Ask a Master Gardener: What happened to my carrots? – Duluth News Tribune

Q: I grow carrots every year. This year, the carrots in the bag I kept in the refrigerator got moldy. They got something like white “cotton candy” on top and developed disgusting soft spots that basically liquefied when touched and left craters in carrots. Any ideas as to what it could be? I didn’t wash the carrots before storing. Is it possible that something nasty lives in the soil?

A: This looks like white mold. This disease is caused by a fungus called sclerotia. Carrots are particularly susceptible to scleroderma, and the worst effects are often seen during storage after carrots have been harvested. You may suffer great losses.

Storing carrots unwashed may be the cause of the problem. Soil on harvested vegetables can contain a variety of pathogens, including those that cause mildew. Storing carrots in unsterilized containers can also cause mildew problems.

The fungus remains in the soil, so be sure to grow the carrots in a different part of the garden next year. After harvesting, remove the green tops and wash the carrots before storing.

Unfortunately, this fungus can affect quite a few vegetables, so finding another edible plant to turn where carrots used to be would be difficult. It is a good choice because it is less susceptible to

Bonus garden fun fact: When researching best practices for storing carrots to answer this question, I came across something I didn’t know. It can become bitter if stored with vegetables.

Written by U of M Extension Master Gardeners of St. Louis County.send a question to


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