When it comes to choosing any variety of crop it is important to find one that has been proven to grow well in your area. Alaska has many unique climate conditions. Using seed companies such as Foundroot or Denali Seeds is one way to ensure your seeds will grow successfully in Alaska. Carrots are slow to germinate, so do not get discouraged if your seeds take 2 to 3 weeks before they germinate. It is important to have loose, well draining soil for your carrots to reach mature size. Carrots in Alaska tend to have a sweeter flavor due to the increase of sugars with the amount of sun light we have during our growing season.
A common variety of carrot that has shown to grow well in all areas of Alaska is the Scarlet Nantes. This carrot is a popular, fast growing sweet, nearly coreless carrot that is great to harvest at the baby carrot size. At full maturity the Scarlet Nantes grows 6-10 inches. Other carrot varieties that perform well in the southcentral area include: Royal Chantenay, Danvers 126, Sugarsnax 54, Tendersweet, Napoli, Nantes Fancy, Littlefinger, Cosmic Purple, Rainbow, and the Nantes Coreless. Littlefinger like the name suggests is going to be a good carrot if you are wanting to harvest baby sized carrots or plan to grow in containers as they only grow to 3 inches at maturity. Nantes Fancy, Danvers 126, and Royal Chantenay, and Napoli are medium sized carrots ranging from 5-8 inches at maturity. Tendersweet, Cosmic Purple, and Sugarsnax 54 are similar to the Scarlet Nantes grow larger at 8 to 10 inches. If you are going to plant these varieties, be sure to loosen your soil at least 12 inches.
No matter which variety fits your needs, proper spacing, thinning, and maintaining after planting is vital for a successful crop. Carrots do not like to be transplanted, so waiting until the soil reaches 50F and direct sowing them will be the best option. Carrot seeds are very small, so be careful not to plant too deep (no more than 1/2 an inch). Thinning carrots is important. They will compete for space as soon as they become sprouts. Carrots should be thinned to 2 inches apart as soon as they are finished sprouting. Watch for weeds as carrots have thin leaves that have a hard time competing with broad leaf weeds and grasses. Harvest carrots when they reach suggested maturity size in diameter and are at the harvest date usually between 60 and 80 days.
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