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Carrot

Carrot Daucus carota

Fussy about where they grow, carrots prefer a soil that is deep and friable, without large stones. Compacted and waterlogged soils lead to forked and stunted roots. You can sow in-situ as for “normal” carrots or you can try sowing in modules and then planting out as soon as possible after germination. Space rows 15cm apart - the canopy of foliage will ensure good weed suppression. Module grown seedlings should be spaced at 10cm in the row. Constant moisture is needed to prevent roots from splitting as they develop. Pull early sowings as soon as they are big enough. Main crop varieties can be left to develop fully and then lifted when needed. Sowings can be timed to avoid carrot fly, which is the most detrimental pest of carrots, but a surer way is to use barriers. Carrot fly numbers are at their lowest by mid-June. To save your own seed, grow a single variety and make sure there are no wild carrots (or another carrot in flower) within 500m. If crosses with the wild type do occur, they are easily identifiable as the thin, white root will be dominant. Records note that coloured carrots were popular in the Middle Ages and it was only at a later date that orange varieties were developed in Holland and France.

Altringham

No letters about the spelling, please - it was always (if erroneously) named this way. This early 19th Century variety is listed in Carters Catalogue for 1842 and described by D Guiheneuf in The Garden (May 1st 1876) as “An English variety, readily distinguished from any other. It is said to have originated about 60 years ago in Altrincham, a village in the vicinity of Chester.” It produces cylindrical, orange roots 20-50cm long that taper towards their end. The crunchy, mild-flavoured flesh makes it ideal for the table.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Beta III

A variety bred in the US for the high carotene content, which is three times the norm, hence the name. The dark, orangey-red roots are described perfectly by Seed Guardian J C Jones, who says, “A medium-sized taper-rooted carrot with no hard core, particularly delicious when eaten young and small. Also good for freezing.”

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

John's Purple

John Purves, Oxford, originally obtained this carrot in the mid 1970s and over many years managed to produce a pure line of purple carrots from four he found amongst a bag given to him by a neighbour for his rabbits. He passed on some of his seeds to HRI, Wellesbourne, for their long-term preservation. With John’s consent, some were released to us. John says, “Tastes like an orange carrot - crisp and flavoursome”.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.


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