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in Fruit & veg
Just pulled a few carrots for my tea, a few each of Nantes 5 and Autumn King (all sown at the same time, either side of the same patch). The Nantes 5 have suddenly developed a really hard core, I struggled to even cut the greenery off and after cooking they were inedible. The Autumn Kings are just fine and much bigger.
I have been 'thinning' both by pulling some of the bigger ones to have as baby carrots, but now some are starting to reach maturity and fill out, at least the Autumn Kings are, a Nantes with the same size stem only has about half the carrot which is pale and doesn't have much taste.
I was wondering if maybe the Nantes are running to seed?
Should I have thinned them more earlier on so they got bigger sooner?
I thought I could just leave carrots in until first frost without any worries (I have been keeping the soil moist)?
Sounds like not enough water and, as you've guessed, not thinning them so they didn't get big enough soon enough.
Nantes are an early carrot and are best grown quickly and picked and eaten young and sweet.
There are other carrots which can take longer to grow and can be left in the ground through the winter - Autumn King is one of these.
I went out and pulled a few more, one actually had a seed head and was hard right through, the others seem fine (but will need to harvest the lot soon). Must have just been coincidence that all the ones I pulled for my tea were hard!
I think Autumn King may improve if you leave them a bit longer, but Nantes should be ok now.