By Jennifer Poindexter
Carrots are an easy-to-grow vegetable that provide a great deal of color and flavor to your meals. Have you considered adding different varieties of this vegetable to your garden? If not, now may be the time to reconsider. There are a few general varieties of carrots, which I’ll explain. Plus, there are some specific carrot options which may deserve your consideration as well.
When looking for the right type of carrot to grow, it’s important to thoroughly explore your options. If this is what you’re out to do, you’re in the right place.
I’m going to walk you through the five main types of carrots and explore some specific options, too. Here are a few varieties of carrots you should consider growing in your home garden:
General Varieties of Carrots to Consider
Carrots can be categorized into five main types today, but carrots have an interesting history. They began their journey in Afghanistan around the 10th century.
Plus, carrots weren’t originally orange. They were typically purple or yellow. Now that you know a little about the origin of carrots, let’s discuss the five categories we know today.
Danvers carrots got their name because of their origination point, Danvers, Massachusetts. In the late 1800’s, this variety was passed on to Burpee, and its been a popular option ever since.
Most people enjoy Danvers because of their ability to produce a rich, flavorful orange carrot even in soils that aren’t ideal.
For instance, Danvers are known for growing in areas which are shallow or contain dense soil. If you’d like an orange carrot which is adaptable, this could be a good option for you.
Chantenay carrots are of a shorter stature. They only grow to be approximately five inches long and approximately two inches around.
This is another option of orange carrot, though they’re typically lighter. Like most carrots, this option was once used for medicinal purposes.
However, now it’s a great option for enjoying raw or cooked, using a variety of methods. The Chantenay carrot is also named after its place of origin, the Chantenay region of France.
Imperator carrots are what most of us think of when pondering over carrots. These vegetables have a rich orange skin.
They’re known for an enjoyable flavor and higher yields. Expect these carrots to reach lengths around nine inches long.
This type of carrot also has an interesting history. It was developed in 1928 as a cross between Chantenay carrots and Nantes. If you’re considering growing a traditional variety of carrot, this type may be for you.
We know that carrots were originally purple, so how did they make it to the color orange? We have the Dutch to thank for this.
In the 17th century, they created orange carrots. One carrot created during this time was the Nantes carrot. This is a small, rounded carrot that’s known for having a sweeter flavor profile.
Nantes carrots received their name from their place of origin, too. Nantes is a city in the French countryside which is apparently an ideal growing location for this type of carrot.
Finally, we have rainbow carrots. In our current culture, eating more diverse vegetables is making a comeback.
We want to eat a variety of colored vegetables because we’ve learned that the more colors we eat the more vitamins and nutrients we include in our diet.
If you enjoy different colors of carrots, you may want to choose some of the colorful options we’ll discuss in greater detail below.
Specific Types / Varieties of Carrots to Consider
Now that you know the five main categories of carrots, let’s talk specifics. Here are some interesting and popular varieties you may wish to add to your growing location:
1. Imperator 58
Imperator 58 is a longer carrot that grows to be approximately nine inches long and about an inch wide. This is a smooth, orange carrot variety with a sweet flavor.
When growing the Imperator 58, be sure to supply a growing location with loose soil as they’ll need to be able to dig into it to reach their full potential.
2. Cosmic Purple Carrot
As you might have guessed by the name, a cosmic purple carrot is in fact a rich purple variety. This carrot reaches maturity in approximately 70 days.
However, what you may not expect is though the carrot is purple on its exterior, it usually contains an orange or yellow flesh. Be sure to grow these carrots in full sunlight and expect a flavor profile with a hint of both sweet and spicy.
3. Solar Yellow Carrot
Solar yellow carrots are a bright yellow option. It’s an heirloom variety which produces carrots that grow to be approximately seven inches long.
These brightly colored carrots are known for having a sweeter flavor than traditional orange carrots. If you’d like a carrot that can brighten up your meals, the solar yellow carrot may make a good plant for your garden.
4. Atomic Red
The atomic red carrot is an imperator type. This plant produces roots that range from eight to ten inches in length.
You should enjoy this beautiful harvest as the carrots are bright red on the outside, have an orange flesh, and a sweet flavor profile.
Kaleidoscope carrots consist of a variety of other carrots. Most packs provide atomic red carrots, cosmic purple, lunar white, and solar yellow.
If you want a variety of both colors and flavors, consider growing kaleidoscope carrots in your garden. You’ll have a bright harvest and flavorful meals.
Tendersweet carrots are an heirloom variety. As you might expect by the name, this carrot is known for being one of the sweetest varieties available.
Plus, this option produces long, slender carrots that typically reach lengths of ten inches. This carrot is an all-purpose variety that does well when baked, canned, pickled, and should work for most other ways you may find to enjoy carrots.
7. Scarlet Nantes
The scarlet nantes carrot is a rounded, orange variety. This plant is known for producing faster than many other carrot varieties as this option should be ready to harvest in approximately 60 days.
Scarlet nantes carrots typically reach lengths between 6 and 8 inches long. However, you may harvest them sooner and utilize them as a baby carrot option.
8. Parisian Carrot
Parisian carrots are a fun variety as they come in the shape of a ball. This option is an heirloom variety that originated in France.
If you’d like to grow a different type of carrot, don’t overlook the Parisian carrot. They grow in areas where most other carrots won’t, due to their unique shape.
9. Lunar White
Are you looking to grow carrots that are unique? If so, don’t overlook the lunar white carrot. These carrots have bright green tops and white roots.
You should expect the carrots to be approximately twelve inches long, but they can be harvested earlier for use as a baby carrot.
10. Little Finger
The little finger variety of carrot is a true baby carrot. The carrots typically grow to be three inches in length. Plus, they mature faster.
You should expect little finger carrots to be ready to harvest in under 60 days. This carrot is great for pickling or canning as this was its original intent when developed in France.
11. Black Nebula
Black nebula carrots are very unique. They have a rich, dark skin and an equally dark interior. This carrot is known for being filled with antioxidants.
You may enjoy this carrot in many ways, either cooked or raw. It’s known for retaining its color when cooked and has a delicious sweet flavor.
12. Danvers 126
If you live in a warmer climate but would like to grow carrots, this variety may be for you. Danvers 126 carrots are known for being more heat-tolerant than other varieties.
Plus, this is a traditional orange carrot with a sweet flavor. Expect this carrot to produce high yields and to grow well even in denser soil and near other crops. Danvers 126 typically stores well and is less likely to split in the garden.
This is another carrot which is named for its appearance. The roots of this plant form short, heart-shaped carrots.
Though they take approximately 90 days to produce, they’re worth the wait. Expect to receive orange carrots that are sweet but crisp.
14. Royal Chantenay
Do you have less than ideal soil for growing carrots? Most of the time carrots need light, aerated soil that drains adequately. Royal chantenay is a little more forgiving.
This type of carrot grows well in shallow growing locations or areas with dense soil. You should expect the roots to only reach seven inches in length but to maintain a brilliant orange color and sweet flavor profile.
Thumbelina is an adorable variety of carrot. You may enjoy them fresh or cooked. Plus, you shouldn’t even need to peel them when enjoying them.
Due to their small stature, you may grow thumbelina carrots in shallow growing areas or places filled with dense soil. Expect these carrots to be the size of a ping pong ball at the time of harvest.
You now know the general categories for carrots and have a few ideas of specific varieties you may wish to incorporate into your garden.
Whether you’re looking for a traditional carrot, a smaller carrot, or one that contains brilliant amounts of color and nutrients, there should be something here for you.
Decide what you want in your carrot harvest and pick the varieties which can meet this desire. Then start enjoying homegrown carrots straight from your garden.