Mary's Veggie Garden

December 2, 2013

Varieties of Carrot Damage

Filed under: Carrots,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 8:37 pm
Tags: ,

What happens to carrots when they are not harvested ‘on time’? Some of my crop was in the ground more than five months so I had lots of opportunity to meditate on that question as I harvested and cleaned carrots.

Last spring I planted carrots on May 20 and again June 25. These carrots, a variety called Yaya, are ready in about 60 days and  I harvested from both plantings summer into fall. In mid November I pulled all the carrots remaining in the garden. The carrots planted earlier grew about 5 1/2 months and the later planting 4 1/2 months. Both were in the ground considerably longer than their two months to maturity.

What happened?  Rainfall was excellent in July and August and I harvest every second carrot so the remaining carrots had plenty of water and space to grow. They grew to fill all the space available and some got huge. They probably grew very little in the last six weeks, after the weather cooled, the days got short and drought arrived.

Eventually carrots split and forked. The June planting had some split carrots but very little forking. About 20% of the May planting was split or forked. There were also some carrots with insect damage in the early planting, but I was surprised how little insect damage I found. Other years, with different varieties, there’s been a lot more insect damage.

Here is a photo gallery of damage:

A simple split with only a bit of nibbling.

A simple split with only a bit of nibbling.

The split is caused by internal water & growth pressure. When the pressure inside is greater than pressure outside from the soil and surrounding carrots, then the carrot splits. One carrot split as I pulled it from the ground, another split when I peeled it.

The core continued to grow after the split, expanding the split.

The core of this carrot continued to grow after the split, pushing the sides of the split wide open.

Forked, split & nibbled, plus some insect damage which was sliced off the top.

Forked, split & nibbled, plus some insect damage which was sliced off the top.

As I harvested I noticed a pattern: many of the split carrots had additional damage that looked like nibbling by a small rodent, probably a mouse or vole. I didn’t find any nibbling on carrots without splits. I figure the scent of a freshly split carrot was attracting rodents to a feast.

Forked, split, and nibbled but still Juicy, crisp,  and sweet.

Forked, split, and nibbled but still juicy, crisp, and sweet.

The damaged carrots are edible – simply slice away the damaged portion. We enjoyed this 15 ounce monstrosity one leg at a time for several lunches. Not only was it forked, split, and nibbled, it was also crisp, juicy, tender, and sweet.

Your results may vary: with some varieties damage will make the carrot bitter or tough. Insect damage, in particular, turns a carrot woody.


Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: