This is the extra early hybrid that organic gurus rave about for cool season growing under cover in early spring and late autumn/winter. With incredibly sweet flavour and uniform growth, carrot 'Napoli F1' has assumed cult status with growers. Napoli carrots become incredibly sweet after frost and are rated by many as one of the best tasting carrots available, and are wonderful as baby roots.
Plant Napoli seeds in August in a raised bed or beneath a cloche, and experience the full flavour of winter 'candy carrots'.
Perfect for the earliest cultivation period 'Napoli' is a fresh market early Nantes-type best harvested around 20cm (7 to 8in). They produce good shaped roots that have good internal and external colour, the root is a deep orange. Slightly conical,they are smooth with a slight taper and a blunt tip.
Napoli roots have excellent sweet flavour with dark green tops, they fill out quickly, making it a great option for baby carrots.
Napoli keeps well in the autumn and become very sweet when harvested late. Extra early at around 55 days, they are ready for harvest after two months of steady growth. They can be harvested from June through to November.
Superior to similar varieties, Napoli is a must-have for any commercial carrot grower.
- Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
Carrot 'F1 Napoli' has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
- Certified Organic Seed.
This seed has been organically produced, verified and certified. It has been harvested from plants that have themselves been raised organically, without the use of artificial pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers.
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. .
- Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
- Additional Information
Average Seed Count 500 Seeds Seed Form Certified Organic, Filmcoated Seeds Common Name Extra early variety, Early Nantes type. Family Apiaceae Genus Daucus Species carota ssp. sativus Cultivar Napoli F1 Hardiness Hardy Biennial Time to Sow Sow successionally March to August Germination 14 to 21 days Harvest June to October.