Carrots but not as we know them

Person Author: Ryan Lewis Calender April 7, 2012 Posted Tags: , , Comment No Comments

The Easter bunny is doing its rounds as we speak and I’m sure that he\she would be delighted with my selection of more unusual and slightly exotic looking carrots.

It’s thought that when Carrots were first brought to Europe, from Afghanistan 5000 years ago, they would have been coloured purple or yellow. Over time, and during development to produce a viable and sweeter commercial crop, a preference was made for orange Carrots and we lost sight of their often more exciting relatives. With a resurgence in popularity for purple vegetables over the past couple of years a few of the purple cultivars have now come back in to production and have been improved somewhat to make them more palatable and easier to grow successfully.

Aside from the purple vegetables an interest has also emerged for the rainbow and pastel mixes, as these offer a great variety of colour and make lunchtimes rather exciting.

Carrots are very easy to grow and can be sown from March – June in most areas. Carrots grow best in deep, free-draining soil that is free from large rocks and stones. To get best results, organic matter and sand can be added in to beds in the Autumn to increase fertility and drainage, producing larger roots without forks or splits. Sow carrots in drills 1cm deep, or broadcast sow, ensuring they are covered lightly and watered well. When seedlings are big enough thin them out to avoid overcrowding and allow plants enough space to produce large enough roots.

Carrot fly can often be devastating for crops and precautions should be taken to avoid total loss. Raising beds or growing carrots in containers can prove successful as can fleecing rows of plants to avoid the carrot fly getting to the roots.

Three of the best:

Carrot ‘Purple Haze’ – Purple haze is a very sweet purple F1 hybrid carrot. It’s bright purple exterior and orange centre helps to add interest to meals and salads.

Carrot ‘Cosmic Purple’ – One of the more beautiful roots with smooth purple coloured skin and coreless orange flesh. This carrot has a high sugar content, which makes this variety very popular with children. As carrots mature the skin colour deepens.

Carrot ‘Rainbow’ – This F1 hybrid is unusual as it produces amazing roots in colours ranging through orange, yellow and white. ‘Rainbow’ is strong growing with healthy and vigorous foliage.

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