It’s true. The best carrots ever come from the winter garden in my greenhouse. Trust me. I just picked one. I’m eating it right now.
For years, I’ve heard how wonderful winter-harvested carrots taste. Since my sources were level-headed, reliable people, I believed them despite my own frustrating attempts to grow decent carrots in any season. I carried within me a grain of hope that someday I, too, would experience the glories of a freshly picked carrot, crisp and cold, in my own garden.
Happily, I’ve had a lot of those ‘somedays’ this winter. The small, experimental patch of carrots I planted in the big hoophouse the last week of September has yielded a steady crop of snacks since early January. I planted a pelleted Nantes type in two sections, and the regular seed of the Purple Dragon variety in two short rows of another section. When the temperatures in the unheated hoophouse dropped into the 20s (Fahrenheit), I added a floating row cover over all the growing beds. The Nantes type has yielded better than the Purple Dragon, and the rows in the center of the greenhouse have done much better than the one along the edge where it’s often colder. Those hardy edge-dwellers have nice looking tops, but the root growth has been much slower. I’m hoping they’ll speed up now that the weather’s warming up.
I have carrot envy. I pulled one Sunday and it wasn’t quite as big around as a pencil. They’re growing now but not fast enough to suit me.