Questions? Write Me at

Questions? Write me at fullcirclegardener @ cableone . net.

Plant of the Week: Carrot

Carrot (Dacuas carota)  photo credit
A member of the carrot or parsley (Apiaceae) family, the carrot has been cultivated for hundreds of years.  Consumption of the sweet and tender tap root is a 'modern' use of the plant whose cousins dill, parsley and cumin, are still harvested for their leaves, stems and seeds.  Carrots are high in beta carotene and other nutrients, and can be consumed raw or cooked. They are a must have for any veggie tray! ;)

Carrots are most well know for their orange color but come in a rainbow of colors from white to yellow, red and even purple.  Flavors and sweetness varies by variety as does size.  The short and stocky varieties are more tolerant of heavy clay soils while the long slender varieties are better grown in more sandy soils.  Plant carrots in full sun and deep well drained soils.  Work the soil well being sure the soil is soft and penetrable for the developing tap root as clods and organic debris can cause twisted or split roots.  The fine seed should be placed no more than 2 times as deep as they are wide (usually about 1/4 inch) and kept moist during the germination period.  Thin seedlings to one per every 2-3 inches as they grow.  Often thinned carrots can be enjoyed as 'baby carrots' (not to be confused with 'baby cut' carrots which are cut into smaller pieces for packaging and resale). 

Harvest carrots before they reach full maturity for the best flavor, usually when they areover 1/2 inch and under 1 - 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Cut off all but 1 inch of the top and store them in a cool, moist location.  Under the right conditions, they will store for as much as 6 months. 

Happy Gardening! :)

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