Choosing Carrot varieties

Choosing which variety of vegetable seed to select seems to become more difficult every year.  I always keep a note of which variety did and didn’t do well but there are so many new varieties and special offers on others that I tend to pick different ones every year.

Take carrots for instance. I’m not every adventurous when it comes to colour. As far as I am concerned carrots ought to be orange-ish; yellow , white, purple or deep red do not do it for me. Having said that, Thompson and Morgan are offering a collection of carrots which they call ‘Healthy Coloured Carrot Collection‘ and I am very tempted by it. I usually grow six or eight rows of at least two different varieties, so I might try these, and rise above my prejudice. My garden is very stony (the remains of three previous houses are buried in it and it used to be a farmyard) so until I made the deep beds I grew round carrots rather than long cylindrical ones. Even then, they tended to get mis-shapen due to growing around stones and bits of brick.

It’s very easy to grow carrots, I always sow them much too thickly (not intentionally, but it is such fine seed that it is almost impossible to sow them thinly enough.) Once they have germinated and grown a bit, I thin them out and use the thinnings either raw in salads or in stews. If there are enough of them I even use them as a seperate vegetable. Because I do not use chemicals, I do not have to peel them, so I can use them whilst they are tiny. I note that Thompson and Morgan are offering seed tapes of Early Nantes Carrots which does away with the need to thin out etc. They take away a lot of guess work about spacing and are ideal for new gardeners. Inevitable they are a bit expensive compared to normal seed, but the difference in price is probably made up by the lack of waste. I have grown early nantes in the past and have been pleased with the results.

Last year I tried sowing carrots in seed trays instead of straight in the ground. It was fairly successful. The carrots did grow and appeared to be healthy enough, they were stunted though, so unless you have very god reason to do this, I don’t recommend it.

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