Marcelle NankervisCorkscrew carrots

Never heard of corkscrew carrots? Really? Well just take a look at the carrots I’ve been growing lately. Of course they are nothing special; they are actually the result of some bad advice … and who hasn’t had that at one time or another.

THE SETTING
It’s market day and I go to the local seedling supplier. It’s always good to buy local and he has lovely seedlings. Just as I am paying for my vegie seedlings, a mature lady from the stall lets me in on a little secret.
She says, “Don’t try to separate the carrots now. Instead, plant them in small clumps and do not disturb the roots or else they will end up a mess and you will have bent carrots.”
I love getting these little gems from people in the know. It is one of the reasons I have been a garden writer as long as I have. So I thank her for the advice and take it on board when I get home; carefully breaking the carrot seedlings into clumps before planting them in my lovely mushroom compost enriched garden soil.

THE RESULT

Roots are so entwined they look like a turnip

It is pretty obvious that that was possibly the worst advice anyone has ever given another gardener. All the carrots grew into a knotted mass of tops and tails. Some even morphed together the size of turnips!. And even though I can undo them, or at least some of them, and they of course taste normal, they have to be the most unattractive carrots on the planet!

Are these the ugliest carrots on the planet?

So why did I listen to her? Because as a gardening journalist I have been trained to take the advice of experts and share it with other gardeners. I have spent a lifetime listening to gardener’s stories, and sometimes it is these little tips that can really make a difference to another gardener’s success. Obviously not in this instance. But don’t pity me and please don’t assume that there is no hope for me as a carrot grower, because the carrots I grew from seed are glorious. They are straight. They are lovely. They are beautiful.

THE LESSON
While it is a good idea to listen to advice from other gardeners, you must always let common sense prevail!

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Marcelle Nankervis

About Marcelle Nankervis

Garden journalist, author of Plants for Australian Dry Gardens and Smart Gardening – grow your own fruit and vegetables, contributor to many garden magazines. Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

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