Archives for posts with tag: carrots

Dear readers, I need your advice. For the first time, we are encountering some kind of rot on some of our carrots. Is there a solution?

We went to the garden yesterday to harvest some bounty as a hostess gift for friends who invited us to dinner. I pulled out one carrot that broke off about 2 inches below the crown; the core was mushy. Clearly rotten. The next couple carrots were just fine. Beautiful, in fact.

But I pulled about a dozen carrots, and half of them were rotten. A quick Internet search offered several potential causes.

I took the two seemingly likeliest blights to the website of UC-Davis, which I respect for its agricultural and horticultural expertise.

Nematodes is a word that makes me shudder. Sounds way creepy. Which UC-Davis quickly underscored: “Plant-parasitic nematodes live in soil and plant tissues and feed on plants by puncturing cell walls and sucking the cell contents with a needlelike mouthpart called a stylet.”

That doesn’t seem to be the problem. Plus, I thought nematodes were more of a tomato problem. My tomatoes are fine, however.

Then I wondered if the abundant rain was the root of my root problem. We were joking last night about being in the midst of a monsoon season, an endless cycle of heat and too much rain.

Here’s what UC-Davis offered up.

“Pectobacterium carotovora is a common soilborne bacterium that attacks a wide range of fruits and vegetables. The bacterium enters carrots through various kinds of wounds. In the field, soft rot is most often associated with warm temperatures and standing water resulting from poor drainage, low areas, or leaky irrigation pipes.”

This seems like the most likely culprit. Does it mean I should harvest the entire carrot crop, discard what’s rotten, and try to salvage the rest? Will it only worsen if I don’t pull up the crop? It doesn’t seem to be affecting the neighboring parsnips at all.

Sandy Johnson is a journalist and a gardener, equally passionate about both. She lives in Alexandria, VA.  Visit her on her blog, Grassroots & Gardening.

Two “firsts” for December. 1) My beautiful pink clematis is still blooming on the lamp post in the front yard. 2) We pulled the last carrots from the garden.

The carrots, planted in late August, yielded a bumper crop. Good old reliable Burpee’s seed, varietal Scarlet Nantes. The carrots were exactly as Burpee’s said they would be: 7 inches, full bodied, almost no core. And because we left them in the ground all fall, they were incredibly sweet.2012-12-08_11-40-23_774

To celebrate the last carrots of the season, there was only one choice of preparation: roasted. We hosted Thanksgiving this year and prepared a boatload of roasted root vegetables, and were disappointed there were no leftovers. So I cooked up another full pan yesterday: our carrots plus beets, parsnips and brussel sprouts bought from the farmer’s market. Slow roasted at 350 to a caramel-like finish.

Next year we’ll add parsnips to our fall planting. It may be December, but I’m already dreaming of next season’s garden.

Sandy Johnson is a journalist and a gardener, equally passionate about both. She lives in Alexandria, VA.  Visit her on her blog, Grassroots & Gardening.

Turns out there is a museum for everything. I decided to blog about carrots and wanted a snippet of history so, of course, I googled “carrot history”  and discovered the Carrot Museum. Now I’m wildly overeducated and can tell you, with some authority, that the modern carrot originated in Afghanistan 5,000 years ago and then migrated to Europe, where the enterprising Dutch cultivated it into the delicious root vegetable you know today.

(Family trivia: CRR is half Dutch, which may explain his devotion to growing carrots)


We planted two varieties this year. The Rainbow Hybrid promised carrots in hues of white, orange and coral. It yielded few carrots, however, so that experiment is over. The Sweetness Three hybrid was sweet indeed – bountiful, 6-8 inches long, and tasty. In several plantings, we used all 500 (!) seeds. No, we don’t have 500 carrots. I think the yield is probably a little better than 1 in 5.

Since we have a long growing season here, we bought more seed. Burpee’s Scarlet Nantes promises “slim, sweet, 6-7” almost coreless orange roots.” They’re just poking out of the soil, so we need 60 more days of sunshine til harvest. Our son, Sam, largely oblivious to the garden except for what arrives on the dinner table, read that the carrots will keep well in the ground and become even sweeter when the weather turns cold. We shall see.

My favorite carrot recipe is a blend of root vegetables – beets, sweet potatoes, parsnips and carrots – roasted at 350 degrees in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. My friend Laurie makes a killer mixture of olive oil and minced garlic for her roasted veg – give it a try.

Last night for a dinner party, I left the carrots full length, peeled them, drizzled on a little olive oil, dried thyme, salt and pepper – and slow-roasted them at 325 degrees. Turn them every 20-30 minutes. Because of the size, the carrots took more than an hour…but it was worth it. The slow roasting brought out the natural sugars in the carrots. Delicious.

Make sure you check out the Carrot Museum. Its trivia page produced this factoid: The world’s longest carrot was 5.839 metres (19 feet 1 7/8 inches)!

Sandy Johnson is a journalist and a gardener, equally passionate about both. She lives in Alexandria, VA.  Visit her on her blog, Grassroots & Gardening.