More Carrot Thinning—St. Valery and Atomic Reds
Realization of the Day:
The Atomic Red carrots are orange inside!
I'm a little disappointed, but maybe that's just when they're young, since the Pinetree Garden Seeds catalog describes both the surface and flesh as brilliant red. Red is good because not only is it beautiful, but it also means the carrots are full of the antioxidant lycopene—the one you always hear about in connection with tomatoes.
I'm also growing an heirloom variety of carrots from 1929 called Red Cored Chantenay which, according to my seed catalogs, are supposed to be short and fat (about 5½ inches long) with a very appealing shiny orange color, smooth skin and a deep red-orange center. I'd really like to see that gorgeous red both inside and out!
Slowly but surely I'm getting my carrot bed thinned. I'm also keeping it covered with floating row cover 24/7 (because if I take it off during the day I'll probably forget to put it back on at night) as protection against the deer since they munched down all the Swiss chard in the bed (thanks so much for sharing your deer deterring suggestions!). I know I'd said the other day that they didn't eat any of the carrots, but a closer inspection that afternoon revealed that they had indeed nibbled on some of the tops. I'm not taking any chances.
After purposely keeping my hand out of this photo I realized that I should have kept it in, since it's a little hard to tell just what size the carrots are. These are the biggest ones I picked, and most are 2 to 3 inches long. There were also plenty of itty bitty ones in the Atomic Red row since it hadn't been thinned at all yet and was really crowded.
If you can't stand the thought of simply tossing your tiny carrot thinnings into the compost pile or feeding them to the chickens (most of mine snubbed their beaks at the tops, though the rapidly growing chicks will eat anything) and are willing to invest a few extra minutes, I think it's worth doing a 'light' thinning just to make sure they have at least a little growing room, and then going back through again when the babies have had a chance to get bigger. You can see what a size difference two weeks made.
Coming up, though, I'll be sharing a reader's tip for how to sow your carrot seeds so that no thinning is required. Cute babies or not, I'm definitely going to try it.
Have you ever grown (or eaten) red carrots? Were they red all the way through?
© Copyright 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the crazy about carrots foodie farm blog where these little babies were almost too cute to eat. Almost.