How to pick the sweetest carrot varieties and how to grow them with the least amount of work; and how to get your children to eat them, from the author of the Treetops and Tidepools series.
The Vegetable garden at Treetops in early Spring
At treetops we always grew carrots. There is nothing like the taste of a fresh carrot salad laced with pineapple chunks and a dash of Mayo. Store bought carrots just don’t measure up either in flavor or texture. Carrots also are a fantastic source of beta carotene and fiber, and will please the palate whether served raw, juiced, cooked, or in added to a slushy. The latter is especially a good idea if you want to disguise the fact that you even have vegetables in there!
The carrot is a biennial plant (Daucus carota, sativus). It is part of the parsley family, but it’s the edible taproot that we eat. It is native to Afghhanistan and surrounding areas. It is also related to Queen Anne’s Lace or “wild carrot”. From what I have read over the years, it is variety selection that will produce the sweetest growing carrots, not the method of growing or the soil that they are grown in.
Carrots love cool temperatures, with night temps that hover around 55 degrees and day temps of less than 75 degrees. They can tolerate a little shade and you can mix them in with your flowers in the flowers beds. You need to prepare your soil so that it is loose and of a sandy loamy nature. This allows the roots to grow unhindered and smooth. I always double dug my bed, throwing in a bunch of overwintered leaves and compost, and grass clippings if you have them. Then I returned the soil to the bed. If you come across rocks while digging, remove them. Rocks can make complex works of sculptural art of a carrot root, which might be good if you plan on selling it on E-bay, but won’t be worth eating. If your soil is in a spot where you have just started to garden and have no compost to add, you can add a cup of 10-20-10 fertilizer for each 10 feet of row, working it in to a depth of about 3-4”
Published in: Gardening