Early Nantes 2 is a heritage variety from Nantes in France where it was a kitchen garden favourite due to its sweet flavour and tender orange (and virtually coreless) flesh. It can be grown both as a second early or as a maincrop carrot and it has long cylindrical stump rooted carrots which are rounder at both the top and the tip.
|When to sow||Sow successionally from Feb to August. Cover early sowings with a fleece to protect from hard frosts.|
|Where to sow||Carrots grow best in light, deep, fertile, well drained and stone free soil. If your soil is too heavy or compacted, they can be grown in a deep pot or container. Carrots do not like recently manured soils so beds are best prepared during the previous autumn. Sow carrot seeds, 1cm (1/2in) deep, in Rows 30cm apart outdoors. Cover early sowings with a fleece to protect from hard frosts. Sow the seeds as thinly as you can to minimise future thinning, which can attract carrot root fly.|
|What to do Next||When the seedlings start to show their first set of leaves, thin out leaving 5 to 7cm between each seedling. It is best to thin seedlings on a still evening after watering. Ensure that you remove all unused seedlings or alternatively, if you have sown thinly enough, wait until you have some young carrots which can be pulled to 'thin as you eat'. Use a fleece to cover seedlings to protect from carrot root fly. Water enough to ensure that soil does not dry out, but do not over water as this can encourage leaf rather than root growth.|
|Harvest||June to October (approx. 110 days after sowing). Harvest in the evening by pulling out roots carefully or by using a hand fork to ease out the roots. Water soil before harvesting if the soil is dry.|
|Handy Tips||As carrot seeds are very small and difficult to handle, to aid in sowing thinly, mix the carrot seeds with a small amount of horticultural sand and sprinkle this mixture along a prepared seed drill. To further deter carrot root fly ( which are low flying) consider surrounding carrot bed with a fleece barrier at least 60cm high. Earth up around growing carrots to prevent green crowns. Ensure all carrots are harvested before first heavy frosts. Remove leaves 1cm above root and place in layers, covered by light sand and store somewhere cool and dry.|
|Companion Planting||Chives, Garlic, Rosemary, Sage, spring onion, Leeks and mint.|
|Nutritional Information||High in antioxidant beta-carotene which converts to vitamin A in the body.|
|Serving Suggestion||Home-grown carrots taste sweeter than any shop bought variety and therefore they are delicious eaten raw in salads or as crudités with dips. They can be cooked and served in many ways (boiled, steamed, roasted, glazed, mashed, stir fried or made into soup or added to casseroles). Just avoid over cooking them to ensure they retain all their nutrients and sweetness.|
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