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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?

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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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