We’re a week into January (as in, the middle of winter), and I just harvested the very last of the carrots from my garden. Harvesting carrots in January is awesome.
I probably wouldn’t have these extra-sweet winter carrots (exposing some veggies to frost—including carrots—actually makes them sweeter) if it weren’t for my dedication to succession sowing. This technique simply means sowing a crop not all at once, but in succession. I planted carrot seeds about five different times during 2012. I planted some in really early spring (those didn’t make it for some reason—I think because of heavy rains right after planting), in early spring, in mid-spring, in later summer, and in fall. Some I harvested young, and some I left in the ground longer. All in all, I had carrots ready to harvest at multiple times throughout the year.
I highly recommend succession sowing. Anytime a space opens up in your garden, for the love of all things holy, plant something else there. Use every square-inch of your space strategically to get the most food out of your soil.
Now, admittedly, these carrots aren’t gigantic. Someone (deer, rabbits, I’m looking at you) munched much of their tops off several weeks ago, stunting their growth. But they are beautiful. The burgundy-skinned ones are called “Cosmic Purple,” a variety available from Botanical Interests seed company. Also: January. (I love you and your mild ways, Pacific Northwest.)
Aside from taking advantage of a mild climate, you can achieve a four-season harvest by growing crops under season-extension helpers such as cold frames, row covers, or a hoop house.
If you garden, did you keep anything growing past the “typical” gardening season? Are you still harvesting anything right now? If so, I’d love to hear about it! But right now, I’m going to go eat some carrots while dinner is still in the oven ...