Saturday, November 12, 2011
Cold Season Carrots
This is just another post I've been meaning to write - The other week, I pulled the remainder of this year's carrots, mainly because the field mice were beginning to feast on them. Growing my carrots in taller raised beds seems to deter them a bit but not completely. Last year, I lost all of my fall and winter carrots to them, which is a shame since the year before, I was still pulling extra-sweet carrots from the garden well into January. With a bit of protection in the form of floating fabric and plastic row covering, they store very well in the garden in our Zone 6 winters. The soil tends to freeze solid at night but the added heat provided by the protective covering during the day defrosts it just enough so that you can still access them, even when the outdoor temperature never goes above 32 degrees F. Generally, they'll keep well until about early February, at which point our mid-winter thaws will encourage the plant to send out new lateral white roots.
The most annoying thing about field mice is the fact that they tend to nibble at the tops and then work their way down. Usually, you'll end up with a large percentage of carrots that look like this. Commercial farmers must go crazy when they see this. Sometimes, I'll just cut off the tops and save the rest of root if the damage isn't too bad. I doubt most farmers market customers would go for that.
My winter carrots could have used a few more weeks to size up fully. Oh well. These baby carrots are wonderful roasted whole.