Carrot Steckling Planting

Posted on Friday, 13 April 2018 under Canadian Organic Vegetable Improvement

Yesterday I got my first set carrot stecklings planted at UBC Farm. I will plant two varieties there this year, side by side, one inside an enclosure and one outside. This is a great way to use enclosures to expand seed production capabilities. I will have to do some Queen Anne’s lace scouting, but I did not see any flowering last year.

I planted Nash’s Nantes yesterday and have yet to plant Rumba. Here is Nash’s Nantes:

Carrots in a row

Now – at the risk of getting myself into some trouble here – I have to say, as wonderful as this carrot variety is, it is not a nantes style carrot – which are more of a blunt tip style carrot:

So while I had planned on selecting hard towards a more blunt and non-tapered carrot, there were actually no stecklings that fit this criteria. So I rogued out those with tips that were too pointy or those with a “rat-tail”. I also took some out that just didn’t look as healthy as the others.

This crop will be grown in 2 side by side enclosures to take up 400 square feet, then I will grow another crop of Rumba carrot seed beside it outside. I will use flies again for pollination in the enclosure. One thing I will look at during flowering is the difference in types of pollinators between the outside crop and the enclosure crop. I could identify four types of flies as pollinators in the enclosure last year but could see a much more diverse array of pollinators in my control crop outside.

To promote more diversity in the enclosure I will not put it up until the carrots are close to flowering. I hope this will make a more diverse ecosystem in the enclosure once it is up. It will also make the stalks stronger as they will be exposed to the wind. It is relatively easy to put the cover up without disturbing the crop. So I will put up the frame in the next few weeks then add the mesh later. I’ll need to put it up a bit before flowering to start trapping pollinator flies.