Have you ever stood in front of a garden seed rack and wondered which to choose? Take carrots. There are usually several choices. Maybe you buy a packet of each. But without turning your garden into a test plot of carrot cultivars, have you questioned whether there’s something better out there? Are the seed rack choices as good as it gets?
I’ve always bought most of our garden seeds off the seed rack; it’s easy and convenient. But they can’t stock everything, and sometimes varieties that have tested superior for our region aren’t found on a rack, but available mail-order instead.
Carrot varieties differ in shape, length, flavor, sweetness, and storage ability. When deciphering carrot descriptions on seed packs or catalogs, watch for key words indicating these 5 qualities. If a variety is special in one or more of these, it will usually be noted.
Flavor and sweetness are probably the most sought-after qualities. Although carrot sweetness improves greatly if fall harvest is delayed until weeks of cool weather turn starches to sugar, carrot sweetness also varies by variety. Some types are naturally sweeter and more flavorful.
North Dakota State University recommends the following carrots, based on test garden results:
- Bolero, Caracas, Goldfinger, Hercules, Laguna, Mokum, Nelson, New Kuroda, Scarlet Nantes.
- I’ve tried several of these with great success. I would also add Ingot, Sugarsnax and Candysnax.
Mail-order Companies with large listing of carrot varieties:
- Johnny’s Selected Seeds
- Territorial Seed Company
- Twilley Seed