Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's About Time We Ate Those Carrots!

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.
Then autumn came. You know how it is - that time of year brings with it so many yard and garden tasks that sometimes you run out of the time or energy to do them. Sometimes you just forget. Other times, you put them off because you know you can. That's what happened to our carrots.

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...

Just sayin'.

*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.


meemsnyc said...

Oh wow! I had no idea you could do that! The carrots are sweeter! Wow, I'll have to try that experiment! Totally awesome.

Shaunna said...

That's very cool!
I've been experimenting with gardening (as I never had one when I was young, and am trying to learn now), and I've never heard of that. Where did you find how deep to bury in mulch and such (I'm in Winnipeg, I'm not even sure what zone I'm in since it changes from american standards to canadian standards :s)


Peg Wiggins said...

Just the way Grandpa used to do it!

Kylee, I've not been able to visit your blog in awhile; and was so surprised to see that you'd re-decorated the place. Very nice!

I've been subscribed to email of posts; but today they arrived in a different format. No pictures to look at. But rather titles with links that led me here.

Barbee' said...

I didn't know you could do that! Oh! I can just taste them: cold, crunchy, and sweet!

Kylee Baumle said...

meemsnyc ~ Definitely sweeter!

Shaunna ~ I don't remember where I read that about the mulch. I'm in zone 5 and according to the USDA chart, Winnipeg is in Zone 3A. That's COLD!

Peg ~ Yes, I shortened my feed, so you now have to click on the title to read the whole thing. Glad you like the new look on the blog! I wasn't sure about it. Thanks for being a subscriber! :-)

Barbee' ~ I don't like them raw, so mine aren't crunchy, but my husband likes them like that. He said they're really good raw, too!

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