Many types of carrots have a reputation among gardeners as finicky growers. But if you are looking for one that breaks the mold in more ways than one, meet the Oxheart Carrot!
This hardy French variety grows well in many zones and conditions. Learn what makes this type special, how to make it at home in your garden, and even to use it in your favorite recipes.
Looking for Oxheart Carrot seeds? Check availability.
Characteristics of the Oxheart Carrot
The Oxheart Carrot is appropriately named for its dense, heart-shaped root. You can expect it to be shorter and wider than many other varieties. The root gives way to stiff green stems topped by parsley-like leaves.
Despite its squat stature, it has the bright, deep orange shade you expect from a carrot. This variety can weigh as much as one pound but delivers a crisp, mild texture and sweet taste.
Origin of the Oxheart Carrot
Though carrots have thrived in the United States since the colonies, the Oxheart Carrot did not arrive until much later. It was developed in France in the 1800s and found its way to the US decades after.
It is also known as the Guérande Carrot, after the coastal village in Western France by the same name. This variety does well in humid, salt-rich air and soil similar to its seaside origin.
And because it is French, you know it is going to be versatile and delicious.
How to Use the Oxheart Carrot
Carrots are one of the holy trinity of French mirepoix, a combination of vegetables that is the base of many recipes. The Oxheart Carrot is especially suited to soups and stews. The dense root holds up well in lengthy cooking without losing its flavor.
Make good use of these vegetables in this classic beef stew or a comforting creamy roasted carrot soup.
Or if you cannot wait, simply take a bite! Like most carrots, it can be eaten raw. This variety is a delicious snack as is for you, kids, and even dogs.
You can also shred it over a salad or slice and roast it with a drizzle of honey. The signature sweet flavor and bright hue even pack a punch in juices.
No matter how you choose to use the Oxheart Carrot in your kitchen, don’t toss the stems and leaves. You can propagate carrots with about an inch of root and the stems still attached. Learn more here.
The fluffy leaves can be well chopped and used just like parsley. Sprinkle over vegetables before roasting or blend into a pesto. Toss anything left into a handy kitchen composter like these to reuse in your garden.
It is no secret that carrots are good for you, and the Oxheart Carrot is no exception. Packed with beta carotene, it is important for healthy eyes and skin.
Fun fact: Eating too much beta-carotene can tint your skin orange!
Don’t worry, even with a garden flush with carrots, you probably won’t eat yourself orange. But your immune system will benefit from its rich concentration of antioxidants and minerals.
Learn to Grow the Oxheart Carrot
Though the Oxheart Carrot had seaside beginnings, it can thrive in many environments. With full sun, it can grow well in USDA hardiness zones 3-10.
You are likely familiar with the longer, thinner carrot varieties. These require soil consistency at varying depths to grow well. The unique shape and short length of the Oxheart allow it to grow without being too picky. You can even grow it in containers because it doesn’t need deep soil.
Bringing this carrot to your garden is easy, but does take a little planning. Early spring is the best time to begin. The Oxheart Carrot is hardy enough to withstand a late-season frost or cooler temps. The seeds themselves tout a lengthy shelf life depending on how they are stored.
If you are not sure about the viability of your stored seeds, perform the water test. Emerge the seeds in a container of water for 15 minutes, if they float, they should be ok!
Seeds should be “surface sown,” meaning they are planted at a shallow depth of about ¼ to ½ inch. When sowing your seeds, leave at least 4” between each of them to ensure this wide carrot has room spread. If using a row planting method, allow for a minimum of 6” between each row.
As with most new plantings, keep the soil moist until you see the leaves begin to sprout. Though they are not too particular about soil composition, you should ensure it drains well.
Where to Buy Seeds or Veggies
So are you ready to dive in (to the soil) and make the Oxheart Carrot at home in your garden? Get out the door and down to your favorite garden shop!
The employees at your local nursery or garden center will be able to share tips to help your new carrots thrive. If you find the seed selection lacking at your local retailers, check with a credible online distributor.
We highly recommend the Oxheart Carrot seeds sold by one of our favorite seed retailers, Hoss Tools.
If you cannot wait until planting season to get started on Oxhearts of your own, look for local farm markets. Depending on the zone you live in, these growers will have a variety of carrots for you to try. A co-op or community garden is a good place to visit as well.
Wrapping up the Oxheart Carrot
The hearty Oxheart Carrot is dense in size but sweet in flavor. And what it lacks in traditional carrot aesthetics, it delivers in adaptability. Even if you have had trouble growing other carrots, this one is worth a try.
Whether in a variety of soils and climates, or juices and stews, the Oxheart shines.
Now that you are familiar with the Oxheart Carrot learn more about carrots. Visit the Carrots page on our website where you’ll find blog posts about other varieties, plus helpful growing and care guides for successful carrot gardening.