‘Paris Market’ Carrots are Round Delights

by Seasonal Wisdom on March 2, 2011

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Carrots (Daucus carota) are popular cool-season, root vegetables to grow in home gardens. But the longer varieties – which can grow up to 8 inches long - are hard to grow in heavy, clay soil conditions.

If you have clay soil, consider ‘Paris Market’ (aka ‘Tonda di Parigi’) carrots, which I discovered last year. The round French heirlooms from the 19th century grow only 1 to 2 inches in diameter.

These carrots thrive in containers and can handle clay soil (although you’ll want to add organic matter like compost regularly to improve your garden soil quality.)  Shown are some carrots we harvested in fall 2010. A bit strange looking, aren’t they?

This early variety ripens in 50 to 68 days.  What these small carrots lack in size, they provide in flavor.  You’ll love the sweetness of this old French favorite.

Growing Carrots: This root vegetable is difficult to transplant, so sow carrot seeds directly into your garden about 3 to 4 weeks before the last spring frost … or as soon as soil can be worked. Carrots tolerate light frosts, and once established can often overwinter in garden soil.

Carrots prefer full sun, but tolerate light shade. Plant carrots in light, fluffy soil that isn’t too rich. Avoid adding too much nitrogen. The optimum pH level for the soil is 6.0 to 6.5. If your soil is too acidic, add lime.

As the seeds are tiny, they can be hard to handle. Consider making a seed tape. Plant seeds 1/4 inch deep and 1/2 inch apart. Carrot seeds can be slow to germinate, so be patient. Keep soil moist while seeds are germinating.

Thin new carrots as they start to pop up, so they are spaced 2 to 4 inches apart. Toss carrots you’ve thinned from the garden into your salads.

For multiple harvests throughout the growing season, sow seeds every couple weeks until midsummer. Good companion plants for carrots are alliums (e.g., onions, garlic, leeks) and tomatoes.

More carrot growing information from the University of Minnesota extension service.  Seed Saver Exchange sells the carrot seeds. Enjoy!

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Victoria March 9, 2011 at 8:00 am

Love the look of those carrots. We’ll have to give them a try.

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teresaoconnor March 14, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Victoria, these are great carrots. It’s not always easy to grow the longer ones, as you know. Bet your garden is starting to look springlike already. Teresa

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Priscilla March 11, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Beautiful carrots! I have seeds of the same variety, I’m thinking of planting this year. My tomatoes and lettuce already germinated indoor under grow light. I’ve left you a comment here before. We’re from California but we’re planning to move to Idaho this summer. We have family in Eagle so we’re looking for a place around the area. We love Idaho and I’ll definitely be gardening there! I’ll be visiting your blog more often :)

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teresaoconnor March 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Yes, I remember, Priscilla. Good luck to you. You’ll love the way tomatoes grow in Idaho. Thanks for stopping by.

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Julie March 22, 2011 at 1:42 pm

I love these carrots, and that they’ll grow in containers is even better. I’m running out of room in the garden. : )

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teresaoconnor March 22, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Thanks Julie. These carrots are definitely worth the space. By the way, that kale and white bean soup recipe on your blog looks delicious. I’m a big fan of nutritious kale, and I appreciate the way it tolerates cooler temperatures … and even tastes a bit better after the first frost. Thanks for stopping by.

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Kira August 11, 2011 at 7:52 am

I planted my Paris Market carrots in the garden (zone 6) on April 14th and should have harvested in late June, but the foliage looked so darn tiny. Today is August 11th and I finally pulled some out. They were awfully small, most no more than an inch wide or long, but wow, were they delicious! Do you think it should have taken that long to harvest? Did I do something wrong? Can anything be gained by leaving them in even longer? Thanks!!

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Teresa O'Connor August 11, 2011 at 10:43 am

Hi Kira: Not sure where you live, but the summer was late in some places. Keep in mind that ‘Paris Market’ carrots never get very big, but they should have gotten an inch or so bigger than that. Carrots can take a while to germinate, depending on the temperatures. So those ripening dates are only guidelines. You can overwinter carrots, so you might want to grow them longer. Keep in mind you can also sow more carrot seeds now for a harvest in winter or early spring. Good luck! Teresa

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Sheri August 25, 2011 at 7:42 am

Hi Teresa,
I just bought these seeds from Seed Savers & am eagerly awaiting their arrival. While I am waiting (aside from preparing the veggie bed for planting lol) I found your site while I was looking up growing tips for this cutie carrot. Super glad I did too :) Very informative and love your site, merci beaucoup! Will let you know how they did here in Florida’s zone 10b :)
best wishes,
Sheri

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Teresa O'Connor August 25, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Sheri: I’m a big fan of Seed Savers, and love the work they are doing to preserve old foods. Good luck with your carrot harvests. Please let us know how your carrots turn out in Florida. All the best, Teresa

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Nichole September 9, 2013 at 6:39 pm

there are some of the easiest carrots to transplant, i had no problems transplanting them. i learned to do that on youtube from jon hughes you should watch his video. it’s great. have fun!

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