Carrot: Bambino Latin name Daucus carota subsp. sativus
Carrots are extremely popular and widely grown in the UK. They are a very satisfying crop to grow with their feathery leaves and wonderfully colourful roots full of flavour and vitamins. Alongside the orange favourites, carrots also come in yellow, purple and white. They can also be a variety of shapes and sizes.
Bambino is a real ‘baby-carrot’ variety. Slender cylindrical, blunt roots which colour up early. It is early and sweet and is pest harvested at 10-15 cm in length.
How to grow: Grow carrots in the miscellaneous section of your rotation. They do best in a deep, rich, fine soil so some ground preparation (from around March) may be required. Avoid freshly manured, stony or very wet ground. The first sowings undercover in a greenhouse or polytunnel can give you an early crop but do not be tempted to start them off too early outside. May is generally the best month. If planting outside, sow seeds in a bed with fine, well worked soil undercover from May to August. Sprinkle the seed thinly into shallow drills and cover with fine soil. Thin the seedlings as they grow to leave a distance of 5 or 6 cm. Be sure to keep the plot free from weeds. Early undercover sowings will be ready around July. Late maincrops will be ready from September onwards.
Pests and diseases: Carrot seedlings are a slugs favourite thing. They will graze off a row of new carrots before they have barely made it past the soil surface. If slugs are a problem in your garden you might need to use environmentally friendly slug pellets. Your carrot crop can also be decimated by the carrot root fly. The female fly lays eggs at the base of the carrot usually in early Summer and the grubs tunnel through the carrot leaving brown tracks. Luckily a simple barrier method can keep the fly away from your crop.
How to cook: Carrots are best cut into chunks, rounds, or strips, and steamed until tender. They can be stir fried, sautéed, or roasted. They are also a valuable ingredient in soups and stews. We love eating them raw for dips or grated in salads.
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