I have decided that it is so not worth growing carrots in Tauranga. I thought this last year, when half the row of my parent's carrots went to seed before we got to eat them (they were planted a bit late and never really thickened up decently). But there is something so magical about pulling a carrot out of the ground. I can convince myself quite completely that carrots are a waste of time here, when I am not growing any...but as soon as there are some in the ground I get a school-girl enthusiasm for their fluffy green tops and hidden crunchy gems.
The issue is that Tauranga does not get very cold. My mother in law grows fabulous carrots, but she lives where they get some decent cracker frosts each winter. Her carrots are sweet and tasty. My carrots, on the other hand, are always a bit too tangy. Not enough sugar in there. Blame it on the frost. Or the lack thereof. This year is particularly bad for carrot-sweetening: we've had all of one decent frost the entire winter. I have two little rows of carrots out in my back garden which I recently started eating. And yes, the thrill of digging up bright orange cylinders from beneath the soil still gets to me, but I find myself so disappointed when I eat them that I wonder at the point of it all. They are small, and quite frankly I get driven mad trying to plant the teeny tiny seeds. I've tried doing them in rows...big gaps. I've tried mixing the seed with a bit of soil and spreading thinly over the whole bed...again big gaps in some places and way too many carrots in others. I just hate thinning! It feels so jolly wasteful, you know. So of course I try too hard to get the carrot seed spread just right, and fail every time!
So, no more carrots. I know I said this last year but I thought I really should just give it one more go. Well, we've had our one more go. Next year, stick to growing greens. Broccoli, spinach, even lettuce grow well here over winter (much better than lettuce does over summer - the cooler weather seems to suit better than the humid summers and dry, dry soils).
Here are some of the carrots I pulled recently. Aren't they just delightful. I am tempted to plant more seed just looking at them. NO, Amy, no!