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The edible carrot is a hardy biennial vegetable, although it is cultivated as an annual. It is grown for its orange/red tap-roots which are used mainly as a vegetable, and also raw in salads. By successive sowings in the open and by the use of cloches and frames, young tender carrots can be harvested throughout the year.
There are three main groups of carrots:
1. Short-rooted, with a cylindrical or almost spherical root.
2. Intermediate-rooted with a medium length, blunt-ended cylindrical or tapering taproot.
3. Long-rooted, with a long tapering, sharply pointed root.
|Pulling carrots - http://www.northeastmetro.ie/|
Intermediate-rooted varieties are larger, slower-growing, and suitable for sowing outside from early April onwards to provide a main crop. Long-rooted varieties are grown as a late maturing crop, and their large, symmetrical roots are idea for exhibition purposes. Of course, you will need to research the best varieties if this is your intention,
Short-rooted, early carrot cultivars can be can be harvested as soon as they have reached your desired size. From then on they can be lifted as required for several weeks after.
Main crop carrot varieties are harvested from the middle of October onward. Late main crops carrots will be a couple of weeks later. Use any split or damaged roots first and store the health roots for use through the winter.
Clean off the soil and cut the foliage back by approximately 1/2 from the top of the crown. Pack the rots in an outdoor clamp, or in layers in deep boxes of sand kept in a dry, cool, frost-proof shed or cellar.
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