About Organic Imperator Carrot: The origin of carrots is somewhat obscure, but early records from many civilizations refer to this colorful root. Carrots fulfilled medicinal purposes for thousands of years, being used for maladies as diverse as indigestion and cancer. The Dutch were the among the first to cultivate the orange carrrot; legend has it that their intent was to honor William of Orange. After World War I, carrots became extremely popular in the United States, and are now produced commercially mostly in Texas, Michigan, and California. Imperator 58 carrots in particular are found in many grocery stores because of their uniform size and smooth skin.
Organic Imperator 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. In cooler climates, sow more seeds every 3-6 weeks for a continuous crop. Warmer climates may be restricted to spring and fall crops, since carrots cannot tolerate an excess of heat. For companion planting benefits, plant carrots with aromatic herbs or onions; this will repel the carrot fly and its maggots.
Growing Organic Imperator 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 Organic Imperator Carrot: 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 Organic Imperator 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 Organic Imperator Carrot Info: Daucus carota. Also known as Long Imperator #58. Biennial. 75 days. 23,200 seeds per oz. 6-24" height. 2-4" spacing. Produces 8-9" coreless orange carrots.