We planted 3 rows of carrots this year because the customers couldn’t seem to get enough. Sweet and juicy, they are our favorite as well.
For some reason it seems to take carrots a lot longer to grow than any of than other vegetables. Beets take off and have no issues with the hot, dry weather. When carrot seeds are initially planted they require constant watering. The planting depth is so shallow they are constantly drying out in the hot sun. Since we use subsurface irrigation we have to hand water the carrots every morning and evening until the roots grow a couple inches down. It’s a time intensive process but well worth the effort.
This year we skipped all the long 8-10 inch carrot varieties because we lost so many the year before. With our clay soil it was difficult to to pull those carrots out without breaking them. We have been trying a number of different carrot varieties and this year we tried 3 different ones. The first variety was a new scarlet version from Europe and the other 2 were different Nantes which grow about 7-8 inches at it’s longest. The diameter of the carrot makes up for the length and it much easier to harvest.
We were sorely disappointed in the scarlet from Europe which looked more like a small turnip in shape. It was juicy, great for cooking and just as sweet as the others, but very unappealing in appearance. The other two did well. So well this year in fact even with all the sales we had more than enough.
The good carrots were still a little difficult to harvest due to the hard clay soil. We have to water the ground to get them out when the weather is dry. Next year we will stick with our Nantes varieties and try moving them to the new expanded plot we have been talking about which will include more sand than the existing plot.
We’ll see how that goes.