What to Plant in Spring: The Carrot
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
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.
- 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.
- Carrot seeds are usually directly sown into the garden.
- Sow carrot seeds shallowly; consistent moisture is important for good germination.
- Longer roots need deeper, friable soil; if you have clay or rocky soils, choose shorter carrots except for tolerant varieties mentioned above.
- 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.
- 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.