Purple carrots

Article and photos by Penny Woodward

Purple Dragon carrots with white and orange carrots

Purple Dragon carrots with white and orange carrots

The next few months are the perfect time to plant carrots of any colour in any region, but why not try purple carrots for a change? Purple carrots (Daucus carota  Sativus Group ‘Purple Dragon’) were probably grown by early Romans who also grew white carrots, but it is believed that the first purple carrots came from Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern Iran. Purple, white and yellow carrots were imported to southern Europe in the 14th century and were widely grown in Europe into the 17th Century. Our familiar orange carrots only appeared in 16th century Holland when patriotic Dutch growers used seed from purple carrots and yellow Turkish carrots to produce orange roots, reflecting the colour of the ruling House of Orange. Over the ensuing centuries, orange carrots came to dominate and carrots of other colours were only preserved by growers in remote regions of the world. Purple carrots are still grown in Afghanistan where they are used by tribesmen to produce a strong alcoholic beverage. Read more

Colourful carrots

Cruncy, multi-coloured heirloom carrots

Colourful heirloom carrots

The early Romans grew purple and white carrots, but it is believed that the first purple carrots came from Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern Iran. Purple, white and yellow carrots were imported to southern Europe in the 14th century and were widely grown in Europe into the 17th Century. Our familiar orange carrots only appeared in 16th century Holland when patriotic Dutch growers used seed from purple carrots and yellow Turkish carrots to produce orange roots, reflecting the colour of the ruling House of Orange. Over the ensuing centuries, orange carrots came to dominate and carrots of other colours were only preserved by growers in remote regions of the world. Purple and white carrots  still grow wild in Afghanistan where they are used by some tribesmen to produce a strong alcoholic beverage. Read more

Vegies A-Z

Organic Gardener’s Essential Guide: Vegies A – Z

Rising costs have combined with anxiety about food security to create a critical moment for people considering growing their own food. Right on cue is “Vegies A-Z”. It’s the third OG special (after Getting Started, $10.00, and Fruit, $10.00). Vegies A-Z combines new material with recent OG articles from reliable writers. My quibble with this third volume is that there is not more on soil preparation, which is crucial. Perhaps that’s in Getting Started? Perhaps the three volumes need to be read seriatum, and would make a great gift, possibly to yourself. PW is a major contributor. — AMS.
Note: There is more on soil preparation in Getting Started which is unfortunately currently out of print. A reprint is planned for later this year
Borrow a copy from your library, buy one from your local newsagent or go to the store on this website and buy a copy online

  • All words and images © Copyright Penny Woodward 2017.
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