Carrot

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Daucus carota

Sustainable Ewe favourites:

Purple Dragon, Nutri-Red, Amsterdam Forcing, Paris Market

Quick Reference

Optimum Soil Temperature 10-25°
Days to Germination 10-14 days
Days to Harvest 75 days
Direct Sow or Transplant Direct
Distance Apart 5cm
Soil pH 5.5-7.0
Annual/Biennial /Perennial  Biennial

History

The carrot originated in Persia (Afghanistan and Iran).  It was at first cultivated for it’s leaves and seeds.

Carrots or Postinaca as they were know was first documented by the Romans in 1CE.

They were introduced to Spain in the 8th Century.

Carrots were not originally orange, in fact yellow was the most popular colour in the 16thC.  The orange carrot was developed in the Netherlands in the 17th Century in honour of the House of Orange.

Growing

Carrots need to be direct sown as they are very sensitive to transplant.  An exception to this is Roly Poly.  As the seeds are so small they are prone to drying out before germination so keeping the garden moist but not soggy will help.    They do not like fresh nitrogenous fertilisers but do like fertile soil.  so do well in fine volcanic soils.

Carrots will thrive in a garden that has previously had a heavy feeding crop eg brassicas.

Beginning thinning when carrots are a few centimeters high and continue thinning as they grow allowing room for them to move.

Storing harvested Carrots:  Carrots can remain in the ground for some time.  Remove the green tops but do not wash.  Store in sand or sawdust.   Store best in the fridge if covered with water.  Can be frozen (good flavour)  dried (fair flavour, or canned (fair flavour

Seed Saving:  Insect pollinated.  Distance between crops 1.6km (will cross pollinate with Queen Anne’s Lace).  40 plants required for genetic diversity.

Seed Life:  Three years

Maintenance

Feeding:

Fun Facts

Carrots are a source of β-carotene, Vitamins B6, A and K.  Also rich in dietary fibre and antioxidants.

Carotenemia is the name given when a person turns yellow/orange due to an over consumption of carrots.  (The cure is to stop eating so many carrots!)

Carrots are 88% water, 7% sugar,  (only beets have more natural sugar than carrots)

Seeds are tiny!  There will be around 2000 seeds in a single teaspoon of seeds.

In Portugal carrots are made into jam

Unlike every other vegetable, carrots become more nutritious when cooked.

China grows 45% of the world supply of carrots and is the largest exporter.

The heaviest carrot grown was 8.61kg in 1998

The city of Holtville in California is “The Carrot Capital of the World”.  They have a yearly carrot festival complete with the crowning of the years carrot royalty and a parade.

Carrots are one of the top 10 economically important vegetable crops in the world

The tops of carrots are also edible

Ancient Greeks and Romans ate wild carrots, (the red, purple and white varieties)

3.6% of Europeans have an allergy to carrots.

The colour comes from beta-carotene which converts to vitamin A when eaten.

Ohakune – The Big Carrot

Ohakune is the home of of the BIG CARROT.  This was erected in 1984 to commemorate the fact that Ohakune grows two thirds of North Islands total carrot crop.  Carrots were first grown in the area by Chinese settlers in 1920.  In 2016 a Carrot themed adventure park was opened.

The story of carrots making you be able to see in the dark is not true.  It was a propaganda stunt the RAF used during World War II to mask the fact they had new radar technology.  The strategy was so successful that the consumption of carrots went up substantially.

 

Problems

Seedlings Burn – hot sunny weather.  Sprinkle seedlings with water to keep moist

Forked or Misshapen Roots – stones, clods etc.  Delayed thinning.  Thin to 2-3cm apart when 5cm high.  Ensure soil does not have stones etc.

Excess Nitrogen – excessive leaf growth, small roots

Green Top (Crown) – sunlight on exposed crown.  Mound soil to ensure crown is covered.

Carrots Pale in Colour – excess Nitrogen, Lime soil, Acid soil, The variety of carrot.  Potash will increase the colour of the carrot.

Roots Cracked or Split – Caused by the inside growing faster than the outside.  Over fertilised.  Heavy rain followed by a dry spell.

Bolting/Running to Seed – Snap in cold weather.  Place a cloche over vegetables.

Pests

Aphids – leaves are stunted and deformed with clusters of insects.  Keep well watered in dry weather.

Carrot Rust Fly – roots tunneled into by grub, leaves may turn orange.  Rotate crops.  Ensure tops of carrot are covered in soil.

Companion Planting

 Beans, Chives, Coriander, Cucumber, Dill, Fruit Trees, Leeks, Lettuce, Marjoram, Onions, Radish, Rue, Tomato

NEVER Parsnip