A far cry from the pleasantly crunchy, but largely flavorless baby carrots in the grocery store, homegrown carrots are a real treat treasured for their versatility and sweetness.
If you’re one of the many people who decided to start a garden in the midst of the pandemic, chances are your little seedlings are well on their way to becoming food. But it’s not too late to get your carrots in the ground! Here are a few tips for growing the sweetest carrots:
Plant Carrots Midsummer
Many root vegetables are considered “cool weather” crops—they grow lush and juicy when daytime temperatures are in the 70s, and are sweetest when harvested in cool weather.
The trick is that you have to start the seeds while it’s still summer. Otherwise they might not mature before freezing weather ends the growing season. Exactly when to start them is a function of how long the carrot in question takes to grow and your hardiness zone. To calculate, simply work backwards from the average date of first frost in your zone, subtracting the “days to maturity” listed on the seed packet to arrive at the planting date.
Choose the Sweetest Varieties
All else being equal, some carrot varieties are naturally sweeter than others purely on the basis of genetic composition. Carrot sweetness is graded on the Brix scale, which measures the percentage of solids in juice extracted from the carrot. Those solids include not just sugars, but amino acids, proteins, minerals, and vitamins. So, carrots that are sweeter also have more complex flavors and a better nutrient profile.
Also keep in mind that for a fall harvest, fast-maturing varieties are best. Avoid varieties that require more than 75 days to maturity. Below are some of the best varieties to consider:
- Purple Dragon: sweet, rich, purple skin, yellow core, 6 inches long, 60 days to maturity.
- Solar Yellow: crunchy, juicy, sweet, narrow, pale yellow, 7 inches long, 60 days to maturity.
- Scarlet Nantes: sweet, juicy, fine-grained, coreless, orange-red, 6 inches long, 65 days to maturity.
- Short ‘n Sweet: sweet, juicy, bright orange, 4 inches long, 65 days to maturity.
- Touchon: crisp, sweet, coreless, orange, 6 inches long, 65 days to maturity.
- Little Fingers: extra sweet, orange, 4 inches long, 65 days to maturity.
- Royal Chantenay: sweet, tender, reddish-orange, 6 inches long, 70 days to maturity.
- St. Valery: sweet, tender, little core, bright reddish-orange, 10 inches long, 70 days maturity.
- Cosmic Purple: bright purple skin, yellow-orange flesh, sweet, 6 inches long, 70 days to maturity.
Nourish with H-G Sweet ‘N Grow
H-G Sweet ‘N Grow is a plant supplement designed to increase the quality and sweetness of your carrots as well as other fruits and vegetables. To nourish your carrots with H-G Sweet ‘N Grow, simply spray on plant foliage and soil media every 7-14 days, making the first application four weeks after plant emergence or transplanting.
With care, patience, and H-G Sweet ‘N Grow you will be well on your way to:
- Increased yield
- Improved fruit and vegetable quality
- Higher Brix level
- Healthier soil
Check out or products to learn more about H-G Sweet ‘N Grow or contact us today if you have any questions—we’d love to hear from you!