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Harvesting Winter Carrots

January 4th, 2011

Eliot Coleman talks about his trouble with voles in The Winter Harvest Handbook. This was the first year we’ve ever had trouble with voles, remember my sweet potatoes? They also ate a lot of my winter beets and were moving in to the carrot patch.

I was planning on leaving the carrots in the ground and harvesting them as needed, but with voles threatening our harvest we decided we should get them all out of the ground. We happened to be having our annual New Year’s sauerkraut family meal yesterday (a few days late), and I thought it would be a perfect time to harvest the carrots (since they’re growing in my mom’s garden).

My niece Hannah was thrilled to help, she wanted to save all the tiny baby carrots and the carrot tops for her guinea pig “Patches”. Every time she’d find a carrot she’d squeal and show it to me. She was super happy when she found a nice hand full of large ones.

These carrots were planted way back in August and have been waiting in the ground. We harvested a yellow one in November to see how they were growing. It was sweet and tasty, but needed to size up a bit.
We had them covered with a floating row cover to protect them from the cold, I meant to cover them with greenhouse plastic but never got around to it. They didn’t seem to mind though. We only lost about 15-20% of the crop to voles, not as bad as we thought.

We planted 10 different varieties of carrots, most from Baker Creek. Some varieties did better than others with the purple ones doing the best of all. We grew both ‘Atomic Red’ and ‘Cosmic Purple’. The ‘Muscade’ carrots did very well, other varieties included: ‘Parisienne’, ‘Little Finger’, ‘Chantenay Red’, ‘Blance a Collet Vert’, ‘St Vallery’, ‘Kind Midas’ and a few I can’t remember any more.

We ended up with a pretty decent harvest, my mom and I both got a tub full of carrots, and Miss Hannah got a HUGE container of greens for her little guinea. I’ll be pairing mine with all those potatoes I harvested this year and venison roasts from the 3 deer Mr Chiots got during hunting season. My mom will most likely do the same since she has venison in the freezer from my dad’s 2 deer.

What’s your favorite way to eat a carrot?

19 Comments to “Harvesting Winter Carrots”
  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mark mile, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: Harvesting Winter Carrots #wintergardening #harvest #carrot #growyourown […]

    Reply to Tweets that mention Harvesting Carrots in Winter | Chiot’s Run —'s comment

  2. Rene' Sharp on January 4, 2011 at 6:30 am

    What gorgeous carrots. We set up our first veggie patch in December so we are eagerly awaiting our first veggies. The lettuce are the closest to being our first eaten produce, we are going to cut off a few leaves for our salad tonight. I am really enjoying your blog!! :)

    Reply to Rene’ Sharp's comment

  3. Karina, of Project K on January 4, 2011 at 8:11 am

    These look great! I just finished my own series on winter gardening. What zone do you live in? To check put more about project k or my articles, visit

    Reply to Karina, of Project K's comment

    • Susy on January 4, 2011 at 8:58 am

      I live in a zone 5, it’s been in the 20’s during the day and in the teens at night most of the month of December with snow on the ground throughout. It just thawed a bit this weekend and all the snow melted which made it perfect for harvesting carrots!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. Emily Jenkins on January 4, 2011 at 8:35 am

    My favorite way to cook carrots is to steam them just a hit and then sauté them in a bit of balsamic vinegar. The vinegar reduces into a sweet caramelization and produces a simple but rich flavor.

    What did you think of the varieties you planted? Specifically how were the different red and purple varieties? I’m making my seed list for this year and can’t decide which carrots to plant. I love the little parisennes but I’ve never tried the other varieties you mentioned.

    Reply to Emily Jenkins's comment

    • Susy on January 4, 2011 at 8:57 am

      I’ll let you know about the varieties. I’ll be sorting them, washing, and tasting them today.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. Rhonda on January 4, 2011 at 8:47 am

    I’ve never had luck with carrots at all so I gave up on them a few years ago. Seeing those beautiful carrots though, make me want to change my mind about trying to grow them again.

    My favorite way to eat carrots, I’m sure I’ll be in the minority here, BUT … I love them pickled. :-)

    Reply to Rhonda's comment

  6. alecia on January 4, 2011 at 10:14 am

    thanks for the beautiful shot of all the yummy carrots in the bowl- I would have been overjoyed to harvest them out of my garden !! I have been eyeing all the carrot varieties trying to figure out which to plant- my first time to grow them. I like them steamed, raw, grated for cooking, and love them in stir frys. Not tried them pickled. Their colors just make a meal more vibrant-as well as tasty.

    I am very eager to hear your commentary on how they taste… so please don’t wait to let us know.

    Tickled that your niece is excited about helping harvest for her critter- so cute!!!

    Reply to alecia's comment

  7. Sense of Home on January 4, 2011 at 10:20 am

    We love to eat them fresh. I have a handful left in my refrigerator from the summer garden, we have been savoring them. I have used them with roasts and stews and a few have been used in baking. I haven’t tried planting the purple variety, perhaps this coming summer.


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  8. annie on January 4, 2011 at 11:07 am

    I like to eat them fresh with blue cheese dip but I also add them to almost anything I’m cooking… meatloaf, quesadillas, pizza…

    How is that agribon row cover working for you? Are you getting the degree of frost protection that you expected? I’ve considered getting some (we’re not nearly as cold but if I could grow tomatoes through winter that would be nice).

    I primarily grow shin kuroda 5″ from Baker Creek although each year I try a few other varieties. Nothing grows as well for me as shin kuroda though.

    Reply to annie's comment

    • Susy on January 4, 2011 at 6:45 pm

      The agribon is nice, this was actually thinner than I expected. This lighter stuff will make a nice inner cover under greenhouse plastic for leeks and other veggies. For winter growing the greenhouse plastic is best as it retains much more heat. I actually had a heavier frost blanket row cover on the carrots during the really cold weather, but it did better than expected.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Michele on January 4, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Those carrots are beautiful! When we had outdoor cats, we had no voles. ;) I worry now that the cats are inside…

    Reply to Michele's comment

  10. Marcia on January 4, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Well, apart from eating it directly from the garden after a quick rub on my pant leg, I love them steamed then tossed with butter and fennel seeds. Especially good as a side dish to curried lamb.

    Reply to Marcia's comment

  11. Sincerely, Emily on January 4, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Your carrots look wonderful. I have some in the ground right now, but they don’t look like they are developing very well. I love eating carrots fresh with homemade hummus or roasted with onions.

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

  12. Jackie on January 4, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    So glad to hear that you l liked Muscade and Cosmic Purple carrots…I just put in an order for these with Baker Creek last night! Their catalog was amazing this year!

    Reply to Jackie's comment

  13. Marvel on January 4, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Your carrots are grand! We like ’em sweet, so I steam ’em a bit, then add toasted almonds and finish with a dash of cumin, cinnamon, pat of butter and a splash of OJ.

    Reply to Marvel's comment

  14. debbie~auen on January 4, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Wow….What a beautiful picture of carrots.Looks like they did great:)Hannah looks like a big help!Lucky guniea should be well fed.

    Reply to debbie~auen's comment

  15. Sheila Z on January 5, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Carrot cake. I want some now!

    Reply to Sheila Z's comment

  16. Melissa on January 5, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Those Cosmic Purple carrots are absolutely stunning! We’ve been eating a lot of venison around here lately, too. Sausage to go with our eggs (I’m thrilled that our girls are still producing nicely in the cold – we have a heat lamp) for breakfast and venison stew for supper… life is good!

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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