Daucus carota – Imperator (Tendersweet) Carrots
74 days. [AAS winner.] Sweet, crisp, and tender. 7-9 in. orange-red roots are coreless, have semi-blunt ends and narrow shoulders. Requires loose, deep soil to achieve its full potential.
How to Grow: For best results, carrots need a loose sandy loam free of rocks. Clay soils require loosening and lightening to a depth of 9” with organic matter such as leaf mold or peat moss to provide good drainage, loose structure, and adequate moisture-holding capacity. Do not add fresh manure before planting. Too much nitrogen favors top growth and causes roots to become rough and highly branched. Maintain high levels of phosphorus and potassium. Plant seed 1/4” deep, 3 seeds per inch, and thin to 1-2” apart in rows 12” apart. Cover seeds with a fine light soil, and keep soil moist. For planting in blocks, mix seed with dry sand or fine soil, and add some radish seeds to prevent soil crusting and broadcast seeds over a prepared bed. Seeds take 5 days to germinate – longer in cool weather. After foliage is several inches high, add mulch to conserve moisture. Extreme fluctuations of soil moisture between dry and wet conditions may cause cracking of the roots.
Diseases: Follow a 2- to 3-year rotation to help prevent disease.
Pests: Avoid planting in previously sodded ground and sprinkle wood ash along the row to prevent wireworm damage. Carrot rust flies can be controlled by skipping the spring planting for a year to break the life cycle by starving the spring generation of rust fly. Interplanting carrots with onions in a ratio of 1 to 2 reduces carrot fly damage by 70%.
Harvest: Best quality roots are no larger than 1” in diameter.
Storage: Cut off the tops, leaving 1/4 in. Store in the refrigerator or overwinter the roots in the garden by covering with a thick, loose mulch such as straw.
Seed Savers: Isolate from other carrot varieties and Queen Anne’s lace by a distance of 330’ for home use. For pure seed, isolate by 1/8 to 1/4 mile.
Packet: 3g (approx. 1500-1950 seeds, depending on variety) sows 84-110’.