UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County
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UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County

Carrot Demonstration

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As part of the cool-season vegetable crops grown in the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center (FOHC) vegetable winter demonstration garden in 2007-2008 were 14 varieties of carrots.  The varieties, each with differing lengths and colors, are described below.

The carrot seeds were sown on September 8, 2007, and each variety was sown in approximately a 3-foot by 4-foot block.  To aid in the germination of the seeds, the rows were covered with floating row covers (light-weight spun poly fabric) and irrigated by hand daily directly onto the row covers.  Most of the seeds germinated within 10 days, so daily irrigation was no longer needed.  Drip irrigation was then used to keep the new seedlings watered.

Maintenance consisted of diligently thinning the carrot seedlings to give the developing roots room to grow.  After about a  month, the thinnings were large enough to make a nice snack.  The mild fall weather allowed the carrot plants to grow well, and harvest began in earnest in late November.  In December a carrot tasting was held among the vegetable demonstration garden workers and other Master Gardeners working at the FOHC.  The results of that tasting are included at the end of each carrot variety description.


Carrot Varieties Grown (listed in order of length)

'Thumbelina'
'Thumbelina'
‘Thumbelina’ - A round Paris Market-type carrot, Thumbelina was an All America Award winner for 1992.  It is an improvement over the older round varieties primarily in the smoothness of the skin (important because you really don't want to have to peel them).  Another virtue is that they will do well in heavy, rocky soil.
Length:  ½-1 inch is best, but quality is retained up to golf ball size.
Days to harvest: 65 days

Tasting comments:
Earthy (like a really mild beet); slightly sweet taste.
Crunchy, not much taste.
Good flavor, but a little bit woody.


'Babette'
'Babette'
‘Babette’ (French baby carrots) – Carefully bred in France for full sweet flavor and uniformly deep orange flesh, new ‘Babette’ baby carrots offer American gardeners top quality and great versatility.  They germinate and grow quickly in the garden with a smooth cylindrical shape and blunt tips.  Length:  “Mini” carrots at 3-4 inches long (pull by foliage to harvest)
Days to Harvest:  70 days

Tasting comments:
Sweet and very crunchy (due to high water content?)
Good flavor.
Okay with light crunch.


'Short 'n Sweet'
'Short 'n Sweet'
‘Short ‘n Sweet’ – Extra tasty, petite, and bright orange to the core.  Bred to grow even in heavy or shallow soil.  Easy to grow and full of vitamins.  Can also be grown in a large container.
Length: 4 inches long
Days to Harvest:  68 days

Tasting comments:
Odd flavor (initially sweet, then a little bitter).  Tall, sturdy foliage.
A little more flavor than ‘Thumbelina’ but slightly bitter aftertaste.
Okay.


'Red Cored Chantenay'
'Red Cored Chantenay'
‘Red  Cored Chantenay’ – This is a short, fat carrot with a very attractive smooth orange skin.  It rarely splits or forks, even in heavy soil.  It has a hard, crunchy, dense texture and full-bodied flavor which is sweet and complex.  It is an improvement on the original French import.
Length:  5½ inches long
Days to Harvest:  75 days

Tasting comments:
Very sweet (typical carrot flavor); tall, sturdy foliage.   My favorite.
Okay flavor.
Good flavor.


‘Royal Chantenay’
‘Royal Chantenay’
‘Royal Chantenay’ – A reliable, stocky variety featuring a tapered root in the characteristic “V” shape.  High in Vitamin A.  The greens are strong enough to withstand a good yank, making harvesting a breeze.  This is a practical, all-around variety which thrives in heavier soils and will not bolt.  It is a bright, deep orange, excellent for canning, freezing, and juicing.  It is one of the best for storing in a cellar or at cool temperatures.
Length:  5-6 inches
Days to Harvest:  70 days

Tasting comments:
Typical sweet carrot.
Okay; better than ‘Red Cored Chantenay’.
Okay, nothing special.


‘Mokum’
‘Mokum’
‘Mokum’ – This Dutch variety is relatively early, has fine color, a small core, and is very juicy and sweet.  It makes a fine “baby” carrot due to its high sugar content and rapid coloring, but it is fine for harvesting throughout the season as well.  One of the best flavored varieties with a rich sweetness that is especially good raw and for juicing.  This is one of the best carrots for growing in the south.
Length:  6 inches long
Days to Harvest:  54 days

Tasting comments:
Very short foliage; crunchy and slightly sweet, but not much flavor.
Good texture; crispy, but a little woody.
Short greenery (length of roots was deceptive); bland watery flavor.


‘Nantes’
‘Nantes’
‘Nantes’ – This is a blunt ended, crisp carrot with a delectable flavor and reddish color.
Length:  6 inches long, 1½ inches wide
Days to Harvest:  72 days

Tasting comments:
Not very flavorful; bitter.
No flavor.
Okay; slightly woody; not very flavorful.


‘Purple Dragon’
‘Purple Dragon’
‘Purple Dragon’ – Uniquely colored, rich, intense purple roots with orange-yellow centers.  Eye catching when sliced or shredded as well as a steamed vegetable.  Roots have a high antioxidant and vitamin content, so are best eaten raw and are perfect for making carrot juice.  Easy to grow.
Length:  6 inches long
Days to Harvest:  65-70 days

Tasting comments:
Very mild flavor (not great); fabulous color (only thing going for it).
Nice to look at, but not much flavor; almost watery.
Attractive, but not a lot of flavor.


‘Lunar White’
‘Lunar White’
‘Lunar White’ – A creamy-white carrot with green shoulders.  Flavor is mild and sweet.  This pure white carrot is almost entirely coreless.  The seeds produce a heavy crop of tall, hearty plants.  The tapered roots have a very mild carrot flavor, and they are particularly delicious when picked small.  Crunchy and crisp, Lunar White carrots make a great addition to a green salad.  They can be used in any recipe calling for standard orange carrots, but they are an especially nice addition to a dish whose presentation highlights their clean moon-white color.
Length:  6-8 inches long
Days to Harvest:  58-65 days

Tasting comments:
Very mild flavor; long, nicely-shaped roots; sturdy, tall foliage.
Mild flavor, but not unpleasant.
Interesting flavor.


‘Danvers Half Long’
‘Danvers Half Long’
‘Danvers Half Long’ – One of the best carrots for storage, as it keeps very well.  Flesh is bright orange, fine grained with a mild, sweet flavor.
Length:  7½ inches long, 2½ inches wide
Days to Harvest:  75 days

Tasting comments:
Slightly sweet flavor.
Okay.
Good, slightly sweet; dense crunch.


‘Orange Rocket’
‘Orange Rocket’
‘Orange Rocket Hybrid’ – Jumbo size and remarkable sweetness distinguish this fine new hybrid.  The carrots have exceptionally smooth flesh.
Length:  7-9 inches long
Days to Harvest:  70 days

Tasting comments:
Nice, slightly sweet.
Better than ‘Danvers Half Long’.
Okay, but nothing special; slightly sweet.


 

‘Nutri-Red’
‘Nutri-Red’
‘Nutri-Red’ – A vigorous grower with strong 12-inch tops.  Freshly picked, it is a light pink-red color, but when peeled and cooked, it turns into an intense orange-red with a sweeter and milder flavor.  Very high in Lycopene content (the cancer antioxidant) and highly recommended for its nutritional values.    This carrot is best when cooked.
Length:  9 inches long, 1½ inch diameter at shoulders
Days to Harvest:  76 days

Tasting comments:
Slightly earthy flavor (cooking should help flavor); unique color.
Odd flavor; should be cooked.
Okay; a little different.


‘Pot o’ Gold Hybrid’
‘Pot o’ Gold Hybrid’
‘Pot o’ Gold Hybrid’ – This highly-nutritious variety is loaded with beta carotene.  It is also delicious, thanks to extra-high sugar and juice content.  Bright color adds to the firm, tapered shape.  Tolerant of leaf blight.
Length:  9 inches long
Days to Harvest:  71 days

Tasting comments:
Typical carrot flavor.
Okay.
Nothing special, but okay.


 

‘Canada Gold’
‘Canada Gold’
‘Canada Gold’ - This long, perfectly shaped, imperator-type carrot provides an excellent combination of great looks and great flavor. Roots can be eaten as thinnings.  Color is a distinct orange--like the supermarket carrots only fresher and sweeter.

Length:  8-10 inches long
Days to Harvest:  74 days

Tasting comments:
Sweet and crisp.
Okay. 
Nice; less sweet than ‘Danvers Half Long’


Written by UC Master Gardener Gail Pothour

4145 Branch Center Road, Sacramento, CA 95827       Master Gardener Phone:  916.876.5338             Fax:  916.875.6233

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