Chantenay is deservedly well known, a popular small, sweet variety of carrot with orange-red flesh and a fine crisp texture. With a sweet flavour, they taste 'as carrots used to taste' A premium all purpose, intermediate, stump-rooted variety, with broad shoulders and a blunt tip. Perfect for container growing and very adaptable to a variety of soils, they are excellent for both early and successional sowing.
Chantenay carrots are extremely versatile. Simply wash Chantenay in cold water and they're ready to eat or cook. Delicious in salads or served as crudités, they can be chargrilled, baked, steamed, or used stir-fry. They are particularly popular with children because of their sweet crunchiness and small size, one carrot is perfectly designed to fit snugly into the hand of a small child!
History of the Chantenay: As the name suggests, the Chantenay carrot originated from the Chantenay region of France. Early references to the carrot can be found back in the mid 1800's where it was used in medicine. The Chantenay carrot has not been widely available in Britain since the 1960's, but recently, hard working farmers have combined modern farming methods with traditional values to revive this exceptional variety.
As food production became more organised after the war there was a rise in the popularity of Chantenay carrots. This peaked in the 60's but the Chantenay fell out of favour as the market place developed and food production became increasingly mechanised. Production of Chantenay for the fresh market almost ceased in the 1970's although Chantenay remained a favourite with the canned carrot market due to their sweetness and size. The recent revival by food producers has been brought about with a complete product overhaul which looked at varieties, size and production techniques.
There is some truth in the old wives' tale that carrots help you to see in the dark since night blindness is one symptom of vitamin A deficiency. In the Second World War, Early radar stations were established along the south and east coasts of England in 1939 to detect aggressors in the air or at sea. The Germans attributed this sudden, remarkable night vision to the British habit of eating carrots. They weren't so far off the mark since the vitamin A in carrots forms retinol, a lack of which brings on night blindness. An 80g portion supplies more than the RDA of vitamin A.
Prepare the site: Success with root vegetables is very much down to the quality of the soil, so it’s worth taking the time to prepare your patch. Start digging over your soil in late winter or early spring, removing any stones you find and turn the soil until it has a fine, crumbly texture. If your soil is not ideally suitable, you can prepare a large container instead. Do not add manure as this makes the soil too rich for the seeds.
Forcing: Carrots sown in February in a cold frame/cloche are ready to harvest by June. Put the cloche in place a month before sowing as this helps to warm up the soil.
Sowing: Sow from Feb under cloches or fleece. Sow successionally. Sow forced crop seeds in 2cm deep drills (shallow furrows), 15cm apart. Carrot seeds are small, but it’s wise to plant them as thinly as possible. This reduces the amount of thinning necessary and potential risk from pests. Mix the seeds with a handful of sharp sand and sow them together. Sand will also aid drainage. Once the seedlings are showing their first rough leaves, thin out to 10cm apart which minimises competition and enables the carrots to grow quickly to harvest size.
Aftercare: Use a lightweight fleece over the bed to increase the temperature of the soil while also preventing the carrot flies from laying their eggs. The plants need little other attention during their growth period, although the plants should be kept well watered – too little water results in coarse, woody roots.
Harvesting: Matures in 80 days (11 to 12 weeks) Start pulling up your carrots as soon as they are big enough to eat. It’s best to harvest them in the evening to avoid attracting carrot fly. Late-sown carrots must be lifted by October to be stored over the winter.
Storing: Store only the best, undamaged roots, cut off their foliage and lay the roots between layers of sand in a strong box, ensuring that the roots do not touch. Store somewhere cool and dry, check the carrots occasionally, removing any odd rotten roots before they infect their neighbours. Carrot tops can be used in a variety of dishes, including raw in drinks or in salads. Carrots are an excellent source of the deep yellow carotenoids that produce vitamin A. They are also a good source of magnesium, potassium, vitamins C and B complex, and a form of calcium that is easily absorbed by the body. During the first five months of storage, carrots will actually increase their vitamin A content; and, if protected from heat or light, can hold their nutrient content for another two or three months
Carrots for container gardens: While you can use containers of various depths to grow carrots, smaller varieties such as Chantenay are usually best.
Pests: Carrot fly is drawn to carrots by the smell of crushed foliage, reduce the risk of an attack by thinning plants in the evening on a still day, removing any thinnings and watering afterwards. Carrot fly are also low-flying insects: erecting a ‘wind-break’ style shield around a crop will also help deter these pests.
Companion Plants: Carrots do well alongside most plants, especially Chives, Garlic, Rosemary and Sage (which deter Carrot Fly). However Dill, Coriander and other members of the Umbelliferae family should not be planted near carrots as they tend to cross pollinate which can be important if you are to save your own seed.
Forced Crop: Carrots sown in February in a cold frame/cloche are ready to harvest by June. When using cloches put them in place a month before sowing as this helps to warm up the soil. Sow forced crop seeds in 2cm deep drills (shallow furrows), 15cm apart, preferably a bed prepared the previous autumn. Thin out plants to 10cm apart which minimises competition and enables the carrots to grow quickly to harvest size.
Early Outdoors: Later in Spring (March/April) sow seeds directly outdoors. Where possible, cover with garden fleece to speed germination and protect against carrot fly. Harvest in July/September.
Main Crop: These are sown in April/May and harvested in October/November. This time its drills 2cm deep but 30cm apart. Sow seed very thinly and cover with light soil. Thin seedlings out to 4cm apart. These carrots are particularly suitable for storage after harvest.
Late Main Crop: These should be sown June/July and are ready for harvesting from December onwards. Late varieties are good for storing and produce large roots. Thin seedlings out to 4 to 5cm apart and avoid bruising the leaves when thinning as the smell can attract carrot fly.
|Average Seed Count||1,000 seeds|
|Species||carota ssp. sativus|
|Cultivar||Chantenay 2 Red Cored|
|Synonym||Daucus carota var sativa|
|Common Name||Maincrop & Successional
Heritage variety (1932)
|Other Common Names||No|
|Natural Flower Time||No|
|Time to Harvest||Matures in 80 days (11 to 12 weeks)|
|Time to Sow||Sow successionally from February|