We planted carrot seeds last spring, at our usual time. They grew, I thinned them (man, I hate doing that!), and when they were ready, we dug them and ate them. Then in the middle of summer, we planted a second crop. That time, we sowed a mixture of golden and traditional orange carrots.
|Carrots huddle together to keep warm|
in winter, too.
I'd heard that you can leave root crops in the ground even after the ground freezes and that doing so sweetens the flavor. The longer they grow, the higher the sugar content, which also helps protect them from freezing too much. I decided to put that to the test.
It's spring now, and we dug the first of last summer's carrots this afternoon. They were firm and snappy and once I cleaned and cooked them, it was time to see whether they truly are sweeter after freezing. In a word...
Other root crops that can benefit from leaving in the ground during cold weather are parsnips, turnips and beets. I'm not advocating being lazy in the fall, but if they'll taste better...
*It's recommended that you mulch root crops heavily if you intend to keep them in the ground all winter, leaving the green leafy tops exposed. We didn't mulch as much as recommended (up to a foot in zone 5!), but we did put a layer of leaves over the entire garden. We had good snow cover for most of the winter, too, which no doubt helped protect them.