Recent British carrot breeding has concentrated on root fly resistance which has culminated in the release of Resistafly and Flyaway, two increasingly popular varieties. Carrot 'F1 Resistafly' is the newest variety. This breakthrough introduction has improved carrot fly resistance. It is also resistant to bolting.
The hybrid is unique in its high carotene concentration of the root, in combination with low chlorogenic acid levels in the leaves, (less than 2mg/100g in the row material), which the larvae of the carrot fly need in their early stages of growth. Because of this, the crop is unattractive to the carrot fly, and even if they are attacked the larvae will soon die.
Resistafly belongs to the Nantes sort family, growing 16 to 18cm (6 to 7in) in length. It grows large, high quality cylindrical roots that are more blunt ended than Flyaway. The roots are of uniform appearance with smooth skin and a rich core colour. Sweet and juicy the taste qualities are astonishing.
It is excellent maincrop variety has early vigour and superb storage capabilities. From germination to full ripeness takes 85 to 90 days, it is suited to mid to late season use.
Prepare the site:
Success with root vegetables is very much down to the quality of the soil, so it’s worth taking the time to prepare your patch. Start digging over your soil in late winter or early spring, removing any stones you find and turn the soil until it has a fine, crumbly texture. If your soil is not ideally suitable, you can prepare a large container instead. Do not add manure as this makes the soil too rich for the seeds.
Sow from Feb under cloches or fleece. Sow successionally March to August, harvest June to October
Carrot seeds are small, but it’s wise to plant them as thinly as possible. This reduces the amount of thinning necessary and potential risk from pests. Mix the seeds with a handful of sharp sand and sow the seeds and sand together. Sand will also aid drainage. Once the seedlings are showing their first rough leaves, thin to 5cm (2 in) between plants.
Use a lightweight fleece over the bed to increase the temperature of the soil while also preventing the carrot flies from laying their eggs. The plants need little other attention during their growth period, although the plants should be kept well watered – too little water results in coarse, woody roots.
Harvesting: From germination to full ripeness takes 85 to 90 days.
Start pulling up your carrots as soon as they are big enough to eat. It’s best to harvest them in the evening to avoid attracting carrot fly. Late-sown carrots must be lifted by October to be stored over the winter.
Store only the best, undamaged roots, cut off their foliage and lay the roots between layers of sand in a strong box, ensuring that the roots do not touch. Store somewhere cool and dry, check the carrots occasionally, removing any odd rotten roots before they infect their neighbours. Carrot tops can be used in a variety of dishes, including raw in drinks or in salads.
Carrots are an excellent source of the deep yellow carotenoids that produce vitamin A. They are also a good source of magnesium, potassium, vitamins C and B complex, and a form of calcium that is easily absorbed by the body.
During the first five months of storage, carrots will actually increase their vitamin A content; and, if protected from heat or light, can hold their nutrient content for another two or three months.
An adult carrot fly or carrot root fly is a very small black fly which has been described as "a low flying miniature cruise missile". It is a serious and widespread pest and is really the only carrot pest worth worrying about.
Growing carrot fly resistant varieties is a great example of biological control - a method used in organic vegetable production. Three examples of carrot fly varieties are:
- Nantes - suitable for early and maincrop sowing
- Resistafly - mid to late season use
- Flyaway – early season.
Carrots do well alongside most plants, especially Chives, Garlic, Rosemary and Sage (which also deter Carrot Fly).
However Dill, Coriander and other members of the Umbelliferae family should not be planted near carrots as they tend to cross pollinate which can be important if you are to save your own seed.
Carrots sown in February in a cold frame/cloche are ready to harvest by June. When using cloches put them in place a month before sowing as this helps to warm up the soil. Sow forced crop seeds in 2cm deep drills (shallow furrows), 15cm apart, preferably a bed prepared the previous autumn. Thin out plants to 10cm apart which minimises competition and enables the carrots to grow quickly to harvest size.
Later in Spring (March/April) sow seeds directly outdoors. Where possible, cover with garden fleece to speed germination and protect against carrot fly. Harvest in July/September.
These are sown in April/May and harvested in October/November. This time its drills 2cm deep but 30cm apart. Sow seed very thinly and cover with light soil. Thin seedlings out to 4cm apart. These carrots are particularly suitable for storage after harvest.
Late Main Crop:
These should be sown June/July and are ready for harvesting from December onwards. Late varieties are good for storing and produce large roots. Thin seedlings out to 4 to 5cm apart and avoid bruising the leaves when thinning as the smell can attract carrot fly.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 500mg Average Seed Count 500 Seeds Common Name Maincrop / Late variety Family Apiaceae Genus Daucus Species carota ssp. sativus Cultivar F1 Resistafly Hardiness Hardy Biennial Time to Sow A second early, maincrop variety. ,br> Sow successionally March to August. Harvest Harvest June to October.
Start harvesting as soon as they are big enough to eat
Time to Harvest From germination to full ripeness takes 85 to 90 days.