Plot Notes

A personal journal, open for the world to read, recording the progress of a novice allotmenteer on his allotment.

Weed it and reap.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Mystery Seeds

I wasn't going to bother with carrots but the consensus of local knowledge is that carrots will do really well on our site. I received a free packet of Royal Chantenay carrots from the BBC Dig In project and another packet (Nantes Frubund) came free with a magazine which my wife bought and so I have decided to give them a go.

I had been put off by tales of carrot fly and so I have taken some precautions. The first line of defence is the wall of one of the large raised beds in which I have sown the seeds. By all accounts carrot fly is not a high flying pest. If they manage to scale the walls they will find a repellent screen of onions and marigolds which will hopefully be enough to deter them.

Before opening the BBC seeds my only experience of carrot seeds was the magazine seeds which I had sown a few minutes earlier. As I tapped a few Royal Chantenay seeds into my hand I noticed that some of them looked nothing like any other carrot seed I had seen in the previous 10 minutes or indeed in my entire life. As I have said before, I am no expert but some of the seeds were little dark balls which, in my very limited experience resembled onion or maybe leek seeds. Another of them was a larger light brown ball. I have seen something similar before; I think it was a flower seed but can't remember which, possibly marigold or nasturtium (see photo above).

I have sown these odd seeds in the carrot rows and I will have to wait and see what develops, if anything. The chances are that I'll be unable to identify them in any event even after they have sprouted, blossomed, flowered, fruited or vegged or done whatever they decide to do.

It has occurred to me that perhaps the seed company has deliberately included a few carrot fly repellent seeds in with the carrots. Are the seed companies really that sophisticated? I think it is more likely to have been a packaging cock-up, but, as I keep saying I'm no expert.

Other news on the plot is that the pop bottle cloches over the vines worked wonders and now all 10 have started to bud. The first few of my first early potatoes are also pushing through. Things are really taking shape now.


  1. They look very like a salad leaf mix I sowed the other day. Nice to hear your vines are doing well and the spuds are coming through.

  2. Good work, it's all happening now. When I planted my thai aubergine I had one plant that was most certainly not what the others were. It grew a lot faster, and it's true leaves looked slightly illegal to me. I decided to nurture it in order to discover its true identity, which of course meant that within a week it was dead. I guess I'll never know!

  3. The little ball seeds don't look like carrot seed. It will be interesting to see how they grow. I couldn't get my carrots to germinate last year, but I'm giving them another go this year.

  4. they may be the salad leaf seeds from the same set. On carrot fly one tip I've heard to ward them off is to put vermiculite in the drill.

  5. Update: The mystery seeds grew into salad leaves.