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Carrots in January

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I've always enjoyed gardening and feeding my family with the produce. It's a bit depressing in the summer when the spring crops bolt, and in the fall when the first frost nips the garden.

In northern Michigan, my grandfather employed a variety of tricks to extend the growing season. Here is one tip for "fresh-from-the-garden" carrots in January or February:

Some time after Labor Day, plant an area (row or square, whatever your style) with your favorite carrot seed (tip shade with cheesecloth or old window screens, if you are still having warm weather).

Once the seeds sprout, cover the area with a light layer of straw. As the seedlings grow, add another light layer of straw. When you are expecting the first hard frost, add another light layer of straw. By the time of the first snowfall you should have a layer of straw foot or more thick. Be sure to mark the area, so you can find it when the snow piles up. Harvest by clearing the snow only over the few carrots you want to dig. Gently move aside the straw, and dig the carrots with a potato fork. Replace the straw and cover again with snow.

I have many memories of bundling up and going out to the garden with grandpa, potato fork in hand, to "bring in the harvest" of various root crops. I suppose this is tip let your garden produce more than fruits and vegetables. Garden with someone your garden will produce shared memories as well.

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