Carrot ‘St Valery’ is a legendary carrot. This reliable old favourite also known as ‘James Scarlet Intermediate’ produces handsome, deep burnished orange-red roots that are sweet and tender.
This large handsome variety has very smooth, uniform roots with broad shoulders for easy lifting. Measuring around 25 to 30cm (10 to 14in) in length and around 5 to 8cm (2 to 3in) in diameter, the roots are elegant, long and tapering and rarely split even in drier conditions. They possess superb flavour, the flesh is fine-grained, sweet and tender with very little core
St Valery’ is easy to grow and highly productive. Excellent as a main crop for late summer eating or for storing for winter use. The roots tolerate winter cold and store well over winter in the ground or in the cellar. They are ideal for winter stews and casseroles.
Sow March to July for harvesting July to September. 70 to 85 days to maturity.
The deep burnished orange roots and excellent flavour of this old heritage variety make it one of the most satisfying carrots you can grow and it's often to be found winning prizes on the exhibition benches at vegetable shows.
Carrot ‘St Valery’ is a French heirloom carrot that was in production prior to 1885. The Vilmorins of France mentioned this variety in 1885 and said that it had been grown for a ‘long time’ then.
In 1924 the James Vicks catalogue said: “The best and most handsome main crop carrot. Enormously productive, very desirable for private gardens as well as for markets. This is an improvement on the very old Long Orange’. Developed in the Netherlands, the Long Orange was the most popular carrot of the 18th century, and from which all other varieties of orange carrots were developed.
Carrots for container gardens:
While you can use containers of various depths to grow carrots, smaller varieties such as Amsterdam are usually best.
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.
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.
Carrots can be sown from February under cloches or fleece, and 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.
The carrots will mature in 12-20 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.
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
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.
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.
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 2 grams Average Seed Count 1,600 Seeds Common Name Forcing, Early & Successional, Aka 'James Scarlet' Other Common Names James Scarlet Intermediate Family Apiaceae Genus Daucus Species carota ssp. sativus Cultivar St Valery Hardiness Hardy Biennial