Carrot Varieties to Sustain You All Year

Plant the right carrot varieties at the right times, and you’ll be enjoying carrots all year long.
By Barbara Pleasant
April/May 2006
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Among North American varieties, there are five major types of carrots based on root shape.
ILLUSTRATION: BERNARD LAWS


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By choosing the right carrot varieties and making spring and summer sowings, you can eat fresh carrots year-round. You’ll be able to harvest carrots as you need them, let some overwinter in the ground and always have some in the refrigerator that are washed and ready to eat.

North American carrots are classified into five major categories, based on the shape of their roots. There is plenty of crossover between categories (for example, Nantes-Imperator types), but these general classifications are useful for choosing carrot varieties based on the type of soil in your garden and the season in which you plan to grow them.

Nantes: straight, cylindrical roots 5 to 7 inches long; sweet flavor and crisp texture; limited storage potential
Varieties: ‘Early Nantes’ (OP*), ‘Nelson’ (F1*), ‘Mokum’ (F1)
Season: spring to early summer, late summer to fall
Soil: loose, sandy soil or raised beds enriched with organic matter
Days to Maturity: 55 to 70 in spring, 60 to 75 in fall

Chantenay: conical roots with broad shoulders and rounded tips; rich, sweet flavor and good storage potential
Varieties: ‘Red Core Chantenay’ (OP), ‘Kuttiger’ (OP), ‘Kurota’ (OP)
Season: spring to early summer, midsummer to late fall
Soil: best varieties for clay soil, or any fertile loam
Days to Maturity: 55 to 70 in spring; 70 to 110 in fall

Imperator: long, tapered roots with stocky shoulders and strong tops; slightly fibrous texture; stores well
Varieties: ‘Yellowstone’ (OP), ‘Purple Haze’ (F1), ‘Sugarsnax’ (F1)
Season: spring to summer in cool climates, or summer to fall
Soil: requires deep, sandy loam
Days to Maturity: 55 to 100 in spring, 80 to 110 in fall

Danvers: thick-rooted cylindrical shape, often with yellowish core; widely used in processing; stores well and good for juicing
Varieties: ‘Danvers’ (OP), ‘Healthmaster’ (F1), ‘Danvers Half Long’ (OP)
Season: spring to summer in cool climates, or summer to fall
Soil: deep, sandy loam or raised beds
Days to Maturity: 70 to 80 in spring, 80 to 110 in fall

Miniature & Baby: round, cylindrical or tapered roots less than 5 inches long; crisp texture and frequently quite sweet; limited storage potential
Varieties: ‘Thumbelina’ (OP), ‘Little Finger’ (OP), ‘Parmex’ (OP)
Season: spring to early summer, late summer to fall
Soil: any fertile soil that drains well
Days to Maturity: 50 to 60 in spring, 60 to 70 in fall

*OP = Non-hybrid, seed can be saved; F1 = hybrid, seed cannot be saved

Curious about carrots? Learn how to grow these tasty, snackable vegetables in Growing Carrots: Carrot Varieties, Soil Conditions and Harvest Times. To add some zing to your carrots try this Ginger Pickled Carrots Recipe.


Contributing editor Barbara Pleasant gardens in southwest Virginia, where she grows vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers and a few lucky chickens. Contact Barbara by visiting her website or finding her on .


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