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What to Plant in Spring: The Carrot

By / Photography By Ryan Benyi | March 15, 2015
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Purple, orange and white carrots
Photo By © Ryan Benyi, ryanbenyi.com, Styled By Bridget Henry, bridgethenry.com

The Carrot (Daucus carota)

Orange: The Standard

Babette: 3–4 inches, 70 days, a mini-carrot selected from a Nantes type; typical sweet carrot flavor.

Danvers: Improved heirloom, 7-inch root, 65–75 days, tolerates heavier soils, stores well.

Mokum: 5–6 inches, 48 days, slender, sweet carrot, can plant two to three crops depending on the season.

Oxheart: Heirloom, 5–6 inch heart-shaped root, 90 days, can grow to one pound each.

Red Cored Chantenay: Heirloom, 5–7 inches, 70 days, sweet and stores well, tolerates heavier soils.

Scarlet Nantes: 6–8 inch root, 65–74 days, my first carrot variety, what a carrot should taste like.

St. Valery: Heirloom, 10–12 inches, 70 days, sweet red-orange roots, rare.

Yellow: Like a Spot of Sunshine

(contains xanthophyll, which is similar to beta carotene)

Amarillo: 8 inches, 75 days, crunchy and sweet.

Jaune du Doubs: Heirloom, 8–10 inches, 60–70 days, requires well-worked soil or the roots will fork, when young it is better cooked than raw, cellars well.

Yellowstone: 7–8 inches, 72 days, very crisp texture, tolerate of heavier soils.

Red: A Deeper Orange

(contains lycopene)

Atomic Red: 8 inches, 75 days, mild when eaten raw, flavor develops with cooking, retains its color.

Red Samurai: Open pollinated, 11 inches, 75 days, tasty when raw and cooked, retains its color when cooked.

Purple: Pizzazz in the Salad Bowl

(contains anthocyanins, which are antioxidants; most have a slight spicy flavor; some seed may produce orange carrots instead of purple)

Dragon: 6 inches, 65–90 days, deep purple outside with a golden core, sweet but can have a bitter edge.

Cosmic Purple: 7–8 inches, 58 days, sweet, spicy flavor, size can vary, can be harvested at 58 days or later.

Purple Haze: 10–12 inches, 70 days, 2006 AAS (All America Selections) winner, flavor develops with cooking.

Purple Sun: 8–10 inches, 90 days, purple throughout, can be harvested as a young carrot or full-size.

White: No, It’s Not a Parsnip

(tend to have a very mild flavor but is a lovely contrast to the colorful carrots)

Snow White: 7–8 inches, 75 days, crisp and mild.

White Satin: 8–9 inches, 70 days, Fedco says it is the best white carrot for flavor and growing, sweet when raw and cooked, develops green shoulders when ripe.

Gardener’s Notes

  1. Recommended resources for seeds include: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Cook’s Garden, Fedco, Renee’s Garden, Seeds of Change, Seed Savers Exchange, and Territorial Seeds.
  2. Carrot seeds are usually directly sown into the garden.
  3. Sow carrot seeds shallowly; consistent moisture is important for good germination.
  4. Longer roots need deeper, friable soil; if you have clay or rocky soils, choose shorter carrots except for tolerant varieties mentioned above.
  5. A potential pest is the rust fly maggot; plant at the very end of May or early July to avoid the first generation of egg-laying flies or you can use row covers to exclude the fly.
  6. Days to maturity are an estimate as ripening depends on available moisture, sun, and temperature; short range of days-to-maturity will allow for succession planting.


Recommended resources for seeds include:

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Cook’s Garden, Fedco, Renee’s Garden, Seeds of Change, Seed Savers Exchange, and Territorial Seeds.

Article from Edible Columbus at http://columbus.ediblefeast.com/things-do/what-plant-spring-carrot
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