Most of us only know carrots for their roots but this year, inspired by a wonderful project up in Manchester, I decided that we would give edible carrot leaf a go. Every year we aim to trial at least one usual leaf in the bags. This leaf has a lovely carrot-y flavour and gives a delightful texture to our salad bags. You wouldn’t want to eat a whole bowl of the stuff, but that’s why we call it a mixed salad bag! Apparently you get more Vitamin K in the leaf than the root, so even more reason to toss it in.
We’ve been growing it at our Allens Gardens site. I think it could have done with being planted a little closer together as the plants are fairly small – not the biggest yield from the bed this year. In the crop rotation we follow, carrot leaf sits in the ‘others’ year. Ida and Sophie are also growing it at the Castle microsite. Ida’s been keen to try the little carrots that form, despite the constant plucking of the leaves. They look small, like baby carrots, but they are not nearly so tender, as all the energy has been going into producing the leaf. Maybe, when we’ve exhausted the leaf, they’ll be perfect for the stock pot?
If you want to grow it yourself, we got the seed from Nicky’s Nursery. Make sure you cut them while they are young or they’ll be a little tougher. We had to get permission from the Soil Association to grow non-organic seed on our sites, but we think it was worth the effort.