Carrot F1 Maestro is an excellent Nantes type. This maincrop carrot has been bred for root quality and reliability of crop and has excellent pest and disease resistance.
The very attractive, cylindrical shaped roots have with very smooth skins that have good resistance to silvering. With high resistance to alternaria and intermediate resistance to cavity spot, Maestro is especially suited to low input and organic systems.
Maestro produces excellent quality carrots with a good, fresh flavour, suitable for eating raw or for cooking. It has good foliage health and early vigour. The tops are very clean and are strongly attached allowing very late top lifting
A maincrop to late season variety, sow March to July, and harvest as bunching carrots or leave for autumn harvest. Store maincrop roots in dry sand or soil. 12 to 20 weeks maturity.
- Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
Carrot 'F1 Maestro' was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit (AGM) in 1999
- Recommended by N.A.I.B
It has been trialed, tested and is recommended by the National Institute of Agricultural Botany.
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.
Carrot seed should be sown into deep, fine, rather sandy, fertile soil with a pH of 6.5 – 7.5. The soil should not have been manured in the past year; ideally it will have been manured for a previous crop. If the ground has been manured in the past year do not grow carrots in that spot. If your soil is not ideally suitable, you can prepare a large container instead.
Sowing: Sow successionally from February
Carrots sown early in February in a cold frame/cloche will be ready to harvest by June. Put the cloche in place a month before sowing as this helps to warm up the soil. Sowing seeds into modules is another way to obtain early cropping. Sowing in early spring to early summer will hopefully avoid the most harmful hatchings of the carrot fly.
Sow the carrot seed thinly into drills 2cm ( ¾in) deep. The rows should be spaced at 12 to 15cm (5 to 6in) apart for optimum performance. 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 7 to 10cm (3 to 4in) apart which minimises competition and enables the carrots to grow quickly to harvest size.
It is best to thin seedlings in the evening when carrot fly are not around, as it’s the odour of bruised leaves which attracts them.
Use a lightweight fleece over the bed to increase the temperature of the soil while also preventing the carrot flies from laying their eggs. Keep the ground around the carrots weed-free by hand. As foliage develops the leaf canopy will suppress the annual weeds.
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: 12 to 20 weeks maturity.
Early varieties of carrot will be ready to harvest approximately 12 weeks from sowing, and maincrop varieties after about 16 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. The first roots are usually lifted when they are 12 to 15mm (½in)in diameter, remembering roots will continue to grow as the seasonal temperature rises. Use a fork to lift, being careful not to damage the carrots.
Late-sown carrots must be lifted by October once the foliage begins to wilt and turn yellow, to be stored over the winter.
For winter, carrots can either be lifted in October and stored, or left in the ground ensuring the crowns are covered with a secure layer of straw to protect them from the frosts.
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 - 'Psila rosae' 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 varieties - suitable for 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.
- 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. Protect by garden fleece in colder areas. 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. .
Carrots can be cropped in succession through the year, allowing harvest from late spring through to late winter.
They are divided into categories depending on their shape and maturity.
- Amsterdam Types: These are the earliest to crop and produce slender, cylindrical, stump-ended roots with smooth skins. They are small in size, around 7 to 10cm (2½ to 4in) long and 1.5 to 2cm (½ to ¾ in) diameter at the crown. They are ideal for forcing, and are best when harvested at an early stage of development. An excellent variety to grow at home for Baby or Miniature carrots, as commercial production can be difficult and comparatively expensive making these carrots expensive in stores.
- Nantes Types: Well known for their excellent colour and quality, Nantes cultivars are often sweeter than other carrots. The roots are almost cylindrical in shape, with a slight shoulder and an abrupt, blunt taper. They grow to around 15 to 20cm (6 to 8in) in length, 2 to 5cm (1 to 2 in) in diameter, cylindrical, generally with a slight shoulder and an abrupt, blunt taper. Suitable for early crops and for forcing, as well as for use as later crops. Nantes types are mainly used for home or farmers markets, although they can also be grown for commercial fresh market and processing. They are not seen in the market much as they are too brittle for machine harvesting.
- Chantenay Cultivars: Chantenay carrots are short, broad and conical in shape. Colour is generally lighter in color than other types. The roots are shorter than other cultivars, 12 to 14cm (4½ to 5½ in), but have greater girth, growing around 5 to 8cm (2 to 3in) in diameter. They have broad shoulders and taper towards a blunt, rounded tip. The colour is generally lighter in color than other types. Suitable for containers and use as main crops for summer and autumn lifting. Commercially they are primarily used for processing due to their excellent yield recovery.
- Berlicum Types: These produce long, large roots. Suitable for main crops and great for winter use.
- Danvers Types: Danvers carrots have a conical shape, having well-defined shoulders and tapering to a point at the tip. The root length is around 15 to 18cm (6 to 7in) with a conical shape, and around 5 to 7cm (2 to 2½in) in diameter. Sometimes referred to the "half long" carrot, they are suitable for most soils, they are tolerant of heavy soil. Used for both commercial fresh market and processing, Danvers cultivars are often pureed as baby food.
- Imperator Types: Imperator carrots have roots are longer than other cultivars of carrot, and taper to a point at the tip. Long 20 to 25cm (8 to 10in), tapered, slender roots that are smooth skinned with a small core and deep orange colour. They are the most common type grown for the commercial fresh and "cut and peel" market.
- Autumn King Types: Autumn King is 'a heavy carrot, a true winter carrot, which is fairly smooth and has good colour. Great for long season into winter, producing the longest tapered carrots on the market. Commercial flakee type of carrot with strong tops and heavy yields.
All of these types have been used as parent material in breeding F1 hybrids with mixed high quality characteristics. Also available are globe or ball rooted cultivars as well as small baby varieties both of which are suitable for shallow soils and container raising where space is limited.
- Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
- Additional Information
Packet Size 500mg Average Seed Count 400 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 800 seeds per gram Common Name Maincrop / Late variety Family Apiaceae Genus Daucus Species arota ssp. sativus Cultivar F1 Maestro Hardiness Hardy Biennial Time to Sow Sow successionally March to August Germination 14 to 21 days Harvest June to October.