February Plant of the Month – Carrots
Plant of the Month
Scarlet Nantes Carrot
Dacus carota var. sativus
4 to 10
Days to Maturity:
Scarlet Nantes Carrot is a standard market carrot that has a long, cylindrical shape and a rich reddish-orange color. The flavor is sweet and delicious. Roots are fine-grained, containing almost no core. High moisture content makes this variety perfect for juicing. Carrots can reach up to 7 inches long. To prevent diseases, rotate planting location every season.
- Light: Full sun. Will tolerate very light shade.
- Water: Moderate moisture. Crusted soil can suppress germinated sprouts.
- Soil: Well-drained soil with organic matter. The area needs to be free of stones.
This cool-weather crop is easily over-planted due to its fine seeds. Sow seeds directly into loose soil in early spring 2-3 weeks before last frost date. Carrots are slow to germinate, emerging in 2-4 weeks. Cover seeds with a ¼ inch of soil—no more than ½ an inch. Lightly water seeds every day for best germination. Once sprouts emerge thinning is critical to reducing competition. Thin seedlings to 1/2 – 1-inch spacing. Best time for thinning is when soil is damp. Plant seeds every 2-3 weeks throughout midsummer for continuous harvest.
Start harvesting as soon as carrots have reached the desired size (up to 7 inches). Try pulling up one at a time to check the size. Watering the area before harvest can make pulling by hand easier. Harvest by mid-September to avoid pest damage.
- Carrots are a great source of fiber, potassium and vitamin A.
- Carrot greens can be used in soup stock, pesto, curries or tea.
- Common pest: carrot rust fly
- British gardeners plant sage around the area to repel the carrot fly
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