There’s more to this veg than their orange colour as 2019 is designated Year of the Carrot

Caracas carrots. Picture by Thompson & Morgan
Caracas carrots. Picture by Thompson & Morgan
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It’s sure to get the thumbs up from Bugs Bunny … 2019 has been designated the Year of the Carrot, but there’s more to this vegetable than its orange colour.

Every year, the Fleuroselect Home Garden Association, an international non-profit organisation, chooses a vegetable and flower, designed to help the horticultural industry.

Aron F1 carrots. Picture by Kings Seeds

Aron F1 carrots. Picture by Kings Seeds

Here are my choices, focusing on ease of growing, those suitable for growing in containers and top colours (for health).

Caracas: With short, conical roots, it can be grown on heavier soils or in containers as baby carrots, £2.49, www.thompson-morgan.co.uk
Night Bird F1: This almost black variety is packed with purple anthocyanins, which are thought to be beneficial to heart health. It has a has a nuttier flavour than most carrots, James Wong Range, £3.49, www.suttons.co.uk
Oxheart: An old French variety, these snub-nosed carrots grow well in containers or shallow soil, reaching 10-13cm wide at the shoulder. Rob Smith Heritage Veg Range, £2.50, www.dobies.co.uk
Ruby Prince F1: A new carrot that is pinky-red outside and inside. Packed full of lycopene, it is crisp, tasty and healthy, £1.95, www.chilternseeds.co.uk
Paris Market Baron: A 19th-century French heirloom type, these tender, bite-sized, round carrots are perfect for beginners, even in a window box, £1.65, www.plant-world-seeds.com
Volcano: New and exclusive, this extremely strong, reliable and tasty variety is resistant to breakage, splitting and disease, £3.05, www.mr-fothergills.co.uk
Malbec F1: One of the best reds available, this Imperator type carrot produces reliable, tasty crops. Especially recommended for roasting, £3.05, www.johnsons-seeds.com
Dragon Purple: A purple carrot that looks like roots did when they were first domesticated in the Middle East, £2.37, www.realseeds.co.uk
Aron F1: An unusual shaped 5-10cm half long stumpy carrot, early cropping and full of flavour, £1.70, www.kingsseeds.com
Primo: A forcing variety for overwintering under protected cropping for an early spring crop. Roots are very tender and sweet, £2.20, www.seaspringseeds.co.uk
Jaune De Doubs: Rustic yellow variety prized for its culinary quality, £1.99, www.seedsofitaly.com
Carrot Seeds Cropping Programme: Perfect for an allotment when you want almost year-round roots with Amsterdam Sprint, Sugarsnax F1, Senior F1 and Maestro F1, £6.46, www.dtbrownseeds.co.uk

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l For more information, plus cook what you grow, recipes, environmental news and more, log on to the website at www.mandycanudigit.com – which is also now smartphone friendly.

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Night Bird F1 carrots. Picture by James Wong for Suttons

Night Bird F1 carrots. Picture by James Wong for Suttons

JOBS TO DO THIS WEEKEND

Snowdrops can be lifted and divided as long as you re-plant them straight away.

Some pots outside under eaves or balconies may need watering. Keep them moist (not too wet), and don’t let them dry out.

Plant bare-root deciduous hedging, trees and roses, staking before planting, so you don’t damage the rootball.

Move deciduous trees and shrubs, if the ground is not frozen or waterlogged.

Indoor forced bulbs for Christmas displays, which have finished flowering, can be left outside in a sheltered spot, to die down.

In a cold snap, place floats on the surface of ponds to keep them from freezing over – this can be fatal for fish and pond life. To make a hole in frozen ponds, hold a saucepan of hot water on the surface until melted through. Do NOT crack the ice.

Make sure protective straw or fleece is still in place on vulnerable plants overwintering outdoors. In cold spells, protect non-frost-proof containers with bubble wrap, hessian or fleece. Group pots near a south-facing wall to give extra protection.