You’ve likely eaten baby carrots before, but have you ever tried one that’s as big as your forearm? Why are some carrots so big, while others are so teensy? Read on to find out!
What are Jumbo Carrots? Why are Some Carrots So Big?
In simplest terms, they’re carrots that grow upwards of 10″ long. Most carrot varieties average out at 6″ to 8″, but longer varieties are often thick and juicy as well.
There are pros and cons to both types: For one, jumbo root vegetables can feed a lot of people. When you’re growing carrots to feed a large family, or in a community or charity garden, you’ll have a lot of root to work with. A couple of giant carrots can bulk up a soup pot really well!
The longest, biggest carrot ever grown (according to the Guinness bopk of World Records was grown by a man named Joe Atherton from the UK. He managed to cultivate one that was 20 ft, 5.86 inches long in 2016. Uh, yeah.
As for cons, these longer root vegetables are often not as tasty as smaller ones. Instead of their natural sugars being condensed into a compact space, they can end up spread out more.
Which are the Biggest Carrot Varieties?
The best way to grow huge carrots is to plant seeds from a cultivar that’s known to grow large.
For example, Jumbo Red carrots are renowned for their size as well as their taste.
Some other ginormous carrots you can try growing include the following:
Manpukuji: This Japanese variety can grow over TWO FEET LONG in ideal conditions. Pick them after the first frost for maximum sweetness, and try to enjoy them raw, if you can. They’re amazing in grated or shredded salads, cut into sticks, or juiced.
Envy Carrots: These can grow 10″ to 14″ long, and are a deep orange, traditional-tasting carrot that’s sweeter than most other large varieties. These beauties are absolutely ideal for eating raw, but you can cook them, freeze them, or bake with them as well. In fact, try grilling them the next time you have a barbecue! Then garnish these fabulous vegan foot longs however you like.
You May Also Like: Baby Carrots VS Carrot Sticks
Imperator: You’ll know how these taste already, as they’re the ones mot commonly used to create baby carrots. They grow up to 10″ long, and are crunchy, sweet, and nutritious.
Kyoto Red carrots are a stunning deep ruby hue, and can grow 10″ to 12″ long.
And finally, White Belgian carrots can grow more than 12″ long, but they’re quite flavorless. In fact, they’re mostly grown to feed livestock.
How to Grow Massive Carrots
Make sure to plant yours in soil that’s nice and loose, and well draining. For example, make sure that the soil you’re sowing your seeds into has a high quantity of peat, coir,aged compost, and horticultural sand. Choose raised beds and large containers to grow yours, unless you can dig at least a foot down into your land. Amend the soil as needed until it’s as fluffy as possible. For truly huge carrots, make sure you also add calcified seaweed, a bit of potash sulfate, lime carbonate, and magnesium, and a mycorrhyzal amendment such as MyCorr Giant Veg.
Sow your seeds into this mixture in February or March if you’re in a mild climate, or late summer/early autumn if you’re in a colder one. Carrots don’t thrive well in summer heat, so aim to cultivate yours during colder seasons.
Further Reading: What are the Easiest Carrots to Grow?
Keep your carrots well watered as they grow! If these roots are allowed to dry out, they’ll split. Also, once you see about 4″ of greenery at the top, start feeding them once ever two weeks with a liquid seaweed fertilizer: just follow the instructions on the label.
You’ll know your carrot are ready to harvest when you can see part of the colored root poking up above soil level.
You Can Have Too Much of a Good Thing
Keep in mind that just because some carrots can grow to behemoth size, doesn’t mean they should be allowed to. The larger the carrot is, the less likely it is to be flavorful. Quite simply, those massive carrots can be really bland and woody, rather than tasty.
Stick to the jumbo carrot varieties mentioned above, and be sure to pick them by their recommended maturity date. For instance, if it says on the packet that they’ll mature at 65 days, aim to pick them around that time. If you allow them to grow to 75 or 80 days in the hope that they’ll get bigger and better, you’ll just end up disappointed.
Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. You may end up with super HYOOOGE carrots, but they’ll be so bland and bleh, you’ll just want to feed them to local wildlife.