Imagine the pleasure of pulling up purple, red, white, yellow, and orange carrots from the earth, so crisp and delicious from your own garden. Packed with vitamin A and other healthful nutrients, colored carrots have been around for more than 1,000 years! For gourmet baby carrots, harvest when only 3"-4" long.
• Botanical Name: Daucus carota
• Days to Maturity: 65–75 days
• Family: Apiaceae
• Native: Africa, Eurasia
• Hardiness: Frost-tolerant biennial grown as an annual
• Plant Dimensions: Roots are 8"–10" long at their peak
• Variety Information: ORANGE: Orange skin, orange interior, tapered roots. PURPLE: Purple skin, orange interior, tapered roots. RED: Red skin, yellow interior, rounded ends. YELLOW : Yellow skin, yellow interior, tapered roots. WHITE: White skin, white interior, rounded ends.
• When to Sow Outside: RECOMMENDED. 2 to 4 weeks before your average last frost date, and when soil temperature is at least 45°F, ideally 60°–85°F. Successive Sowings: Every 3 weeks until 10 to 12 weeks before your average first fall frost date. In very warm climates, carrots are grown primarily in fall, winter, and spring.
• When to Start Inside: Not recommended; root disturbance stunts growth.
• Days to Emerge: 10–25 days
• Seed Depth: ¼"
• Seed Spacing: 1"
• Row Spacing: 6"
• Thinning: When 1" tall, thin to 1 every 3"
• Harvesting: For best flavor and texture, harvest carrots any time before, and until they reach their optimal size. Peak harvest period lasts about 3 weeks, longer in the fall. Late summer-sown carrots are sweetened after having been kissed by light frost; however, harvest before soil freezes, which may destroy the crop. In USDA zone 5 or warmer, carrots can be left in the ground for storage provided they are heavily mulched; harvest as needed on days the ground is not frozen.