George says: Grow tender carrots in a container

Thanks to our stony soil, the Cotswolds could well be nicknamed The Land of the Forked Carrot.
We have what's known as Cotswolds Brash, which means every time you put your spade into the soil, it goes "doinggg" on what feels like some huge boulder, but is probably only 3ins big.
My former neighbour, Peter Benson, who used to win prizes at the village show for his veg, used to make holes for carrots in his kitchen garden by driving wooden tree supports into the soil, then after he'd removed the stake, filling up the hole with fresh compost.
This sounds (and looked) like WAY too much work. Much easier to grow carrots in a potato bag. George Blackwell explains how.



Fresh Pulled Carrots are a Taste to Enjoy 
1 Turn the rim of a potato bag down one third. This strengthens the bag and keeps it sturdy. 
2 Fill with 50 per cent John Innes No 3 at the base of the bag and then 50 per cent of multi-purpose compost on the top, the reasoning being the carrot root will go down into the bottom layer for the extra nutrients, forming a larger size carrot. If you can't get hold of John Innes No 3, use ordinary garden soil at the bottom, then fill up with multi-purpose. Do not use farmyard manure! This will encourage the plant to grow lots of leafy foliage, but not root growth.
The best type of carrot seed to use is the early type varieties such as 'Nantes'. These are a small to medium variety with a nice blunt end. They are also carrot-fly resistant. 
4 When sowing, sprinkle the whole packet evenly across the surface of the bag, then cover over with a fine layer of general compost. Cover with a net to stop birds pecking at the seeded bag. 
5 Water well and place in a sunny position. Inspect the surface regularly for dryness and water if necessary, but if it rains let nature do its work. 
6 Within three weeks the seedlings will appear. Keep the net over top as the tender shoots will be temptation to the birds as a source of food. 
7 By July/August the foliage will be 18ins high. This is a good sign that the carrots are now maturing. Select one with heavy foliage to test the size.  If suitable, then it's time for harvest. 
8 When pulling the carrots, start at the outside of the bag. The space created will allow the other carrots to expand and continue to grow.
Enjoy your own fresh carrots!  
The first mention of carrots was around in the year 1000. These were natives of Afghanistan with a whitish root, and they were also grown on the Iranian Plateau. The Moors took them to Spain and Morocco. Over the years, scientists have developed the modern carrot of today, which also comes in purple and white.        


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