Now Sowing: Early Carrots (July)

carrotsCommon Name: Carrots (Daucus carota)

Find seeds in the catalog

Seed Saving Level: Advanced; will cross-pollinate.

Planting: Carrots enjoy full sun to partial shade. They do not transplant well, so it's better to plant seed. Sow seed 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. Use a shade cloth to cool the soil for germination. Be patient! Carrots can take up to 3 weeks to germinate and the soil must stay evenly moist (water two times a day if soil dries out easily).

Harvesting: 60-75 days to maturity, but may take longer in the fall. Carrots are mature at 1/2 inch diameter. Young carrots are sweetest. Pull the leafy top as near to the root as possible and pull directly up. If it’s cool, carrots can stay in the ground a month after maturity.

Seed Saving: Carrots require exposure to a cold period to induce flowering. When the flower umbels have turned brown and dry, cut them off and put into a paper bag hanging upside down for 1-3 weeks. Rub the umbels between your hands to separate the seeds. Seeds are very small and light. Winnow or screen to remove chafe.

Sources: Seedswap (2013) by Josie Jeffer, Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners (2002) by Suzanne Ashworth

Recipe: Gladys’ Carrot Loaf

2 cups grated carrots
½ cup margarine
1 onion, diced
1 cup cracker or bread crumbs
1 cup rich milk
3 beaten eggs
1 tsp. Salt
⅛ tsp. Pepper

Mix all together and place in a quart casserole dish. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes. Serves 4-6.

Source: Nebraska Kitchens Cookbook: Favorite Recipes of Our State (2006) Recipes from the readers of Nebraska Life Magazine