About Atomic Red Carrot: The first mention of red, white, and purple carrots can be found in the records of both Afghanistan and Egypt. Yellow carrots, on the other hand, date back to Turkish records from the 900s. Carrots fulfilled medicinal purposes for thousands of years, being used for maladies as diverse as indigestion and cancer. After World War I, carrots became extremely popular in the United States, and are now produced commercially mostly in Texas, Michigan, and California.
Atomic Red Carrot Germination: Prepare the soil 3 weeks before the last expected spring frost or when the soil temperature reaches 45 degrees F. These long, slender carrots appreciate deeply worked, loose soil in order to reach their full length. Build up a raised mound in the row, about 8" wide; sow the seeds on it, and cover them with 1/4" very loose soil. Keep the soil moist, but do not allow the the area above the seeds to become hard - this may prevent the seeds from germinating. Sow more seeds every 3-6 weeks for a continuous crop. For companion planting benefits, plant carrots with aromatic herbs or onions; this will repel the carrot fly and its maggots.
Growing Atomic Red Carrot Seeds: When the seedlings reach 2" high, gently thin them to 2-4" apart, depending on desired carrot size. The farther apart they are, the bigger they will grow. Do not allow the soil to dry out. When the tops of the carrots begin to emerge from the soil, cover them with mulch to keep them tender. Keep weeds under control to prevent the young carrots from being stunted.
Harvesting Atomic Red Carrot: Atomic Red carrots develop an even deeper red color and richer flavor when cooked; they are also high in lycopene. Begin gathering baby carrots when grow big enough to eat, to allow the remaining carrots to reach a larger size. If they become difficult to pull, make sure the ground is moist. To store carrots for the winter, twist off the tops but do not wash them. Layer them in damp sand or sawdust. In warmer climates, leave the carrots in the garden over winter topped with a thick layer of mulch.
Saving Atomic Red Carrot Seeds: Because carrot varieties will cross pollinate with each other as well as with wild carrots, isolate the plant for seed at least two miles from other varieties or provide a protective cage. In areas where the ground freezes over winter, it will be necessary to dig up the carrots before the first heavy frost; twist off the tops and store the carrots at 35 degrees F in damp sand or sawdust over winter, making sure the roots do not touch. Plant them again in the spring. From 30-40 carrots should be harvested to preserve genetic diversity. In warmer climates, leave them in the ground and cover them thickly with mulch over winter. In the spring, allow the top of the plant to flower; when they grow brown and dry, cut them off and allow them to fully dry. Clean to remove as much chaff as possible, then store in a cool, dry place for up to three years.
Detailed Atomic Red Carrot Info: Daucus carota. Biennial. 70 days. 32,000 seeds per oz. 12-18" height. 2-4" spacing. These deep red carrots grow about 9" long.