Is it worth the ef­fort?

NZ Lifestyle Block - - PLANTS WITH A PURPOSE -

You can work with­out pes­ti­cides and there is noth­ing like fresh home-grown car­rots, not to men­tion the fas­ci­nat­ing va­ri­eties which can be found, from yel­low, white and pur­ple, to dark or­ange and nearly red.

Kings Seeds stock a 1000-year old heir­loom va­ri­ety called Pur­ple Dragon which is red­dish-pur­ple with an or­angeyel­low in­te­rior. If you have heavy or shal­low soils, or for early and late sow­ings, stumpy smaller-rooted va­ri­eties such as Early Chante­nay and Paris Mar­ket are a good op­tion.

It is likely that in the fu­ture we will see va­ri­eties with higher carotene val­ues, darker root colour­ing and pest and disease re­sis­tance (as pes­ti­cide use be­comes more lim­ited), us­ing ge­netic ma­te­rial from Asian and Euro­pean car­rots. A wild rel­a­tive of car­rot for North Africa, Dau­cus capil­li­folius, has al­ready been used to breed a car­rot fly-re­sis­tant cul­ti­var called Fly­away.

In New Zealand, re­search on car­rots by the Heritage Food Crops Re­search Trust in Whanganui is only in its early stages. Di­rec­tor Mark Chris­tensen says they are in­ter­ested in the pre­o­r­ange va­ri­eties. “What the orig­i­nal car­rots – prior to Dutch breed­ing – looked like and con­tained.”

In hind­sight, car­rots were prob­a­bly not the best win­ter sup­ple­ment for my pigs as they are rel­a­tively low in calo­ries and fat. One medium car­rot con­tains only 25 calo­ries and 0.15g of fat, ter­rific for those on a diet but not so great for hun­gry pork­ers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.