Updated: Mar 22, 2022
It’s getting to be that time when we will find ourselves standing in front of the seed racks trying to figure out what type of carrot seeds do we get. I am by no means an expert, but have learned from gardening experience and a lot of reading and I do mean A LOT of reading and figured I’d share some tips so hopefully it will help the decision.
All carrots are best grown from seed, thrive in full sun & do well if seeded in the cool weather of spring (some say fall also - but I haven’t attempted this yet, but have over wintered my late plantings, yum!). They also do not do well with transplanting. Most types are ready to harvest between 60-80 days.
Carrots are categorized into types based on their shape and sizes and in these categories there are many different varieties. For our purposes we’ll stick with these 5 - Nantes, Chantenay, Imperator, Danvers, Ball or Minis:
Danvers – This is the carrot most people visualize when thinking about carrots. They are long & skinny and taper to a point. They are also the most tolerant of poor soils (clay & heavy soil) than other types. Very tender and sweet when young, but if left past maturity will become woody. Typically reaching 6-7” long.
Nantes – They are almost perfectly cylindrical being both round at the tip and the top, (typically reaching 6-7”)has sparse foliage & near red/dark orange flesh that has a sweet flavour & nice crunch with little to no core. They are a very quick growing carrot & matures faster and tend to be normally the easiest for most backyard gardeners. They do well in heavy soils
Chantenay – Before the Nantes were developed these were the only choice for growing carrots in heavy or rocky soil due to its size (typically reaching 6-7”long) making them very short & broad. Great choice for container gardens or heavier soils. Side note on this variety is that they must be harvested when they reach 6-7” otherwise become woody and tasteless.
Imperator – This is what most commercial growers produce. Similar looking to Danvers, but are thicker in width and often a higher sugar content than the other varieties. They prefer a light sandy loam soil and at least a foot deep. They typically reach 10-12” in size.
Ball or Minis – This group are shaped like a radishes or little miniature chantenay. Great for container gardening due to the short taproot & the area for growing as they normally reach 3-4”. They also perform well in heavier soils.
Hope this little bit of information has helped! Happy gardening.