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TheWaterbug
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My carrots aren't sweet :(

I mean they're polite and well-behaved, but they don't taste sweet. They're a little on the bitter side.

I'll pull one up and post a picture tonight or tomorrow, but the tops are a good 12-15" tall and healthy-looking, and the carrots are ~1" in diameter at the top and about ~5" long.

So everything seems right except the taste.

Are they too young? Should I let them sit awhile? Fertilize? Did I plant at the wrong time (sown 5/21/11 in Los Angeles)?
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rainbowgardener
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Two ingredients determine a carrot's flavour: sugars and terpenoids (volatile compounds that impart the carrot flavour). Some varieties are naturally high in terpenoids, which make the carrots taste bitter or soapy. Because terpenoids develop earlier than sugars, a carrot that is harvested too young might taste bitter. https://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/cultivation.html

But large old carrots that have been in the ground too long can get bitter too, as can under- watered carrots (too little water that is, not hydroponic!). If you keep the tops on them for long after pulling them, that will add bitterness.

Also, and being in LA, this may be your issue, excessive temps especially over a long period of time, makes them more bitter. You can work against this by keeping them well watered and mulched, keeps the soil cooler.

Carrots are cool weather crops. In LA, you will do better if you plant more carrot seed in Sept to grow through the fall/winter. Your fall/winter grown carrots are likely to taste a lot better than your summer grown ones did.
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TheWaterbug
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rainbowgardener wrote:Also, and being in LA, this may be your issue, excessive temps especially over a long period of time, makes them more bitter. You can work against this by keeping them well watered and mulched, keeps the soil cooler.

Carrots are cool weather crops. In LA, you will do better if you plant more carrot seed in Sept to grow through the fall/winter. Your fall/winter grown carrots are likely to taste a lot better than your summer grown ones did.
I'm guessing it's the heat, because I'm right around 90 days right now, so I don't think they're immature or really old, and their on a drip system, so the soil's been constantly moist since sowing.

I just purchased a pack of [url=https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0032G6NFK]Little Finger seeds[/url], so I'll see how those do.

If my present carrot patch is too bitter for us to eat I'll just pull them up and feed them to the neighbors' horses. They're not picky :)
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TheWaterbug
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I pulled a bunch of carrots yesterday, and nearly all of them are stunted:
[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3552590/Carrots081111_web.jpg[/img]

A few of them were decently sweet, and a few of them were just inedibly bitter.

I'm going to prep the soil much better for my second crop.
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rainbowgardener
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Unless they were bred to be short ( I deliberately plant shorter rounder varieties for my clay soil), stunting means the soil wasn't loose enough for them. Carrots don't like to push through hard soil, they like it all nice and soft and loose.
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applestar
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I have heard that it IS possible to leave carrots in the ground until colder weather arrives. Also, I wonder if refrigerating them might actually help. :?:

tomc
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applestar wrote:I have heard that it IS possible to leave carrots in the ground until colder weather arrives. Also, I wonder if refrigerating them might actually help. :?:
My guess (or at least speculation) is to let them grow more. Mine will taste better nearer the end of September.
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TheWaterbug
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I pulled a couple more this weekend, and they were woody. One of them was split straight down the middle and full of bugs. So I don't think they're immature.

The kids have been pulling them to feed to the neighbors' horses, so they'll all be gone in a week or so anyway, and then I'm going to plant some Little Fingers in some properly dug soil.

And I'm going to use a row cover to keep the !$%%@#$@$ critters away this time.
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garden5
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You know, I planted carrots once and they weren't that sweet either. This explains it, I must have harvested them too young!

I should try growing them again and next time wait longer before harvesting.
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