Scarlet Nantes carrot

What’s better than biting into the crunch of a carrot you grew in your backyard? What will make this even more satisfying is growing Scarlet Nantes carrots — a specialty variety of carrots known for their sweet flavor and fine texture. Before you purchase the seeds, though, it helps to know the ins and outs of these carrots so you can grow and harvest them like a pro.

Garden carrots on the dirt

Scarlet Nantes carrots: The basics

Scarlet Nantes carrots have a crispy texture and are sweet and fine-grained, making them ideal for snacking or cooking in any dish that calls for the sweetness of carrots as they have high sugar content. For instance, use them in noodle dishes, add them to anything that calls for grated carrots, or chop them into chunks for stew. They’re also great for juicing. And you don’t even have to peel these carrots — merely wash and use them.

Generally, these carrots grow to about six to seven inches long and one inch wide and have a deep red-orange hue. Inside, they have a thin core. These carrots are classified as Nantes-type carrots.

How to plant carrot seeds?

With these steps, you can grow your carrots from seeds:

1. Monitor the frost date

If you’re growing the Scarlet Nantes carrot from seeds and planting them directly into the ground, figure out when the last frost will be. Then, plant them about two to three weeks prior to the frost date. If you’re planting them from seedlings, aim to plant them in mid-April.

Carrot seeds can germinate in soil that’s just above freezing, but they tend to take a long time! The seeds will germinate much more quickly in warm soil.

2. Plant them in the right spot

Make sure you position your carrots in a place that’ll receive a minimum of six hours of sun each day. Grow them in free-draining, loamy soil or sandy soil. The soil should have a high organic matter content to provide the carrots with the nutrients they need to thrive.

If you have rocky soil, consider growing these carrots in a raised bed, allowing them to extend their roots six to seven inches minimum. You could also plant them in containers, as long as they’ll have enough room to extend their roots.

3. Remove any rocks from the soil

Once you’ve found the perfect spot, pick any rocks out of the soil before you make it your carrot bed so the carrots don’t wind up with any deformities.

4. Plant the seeds correctly

Place the seeds on the surface of the soil, planting three seeds per inch. Plant the rows 12 inches apart.

5. Apply dirt to the seeds

Then, apply a quarter-inch layer of soil on top. Next, either by hand or with a tool, tamp the soil. It should be firmly over the seeds.

6. Water the seeds

Finally, give them a light watering, making sure to evenly hydrate them. The soil should be moist rather than soggy.

Scarlet nantes carrot plants growing in garden

How to care for the growing plants

Here’s a simple guide to Scarlet Nantes carrot plant care:

1. Keep the soil moist

Initially, keep the top inch of soil moist as your seeds germinate. Never let the soil get soggy, though. Instead of using a watering pitcher, use a mist bottle to prevent overwatering. Check the soil every day to see if the seeds need to be watered.

Whether you planted the Scarlet Nantes carrots as seeds or in the seedling phase, give them an inch of water per week. Once they’re established, monitor the rainfall carefully. If you’re going through a wet spell, refrain from watering them until it’s necessary.

2. Thin your seedlings down

After you have seedlings that are one inch or taller or have three leaves, you’ll need to thin them so the plants are two inches apart. Try to remove the small and weak plants only. Cut them off at the soil level. However, if you must remove healthy plants, you may pull them from the soil when it’s damp and transplant them.

3. Weed them regularly

Weeds are fierce competition for your carrot plants and will take the nutrients your carrots require to survive. Therefore, weed your carrot patch regularly throughout the season.

For more details, check out this ultimate guide to how to grow carrots.

Fresh scarlet nantes carrots just harvested

When and how to harvest carrots

You can expect it to take between 65 and 70 days before the carrots will fully mature when you plant them in spring. Besides counting the days, you may also look for changes in your carrots as they’re growing to know when they’re ready.

Typically, the tops of the roots of the Scarlet Nantes carrot will reach about three-quarters to an inch in diameter. You may notice them starting to poke out of the soil, but this doesn’t always happen, so they may still be ready even if you don’t see anything popping through the soil. If you see anything popping through the soil, it’ll be a vibrant color if it’s ready to harvest.

Once you’re ready to pick them, grab a garden fork. Use it to dig up the roots, and then remove the carrots from the soil. Before storing your carrots, trim the leaves, letting only about an inch of them above the roots. Typically, you can store these carrots in the refrigerator with 95% humidity for up to four weeks.

You could also opt to store them in a root cellar by placing them in a sealed container with moist sand, mulch, leaves, or sawdust. They’ll last this way for several months. You may also freeze them. They’ll last for up to a year frozen.

Don’t forget — when the flowers appear on overwintered carrots, collect the carrot seeds.

Scarlet nantes carrots on a plate

Quick summary of growing Scarlet Nantes Carrots

If all this information seems a bit overwhelming, here’s a quick breakdown:

  1. Find a sunny spot with adequate room for root growth
  2. Place the seeds or seedlings spaced apart
  3. Water them as necessary, never getting them soaked
  4. Thin the seedlings once established
  5. Continue watering as necessary
  6. Harvest about 70 days after planting

Scarlet Nantes carrots are a unique variety that appeals even to those who are a bit reluctant to eat vegetables. While they’re unique, growing them isn’t difficult when you understand what watering schedule is ideal and where to plant them. Happy gardening!

Inside of a carrot
Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a quintessential Canadian gardener. An engineer by trade, she tends to an ever-expanding collection of plants. In her world, laughter blooms as freely as her flowers, and every plant is raised with a dash of Canadian grit.

Mary Jane is a certified Master Gardener and also holds a Permaculture Design Certificate. She's also a proud mom of three, teaching her little sprouts the crucial difference between a garden friend and foe.

When she's not playing in the dirt, Mary Jane revels in her love for Taylor Swift, Gilmore Girls, ice hockey, and the surprisingly soothing sounds of bluegrass covers of classic hip-hop songs. She invites you to join her garden party, a place where you can share in the joy of growing and where every day is a new opportunity to find the perfect spot for yet another plant.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *