This section is from the book "Vegetable Gardening", by Ralph L. Watts. Also available from Amazon: Vegetable Gardening.
The carrot, a native to Europe, has been in cultivation for 2,000 years. This vegetable is far more appreciated by Europeans than by Americans. It is not only grown extensively in European fields and gardens, but is popular for forcing purposes. In the United States it is an important crop when a large city market is available, but sales are very limited in the smaller centers of population. The unpopularity of this root crop is doubtless partly due to a lack of proper knowledge regarding its preparation for the table. The large roots of late varieties are grown for stock feeding and are regarded as especially valuable for horses.
The smoothest and best-shaped roots are grown in distinctly sandy soils. Perfect drainage is essential. In addition the soil should have very little tendency to bake. It should be fine, mellow, fertile and moist. The young carrot plants are very delicate, and for this reason freedom from weed seeds is especially important. Heavy manuring and clean cropping the previous year provide the best conditions.
This vegetable adapts itself to a wide range of climatic conditions. While it is hardy, both tops and roots being able to stand some freezing, it will not resist the severe cold of northern winters.
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