ABOUT THE PLANT
Description: White carrots are creamy-white with a small core, and have a mild, sweet, delicious taste. Essentially it is a regular carrot without pigmentation. While they are high in fiber, they offer little nutritional benefits in comparison to the other pigmented carrot varieties.
Origin: Originated in what is now Afghanistan
Usage: Used in culinary dishes just as any other carrot. Eat them raw as a snack or in salads. Cook them in several ways such as steaming, boiling, roasting, or baking. Popular in the 'rainbow' variety packs which also include, yellow, orange, red, and purple carrots.
Interesting facts: An outstanding benefit of the white carrot is as a carotene-free alternative to the common carotene-rich orange carrot. This is a health benefit for individuals with carotene-related allergies.
HOW TO GROW
General requirements: Carrots grow best in cool weather. They prefer sandy, loamy soil that drains well. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Carrots are not drought tolerant. A soil pH of 6 to 7 is ideal. The soil needs to be at least 8-10 inches deep and should be amended with plenty of composted organic matter. Have your garden and/or containers where they will be in full sun for at least 6 hours a day. The ideal temperature for carrots is between 60 and 70 °F.
In the garden: Plant the seeds directly outdoors in the spring, once all danger of frost has passed. If planting late in the season, do so about 3 months before the first frost date. Sow the seeds 1/8 inch deep, 1/2 inch apart in rows 6-8 inches apart. Or you can broadcast the seeds thinly in the garden bed. Cover lightly with soil and keep moist. Germination can take anywhere from 2-3 weeks, so be sure to not let the soil dry out. Once germinated and the tops have reached about 2 inches tall, thin them to 1 inch apart. Rather than pulling the ones to go, it is better to cut them with scissors so as not to disturb the roots of the keepers. Make sure the plants receive ample water, but again, not soggy. Mulching throughout the season will help keep the weeds down and carrots tender as they start to push up through the surface. After the tops have reached 3-4 inches, thin them again. This time, gently pull the ones you are thinning, being careful not to disturb the keepers. The ones that you pull might already have carrots that you can eat! Keep thinning as necessary until the remaining carrots are 3-4 inches apart. They reach full maturity between 65-75 days.
In containers: Planting carrots in containers is the same as planting in the garden. Sandy, loamy soil, amended with organic compost, being at least 8-10 inches deep having a pH of 6-7. The pots need to be well-draining so that the soil can be kept moist, but not soggy. Broadcast the seeds thinly, cover lightly with soil and keep them moist. Again, germination will take 2-3 weeks so be sure to not let the soil dry out. The containers need to be placed in a sunny location receiving at least 6 hrs. of full sun every day. Once germinated and the tops have reached about 2 inches tall, thin them to 1 inch apart. Rather than pulling the ones to go, it is better to cut them with scissors so as not to disturb the roots of the keepers. After the tops have reached 3-4 inches, thin them again. This time, gently pull the ones you are thinning, being careful not to disturb the keepers. Keep thinning until the carrots remaining are 3-4 inches apart. They reach full maturity between 65-75 days.
Transplanting: Carrots will not transplant well. They do not like their roots to be disturbed; if they survive, the carrots will most likely be deformed or forked.
Roots: Full-size roots are the sweetest, so after the final thinning, hold out on harvesting them until they mature. That usually takes about 65-75 days but may take longer if growing in cooler fall temperatures.
Tops: Harvest the tops when you pull the carrots. They should be bright green and dense, and about 8 to 10 inches long.
Seeds: Carrots are biennial, meaning they flower in the 2nd year. So, it is a 2-year process. Overwinter at least 5 plants in the garden, but you will need at least 10-12 weeks of temperatures that are consistently below 59°F. The following spring, fresh growth will sprout from the tops of your carrots, and a flower stalk will develop in 4-6 weeks. An umbrella-shaped cluster will form covered with tiny blooms with the added benefit of attracting beneficial pollinators. By summer, these umbels dry out and turn brown. To harvest the seeds, cut the dry umbels with scissors and allow them to dry further in a bowl or tray in a well-ventilated area. When dry and brittle, rub them between your fingers to loosen the seeds from the flower head. Separate the seeds from the chaff by picking through the pile. Store them in paper envelopes or any small container in a cool dark place.
Common name: White carrot
Latin name: Daucus carota subsp. sativus
Life cycle: Biennial, but grown as an annual
USDA Zones: 3-12
Seeds per ounce: Approx. 21,000