(Daucus carota sativus) Atomic Red carrots are a fun variety with big health benefits. They owe their stunning bright red hue to their particularly high amount of lycopene, a cancer-preventing antioxidant.
Atomic Red produces very flavorful, crisp 8” roots. This variety has its best color and flavor when cooked, which also helps to increase the bioavailability of the lycopene. A hit with kids and at markets!
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Direct seed 2-4 weeks before average last frost. Plant successive sowings every 3 weeks until 60 days before first fall frost. Make sure your soil is free of stones; carrots need deeply tilled soil that they can push through.
Before planting, dig over your soil to remove any stones you find. Adding extra compost or peat moss to the soil will also help to prevent the carrot root from 'forking' as it develops.
Make sure to mark the rows well, as carrots take a long time to germinate. We suggest you plant a few radishes in the rows to "mark" them. After the carrots have germinated, the radishes can be harvested. Once seedlings are up, thin to 2"" between plants. Thinning out seedlings is a must for carrots to grow to full size.
Water deeply and gradually apply mulch to maintain an even moisture level and reduce weed problems. Carrot roots are easily damaged, so weed control and hand pulling of weeds is highly recommended.
Do not add too much nitrogen fertilizer as it can result in "hairy" feeder roots.
The most common problem is the maggot stage of the Carrot fly. This 1/4 inch white maggot eats along the outside of the carrot. Rosemary and sage can be used as natural carrot fly deterrents.
You can start harvesting as soon as the carrots are big enough to eat, or leave them all to mature for a single harvest. Dig your winter storage crop before the first frost on a day when the soil is moist but the air is dry. Hand-pull them or loosen the soil with a trowel before you pull to avoid bruising the roots. Watering before harvesting softens the soil and makes pulling easier.