When deciding what variety of carrot to plant one must determine two things: “What is my target audience?” and “What kind of soil do I have?” Growers need to define if they are selling to fresh or storage markets. Most of the carrots available from Rupp are geared towards fresh market. If high tunnels or cold frames are used in your operation, you may want to consider carrots as part of your rotation due to their ability to resist cold weather.
There are five main types of carrots: Nantes, Chantenay, Baby, Imperator, and Danvers:
Carrots can be planted in soils as cool as 40ºF with the ideal temperature ranging from 50 to 75ºF. They take anywhere from 7 - 21 days to emerge from the soil depending on soil temperatures. Spring carrots are planted 2 - 3 weeks before the last frost. For fall harvest, plant carrots 10 - 12 weeks before the first frost. Seed carrots ¼” - ½” deep and 15” between rows. Using seed tapes or pelleted seed will help prevent over seeding.
Soil nutrients are very important. Test the soil to check for optimal levels. Also scout for insect and fungal infestations. Root quality is best when soil temperatures are 60 - 70ºF. The shape of the root is determined within the first few weeks after germination when the new plant extends its taproot deep into the soil. Sometimes growers will mix radish seed with carrot seed to help with emergence. Radishes tend to have the ability to break though soil crusting which in turn helps the carrots emerge.
Fresh market carrots are harvested when they are ¾” - 1½” in diameter.
Store carrots at 32 - 34ºF and at 98 - 100% humidity. Store clean carrots away from other fruits and vegetables.