Originating from Nantes in France, Nantes 2 is suitable as both second early and as a maincrop. It is virtually coreless with a tender texture, deep orange colour and sweet flavour. With good carrot fly resistance, it matures in 110 days in a warm climate and reaches an average size of 15cm (6in).
An excellent variety for early and successional crops producing uniform blunt-ended cylindrical roots. It grows well in any open position on a light, rich soil which has not been recently manured. Ideal for deep freezing. Sow February to August, harvest in June to October
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.
Sow from February under cloches or fleece. Sow successionally to July. In mild weather they can be sown as late as August. 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 the seeds and sand together. Sand will also aid drainage. Once the seedlings are showing their first rough leaves, thin to 5cm (2 in) between plants.
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: Harvest July to October.
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.
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.
An adult carrot fly or carrot root fly is a very small black fly which has been described as "a low flying miniature cruise missile". It is a serious and widespread pest and is really the only carrot pest worth worrying about.
Growing carrot fly resistant varieties is a great example of biological control - a method used in organic vegetable production. Three examples of carrot fly varieties are:
- Nantes - suitable for early and maincrop sowing
- Resistafly - mid to late season use
- Flyaway – early season.
Carrots do well alongside most plants, especially Chives, Garlic, Rosemary and Sage (which also 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.
The Nantes carrot takes its name from the city on the Atlantic coast of France where the surrounding countryside is ideal for its cultivation. (“It only attains its full quality in a mellow, deep soil…,” wrote Henri Vilmorin in the 1885 edition of his family’s seed catalogue.)
Shortly after its introduction, the Nantes became a kitchen garden favorite and its reputation (and cultivation) rightfully spread far and wide.
Today there are more than a half dozen varieties of carrots that specifically bear the Nantes name, but more generally Nantes has come to embody a class of medium-sized cylindrical carrots rounded at both the top and tip. In general, Nantes cultivars are known for being sweeter and tenderer than other carrots."
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.
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.
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.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 5 grams Average Seed Count 4,000 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 800 seeds per gram Common Name Second Early & Maincrop
Other Language Names Carotte sauvage Family Apiaceae Genus Daucus Species carota ssp. sativus Cultivar Early Nantes 2 Hardiness Hardy Biennial Time to Sow Sow successionally, February to August Harvest Harvest June to October. at an average size of 15cm (6in). Time to Harvest Matures in 110 days (15 to 16 weeks)