• How to Protect Carrots from Carrot Fly

    You might think it is too early to think about carrot fly.  However, there is a lot you can do at the planting stage to ensure you get a healthy crop.  So well worth reading this now before you sow.

    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 a tall planters - 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.

  • 4 easy ways to grow more during a wet summer

    Post by Robbie Cumming

    Here in the UK we love our unpredictable weather and a wet summer is part of that. We love barbecueing indoors, picnicking on ground sheets and going to the office in our wellies.

    But our plants haven't loved the lower than normal temperatures and lack of sunlight, so we aren't able to enjoy the produce of our vegetable gardens as much as our dear friend Mr Slug (another matter entirely).

    But the question is - can we do anything about it?


    Haxnicks Garden Products can be brought online

    The good news is - YES!

    And being experts in plant protection (even if we say so ourselves) we have a pretty good idea of exactly which products will help you make the most of a poor summer.

    Here are just 4 ways that you can make a world of difference in your garden NOW:

    Bell Cloches
    The main picture (above) shows my little garden - nothing is growing especially well, apart from the weeds, a self seeded Ash tree, and the herbs growing under my Victorian Bell Cloche.  The vents are opened during rainy days and closed at night.  The only thing you must remember is to lift the cloche right off your plants on hot sunny days.  Otherwise they'll cook before you've even decided what recipe to use them in!

    Tunnel Cloches
    These do three wonderful things to your veg plot:
    1) Protect your plants from weather
    2) Protect your plants from pests
    3) Increase and maintain higher air temperature

    We sell Easy Tunnels - they're quick, easy and fairly inexpensive.  But you can also make your own - go for it!  Use your plant protection fabric of choics, bamboo hoops and ground pegs iand it will last you for many seasons.

    IPlease note, it is really important to think about ventilation on sunny days.  Humidity can become a problem, leading to mildew and various diseases.  Scorching (if we get enough sun) is a problem too, and if you don't allow pollinating insects at your flowers, of course you won't get any fruit.

    Haxnicks Easy Tunnels

    If you use a tunnel cloche you will ensure that your normal growing season is extended - that means you'll be able to harvest earlier and later in the year than anyone else.

    Micromesh Fabric

    Using mesh in the garden in summer is pretty standard nowadays - and essential if you want to keep the bugs off your edible crops.  But it also makes the perfect shelter - from sun, wind and rain - letting in the right amounts of light, air and moisture.  Micromesh is 0.6mm netting and is ideal if you want to guarantee protection from whitefly and other aphids.

    Micromesh Products include Micromesh Pre Pack Fabric, Micromesh Pest and Wind Barrier, Micromesh Giant Easy Tunnel, Micromesh Raised Bed cover (frame sold separately) and Grower System (see below) Pest Protection Cover.


    If you are lucky enough to own one of these, you will probably be using it more often than usual due to the cool wet summer weather. Keep as many tender, non-indigenous fruit and vegetables (eg Tomatoes, Peppers and Beans) under glass. These plants need as much warmth and sunlight as they can get.
    If you are planning to grow climbing veg in your greenhouse because of the weather, then you might want to think about using a patio planter which you can move outside on sunny days.
    You might want to use a special planter dolly to help you though.  Planters can get pretty heavy with all the soil, canes and fruit (fingers crossed!)

    If you don't have the space or simply can't afford a greenhouse, there are loads of lower cost options, including:

    • Conservatories, Porches or Windowsills
    • Cold Frames
    • Planthouses
    • Growhouses or our Grower System

    If you have any questions about how to deal with a wet summer or any of the methods or products featured in this blog post then please let us know.  Usec the comments section below.  You can also call us, email and write to us - or why not see if your nearest Haxnicks stockist can help?

    We'll cover slugs in the next blog - there are many ways to defeat them, stay tuned to the Haxblog for more top tips...

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