Tendersweet carrots, an heirloom with fantastic crunch and a sweet flavor, are perfect for snacking or cooking. One of the oldest carrot varieties, the tendersweet is also one of the easiest to grow.
These hardy carrots quickly germinate and grow into beautiful symmetrical bunches of bright orange. Continue reading to see why you need these carrots in your garden.
Looking to purchase tendersweet carrot seeds? Check availability.
A Brief History
Carrots originated mainly from the Middle East, where before the 17th century, they were primarily purple and white. But once the Dutch got a hold of these carrots, with some tweaking bred a mostly orange variety.
This is where one of the oldest carrots, the tendersweet, came to fruition.
Characteristics of the Tendersweet Carrot
What Do They Look Like?
Tendersweet carrots grow 7 to 10 inches long and 1.5 inches in diameter. These root vegetables are known for the perfect carrot aesthetic – tapered, slender, and perfectly bright orange color.
Their tops are bushy and bright green, and once the carrot is ready for harvest, the orange top of the root shows above the soil.
What Do They Taste Like?
Tendersweet carrots have one of the highest sugar content next to all other carrot varieties. This makes them delicious, no matter how you plan to eat them.
They also offer a fantastic crunch making them the best carrots for snacking raw, whether you like them with a tasty hummus or a classic ranch.
The tendersweet is perfect in any dish that calls for carrots: desserts, snacks, soups, stews, coleslaws, and anything else you can think of!
Because of the higher sugar content, these carrots are perfect for a delicious carrot cake.
If you’re into food preservation, tendersweet carrots are made for canning or freezing. Once you have your harvest make sure to can or freeze what is left so that, come winter, you’re ready to make up this tasty and healthy carrot stew.
One other fantastic recipe you have to try is carrot juice. With so many great health benefits, you’ll want to juice up a batch right away!
Carrots are one of the healthiest foods in the world. They offer so many nutritional benefits as well as being tasty and versatile.
Carrots contain carotenoids, a chemical compound that gives the carrot its yellow-orange hue. Carotenoids are the main focus of the health benefits of carrots.
Because of this, two main benefits are a reduced risk of cancer and lower triglycerides.
Carrots are also great for eye health. They have high levels of vitamin A, which keeps eyes healthy and helps reduce the risks of eye diseases such as macular degeneration.
If you want to lose a few pounds, carrots are one of those snacks you can’t have too much of! Low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals, it’s the perfect tasty weight-loss snack when paired with other healthy options.
Growing Tendersweet Carrots at Home
When growing the tendersweet carrot at home, one important thing to remember, carrots are a biennial plant, which means it takes a full two years to complete its life cycle.
What does that mean for you? If you do not harvest the carrots the first year they are planted the following spring, they will flower, bear seeds, and then die. Any carrots produced in the second year will be bitter-tasting – so don’t count on getting two harvests from the same plant!
Tendersweet Growing Basics
Tendersweet are a cool weather crop which means they can survive a slight frost, unlike some of our other garden favorites.
When planting, you can sow the seeds directly into the soil 2 to 3 weeks before the final springtime frost and every two weeks after for one month for a lucrative harvest.
Ensure your soil is loamy, loose, free of large stones or roots, and have a pH balance between 6 and 7.
Tendersweet carrots need full sun to grow, and once the seeds have been sown in these conditions, it should take anywhere from 14 to 21 days to germinate.
Pro tip! Keeping the solid sandy and moist will encourage the carrots to grow straight and larger since they can freely move about the soil.
Sow tendersweet carrot seeds 1 to 2 inches apart ½ inches deep into the soil—plant 2 to 3 seeds in each hole to ensure germination. Carrots have a low germination rate meaning typically, only one out of three seeds will sprout.
Once the seeds germinate and have 2 to 4-inch established leaves, prune back the plants so only one plant remains. This must only be done if more than one plant grows and sprouts per 2-inch spacing.
Pests and Diseases
Tendersweet carrots are known to see some common pests, blights, and mildews.
Aphids can plague most garden plants; once they do, they are hard to remove. Of course, if you notice these crawling around the leaves, there are many chemical and organic natural pest control options.
The last thing you want in your tendersweet carrot patch is a carrot weevil. You’ll know you have these weevils when you notice a zig-zag pattern on your carrot’s skin.
Alternaria Leaf Blight
Blight is a common fungus that affects the foliage of plants, and carrots are no exception. You’ll see brownish-green spots on the vegetation that will eventually cause the root to die. To resolve this issue, you’ll need a liquid copper fungicide.
Black rot happens when the seedlings are too wet, and overwatering occurs. A black ring appears on the top of the root before harvesting, showing rotting has already started. To prevent black rot, don’t overwater your tendersweet carrot plants.
Tendersweet carrots are ready to be harvested once the top of the root is showing above the soil, and it has been 70 to 80 days from sowing.
Purchasing the Tendersweet Carrot
These are very popular carrots, so you may find seeds at big box stores or nurseries.
We highly recommend the high-quality seeds sold online by one of our favorite seed retailers, True Leaf Market.
Some smaller nurseries may have seed starters ready to be planted since they are easy and early to germinate.
Because of how attractive these carrots are in bunches, farmers tend to sell these carrots at farmer’s markets throughout the harvesting season.
Wrapping up the Tendersweet Carrot
Easy to grow and so many delicious and healthy ways to use the tendersweet carrots, you’ll love having these plants as a new garden staple!
To learn more about carrots, visit our Carrots Page on the website for more blog posts and growing guides.