Carrots originated over 5000 years ago in present-day Afghanistan. They were first cultivated as a purple root. Morphological characteristics lead to a division of the cultivated carrot into two botanical varieties: atrorubens and sativus. The variety, atrorubens refers to carrots originating from the East, exhibiting yellow or purple storage roots. The variety, sativus refers to carrots originating from the West with characteristically orange, yellow or sometimes white roots. In the 17th century, carrots were developed in the Netherlands with denser orange carotene pigment and these were the progenitors of the modern cultivated carrot. Nantes can be easily identified as a Western variety. It was was developed in the 1850’s by Henri Vimorin. It is named after the city of Nantes, the largest and most important city in Brittany, France. Like all carrots, Nantes is a cool season crop that can tolerate temperate climates with average soil temperatures of 60 degrees F.
Most carrot cultivars are about 88% water, 7% sugar, 1% protein, 1% fibre, 1% ash, and 0.2% fat. The fibre comprises mostlycellulose, with smaller proportions of hemicellulose and lignin. Carrots contain almost no starch. Free sugars in carrot includesucrose, glucose, xylose and fructose. Nitrite and nitrate contents are about 40 and 0.41 milligrams per 100 grams (fresh), respectively. Most of the taste of the vegetable is due to glutamic acid and other free amino acids. Other acids present in trace amounts include succinic acid, α-ketoglutaric acid, lactic acid and glycolic acid; the major phenolic acid is caffeic acid.
Sun: Full Sun
Height: 8 – 22 inches
Optimum Soil Ph: 6.0
Days To Maturity: 65 – 70
Sowing Method: Outdoors
Cultivate the soil at a depth of at least 8 inches. Remove weeds with your hands and a garden hoe, and rake out lumps and rocks that may obstruct root growth. Work a 2-inch layer of compost into the soil. Apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer according to package instructions.
Broadcast the seeds over the soil surface at a frequency of three seeds per inch. Sprinkle a 1/4-inch layer of soil over the seeds. Tamp the soil so that it’s firm over the seeds, and lightly water them in. Aim to keep the soil evenly moist — not soggy — as the plants grow. Space the rows 12 inches apart. Expect germination in about two weeks.
Thin the seedlings to 2 inches apart when they have three true leaves or are at least 1 inch tall. Use scissors to remove the weak, small seedlings by cutting them at soil level.
Side-dress the plants with a 20-0-0 fertilizer about six weeks after germination. Water the soil after fertilizing so that the feed can dissolve and get to the roots.
Water the plants with a moderate amount of water throughout the growing season. Don’t allow the soil to dry completely, because this may cause the roots to crack. Spread a 2-inch layer of seed-free straw over the soil around the plants to help promote soil moisture retention and to suppress weeds. Keep the straw mulch about 1 inch away from the plants.