with crop rotation in veg plots you don’t want to be growing the same sort of veg again in the same soil risking pests and diseases that would turn your grow-your-own grin into a grimace. Put the soil on the compost heap or spread it on borders, but beware of the escaped potato from your potato planter soil. There will be at least one and it will pop up in your flower bed next year totally unaware how out of place it looks.

  • The Potty Gardener's Purple Carrot Recipe

    Haxnicks Garden Products can be brought online

    I think that I have pulled up the perfect purple carrot (and created a new tongue twister) !

    I was so excited by my first harvest of such beautiful specimens that with the speed and greed of Peter Rabbit I immediately munched my way through the first two, mud and all, savouring their flavour and satisfyingly carroty crunch.  However, as the greatest joy of growing your own veg is in sharing and showing them off with family and friends then I felt that a feast was called for.

    Purple Carrots grown with Haxnicks Products

    On a hot July day (there was one I promise), I did not want to be anywhere near a hot stove. I also wanted to preserve the just picked carroty crunch, so I felt that a hearty salad would be the perfect way to show off these pretty purple prizes.

    Here is my recipe for a quick, tasty and filling salad that looks pretty and is so healthy that you can gorge on it like a rabbit in a carrot patch!

    Purple Carrots prepared for Cooking

    Bulgar wheat, purple carrot and feta salad   (serves 4 )

    200g bulgar wheat, cooked in salted water until tender,

    200g roughly chopped Feta Cheese

    2 to 4 finely chopped purple carrots ( dep on size)

    Fresh chopped parsley and chives

    French dressing

    Black pepper

    Prepare the ingredients, marvel at the rainbow of colours inside your purple carrots, assemble the salad in a pretty dish, let friends and family admire, and guzzle as if Mr McGregor is round the corner!

    Purple Carrot Feta Salad Recipe from Haxnicks

     

     

     

     

     

  • Thinning Carrots and Potted Primulas

    Happy Easter from The Potty Gardener

    It is the first of April, but I am in no joking mood…I thought that growing your own vegetables was meant to be good for the soul, rewarding, satisfying, character building even, but my soul is sullied. Such seemingly benign gardening gurus as Monty Don and Bob Flowerdew have persuaded me to be ruthless and destructive. My lovingly sown carrot seeds, that I nurtured single handed into young carrothood, have been culled!

    Those that strayed from their row, did not grow enough, or simply got in the way of my clumsy fingers are now chicken fodder. Of course, thinning out seedlings to leave a few centimetres between each means that there is now room for them to grow healthily. In the end it will be the greatest good for the greatest number, but it is no less disturbing to have had to choose the lucky few. I will have to repeat this process in a few weeks with my second sowing of carrots that has yet to germinate...I think that perhaps they are too fearful. They may also be a little embarrassed due to their unusual, most uncarrot-like colour...they are purple.

    Haxnicks Flower Pots

    To cheer myself up I have potted up some primulas to add a touch of Easter colour outside the porch and despite being a simple task it has satisfied my horticultural soul and restored my mood....

    Next week I will be sowing turquoise tomatoes,

    Happy Easter!

  • Carrots in Planters

    The Potty Gardener

    Last week, when I was busy preparing the greenhouse to be a suitable horticultural haven to kick start my potted garden, I had to evict some sitting tenants. Eggnog and Wotsit, my pesky hens, have been using the greenhouse as a conservatory over the winter and were most disconcerted to be sent packing back to their less luxurious day room, under the hedge. However, I will have to be on my guard (or just remember to shut the greenhouse door) as the cheeky chooks seem to be claiming squatter’s rights and proposing to sabotage my project.

    Sow easy! Preparing a bed to sow carrots would normally involve some muscle power, but all I had to do was fill my carrot planter (thoughtfully carrot coloured so I won’t forget what’s in it) with multi-purpose potting compost, then sow a few rows of seeds whilst quietly humming ‘Mary, Mary quite contrary..’ and imagining the neat little rows of bright green feathery carrot tops that would soon emerge filling me with simple satisfaction and wholesome happiness. Unfortunately when I turned my back to pick up my camera Eggnog and Wotsit silently tottered in and rearranged my sowing!

    Haxnicks Carrot Patio Planters

    As far as I am concerned carrots and chickens go very well together…on a plate not in a planter! I have managed to calm my feather induced fury by thinking about the next part of  my project... Sweet peas, who can ever feel anything but serene when thinking about their delicate scented ethereal blooms.. 'Mary, Mary, quite contrary....tummm te tummm.

  • How to Sow Carrots in Patio Planters

    Haxnicks Patio Planters

    So you want to grow your own Carrots?  Well, not only do we sell Carrot Planters that make it easy to grow perfectly formed carrots on your patio, we've also got some helpful advice on how to get started:

    Putting seeds in a Haxnicks Patio Planters
    Haxnicks Patio Planters
    Step 1: Add a layer of gravel to the bottom of your planter, just level with the drainage holes. Step 2: Add multipurpose compost up to 4cm/1½ inches from the top of the Planter and water if very dry.
    Haxnicks Patio Planters
    Haxnicks Patio Planters
    Step 3: Mark out 2 trenches 1/2 inch/13mm deep 6ins/15cm apart. I’ve used a bamboo cane here, but you can use a 'dibber' or even a finger if you like! Step 4: Empty seeds into the palm of your hand – this will make it easier to space the seeds out when you go to sow them in the ‘drills’ you made.

     

    Haxnicks Patio Planters

    SOW LIKE THE EXPERTS: Starting with the little finger, roll each digit in a 'mexican wave' fashion so that the seeds roll off the side of your palm. This takes a bit of practice, so try doing it on a folded sheet of paper first.

    Remember to sow thinly, carrots need space and 'thinning out' will only increase the risk of attracting carrot fly.

    Cover over the drills you made with compost and water using a watering can. Make sure the ‘rose’ head attachment is fixed on securely so you don’t wash all the seeds away!

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  • Haxnicks Releases New Range of Patio Planters

    It's still freezing outside, and Spring seems a thousand miles away, but it's time to get growing - and we would like to get some opinions from you our customers.

    This season Haxnicks has several new additions to its hugely popular Patio Planter range. There are now available from Garden Centres up and down the country and of course as usual on our website.  But we want to know what you think, we want to hear from you.

    Most Patio Planters come in a range of attractive rustic shades, and we are trying to brighten up the range when they are sitting outside the back door. But what colours do you like, should we try using patterns.  Do you have a favourite?

    Vegetable Patio Planters from HaxnicksRaised Bed Patio Planters
    We making 3 Raised Bed planters - a full sized Patio Raised Bed, one special half-sized Balcony Raised Bed, and a quarter-sized Space Saver Raised Bed.

    No matter what space you have available to you, we are trying to ensure as many of our customers as possible can get their green fingers working!

    But are we missing a size? Is the depth right? Are they strong enough (they should be!)?

    Patio Planters from HaxnicksCane Support Patio Planters
    We also thought it might be fun to get some upwardly mobile growing going on on your patios, so we have introduce a Three Cane Patio Planter and a Six Cane Patio Planter, for all the peas, beans and tomatoes you could want.

    The Patio Planters have pockets in built that you can slot the canes into, giving a strong and easy to assemble feel to the product.  But we would love to hear from you our customers. Are these flexible enough? can you grow all the plants you want to? is it strong enough?

    Haxnicks' Patio PlantersCarrot Patio Planter
    Finally, we thought the carrot deserved some recognition - So here is a carrot-coloured planter, with sufficient depth to grow your own delicious carrots.

    It is a generous 11" (30cm) deep which should be enough space for downward growth, we've tested, we experimented, but now we want your opinion? Deep enough, wrong colour? Please let us know.

    However tight you may be on space, there's now a way to grow a huge range of vegetables with minimum difficulty - and the patio will look great too. Please view the whole range of Haxnicks Patio Planters.

    Happy Planting!

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