Size really does matter when you talk about Carrots – but that’s not the only important thing. Taste is important, as is colour, texture and the suitability to your local climate.
I really do love the taste and smell of carrots that have been freshly dug. Nothing is better than the sweetness as you crunch into the bright orange flesh. They are so versatile in the kitchen; rarely a week goes by that I don’t use them in some way. You can cook them in a cake, grate them into your salads, use them in soups, make pesto from the leaves, or just simply boil them and serve. You have got to agree with me that eating your own carrots is so much better than having to buy some from a supermarket.
There are dozens of varieties that you can buy from many diverse seed suppliers. Without fail, the pictures on the packs make them look absolutely fantastic. But rarely do you get the carrots looking just like the picture on the pack, I don’t. Truth is, I have had varying results over the last four seasons and I have decided that it is time to conduct a very simple but extremely scientific test. I have planted 5 varieties all in the same garden bed and I have been giving them the same fertilizer and attention and I will see what variety gives the best results.
These are the varieties I chose:
- All Year Round. I have been using this variety for some time now and I will use it as a benchmark. I get pretty good results. The producer claims to be ready in 12-16 weeks from sowing.
- Topweight Improved. I chose this one because it is a variety that I can remember my dad growing when I was a kid. Sentimental I know, but it a good enough reason as any. It’s ready in 10-14 weeks.
- Chantenay Red Cored. I have never tried this one before. The shape in the picture was fat and stumpy looking. Ready in 12 weeks.
- Earlybird. I like the shape of this one. Harvest it in 12 weeks.
- St Valery. I chose this because it is an heirloom variety. I want to see if they are any different in taste and in size than the more ‘modern’ varieties. 11 weeks until harvest.
Carrots are a vegetable that I always find a spot for in my veggie patch. I get the best results if I sow in autumn and grow them during the cooler months of the year. Every climate is slightly different when it comes to growing but autumn sowing seems to work best in my climate. Nematodes are active in my soil over the warmer months and they seem to enjoy attacking carrots. So until I get the little blighters better under control I will stick to growing them in the cooler months.
So, that’s the road test folks. The carrots are busy growing and I am eagerly anticipating the results. I will report in the coming months. In the meantime, I would really like to know which varieties you would consider to be the best.