There are many vegetables and fruit that must be picked and dealt with almost immediately or they will lose quality, such as tomatoes, which must be eaten or processed.Warm season vegetables will not survive even a light frost because they get partially or totally frozen and decay begins almost immediately.Michigan State Extension offers the following suggestions on how to get more mileage out of your garden’s root crops and greens.Root crops like carrots, turnips, beets, rutabagas and parsnips can remain in the garden after a frost and still be removed in good condition later, but get them dug and stored before the ground freezes.If potatoes remain on the soil surface in the sun, they start turning green.So dig and remove the potatoes to a dry, warm area out of the sun to begin the process of letting the skin toughen up for storage.Add some shredded carrots or sweet peppers for a colorful side dish.Smart gardeners know the satisfaction of eating and enjoying the products of their summer’s work. .
How long can you leave carrots in the ground?
ANSWER: You can begin harvesting carrots as soon as they are of size and sweet enough to eat, but how long you should leave them in the ground depends on the season you are growing them.If the ground freezes in your area, make sure to pull up all the carrots in your garden soon after the first heavy frost, unless you plan to protect them from the cold. .
Warning: These Vegetables Will Not Survive a Frost
When you know and understand the concept of frost tolerant vegetables you can save yourself from the very traumatic experience of going out to your garden to find a bed full of dead plants.By late May my climate has settled into pretty stable nighttime temperatures and we rarely get a frost after the third week of May.At the end of the summer as fall approaches, the same temperature fluctuations start up again and eventually our first frost will arrive, usually around the beginning of October.If you make this mistake and plant too early you might come out to your garden one morning to find a bunch of dead seedlings that have been killed by cold weather.In contrast, at the end of the season as fall approaches, many of our hot weather crops like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are large and robust and are pumping out lots of fruit for our dinner tables.But, as your garden approaches your average first frost date, there’s a high likelihood that a night will arrive where the temperature falls to 32 F.In fact, some of them, like arugula, cilantro, and spinach prefer being planted in early spring because they grow better in cooler weather.Even though these vegetables are frost hardy, you should wait to plant them if a big snowstorm or extremely cold weather is in the forecast.In the fall, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how well the frost tolerant vegetables are doing as the nighttime temperatures start decreasing.As you’ll see in the lists below, once the temperatures dip into the lower 20’s and teens F, most of the plants will eventually die without the added protection of row covers, cold frames, and low tunnels.Vegetables that can withstand a light freeze/frost (28—32 F): Bok choy Cauliflower Celery Chinese Cabbage Lettuce (depends on variety) Peas. .
Vegetables that taste better after a frost: Niki's handy cheat sheet!
In fact, I don’t even start to harvest my late kale crop until it’s been sweetened by a few frosts.To prolong the harvest season of these cold season superstars, protect your autumn vegetable beds with mini hoop tunnels or row covers.Initially, they are covered with a medium weight row cover, but if we plan on harvesting into winter, the fabric is topped with a sheet of greenhouse plastic in late November.Depending on the crop, you can extend the harvest by weeks or months with these simple devices.For detailed instructions on building and using mini hoop tunnels and other season extending devices, please check out my book, The Year Round Vegetable Gardener. .
Carrot Harvest and Store Tips
Carrots are ready for harvest 60 to 90 days after sowing depending upon the variety; they will continue to grow and enlarge if you leave them in the ground–but they usually do not get tastier and may get bitter.• Carrots grown for fall and winter harvest can be left in the ground until you are ready to use them.Spot check and sample your crop every few days; harvest if the heat causes sweetness to subside.• The best time of day to lift carrots is in the late afternoon or early evening when sugar in the roots is concentrated.Harvest carrots when they develop their color and the tops are 1 inch in diameter or smaller.Placing carrots in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator creates a cold and moist environment.If carrots stay in the ground all winter, harvest them before new top growth starts in spring.Store carrots in a root cellar or basement or in a garage where the temperature is about 32°-38°F during the winter; store roots in a bucket or wooden box filled with either sand, peat moss, or sawdust; pack the roots so that they are standing upright or vertical and insulated and covered and do not touch one another; some moist air must be able to circulate so don’t completely seal the container. .
Growing Carrots Year-Round: A Strategy for Success
Growing carrots successfully can be a challenge, but they offer sweet rewards for a job well done.Since this activity will not damage the carrot crop, I prefer to let the caterpillars do their thing and be rewarded with lots of visiting butterflies!Because carrots like deep, loose soil a raised bed or planter can work well.This means that you will have to run your own experiments to see which carrot varieties work best for your climate and soil type.Carrots need warm temperatures in order for the seeds to germinate—around 70 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer.However, carrots need cool temperatures for developing sweet, fat roots—around 40 degrees F.To follow this method, you’ll need at lease 4-5 rows of dedicated gardening space.Note: The window for sowing seeds in your garden will vary depending on your growing zone.To get an idea of your unique sowing and growing window, get my downloadable Seedstarting & Planting Worksheet as a free bonus when you purchase my book, The Suburban Micro-Farm: Modern Solutions for Busy People.When I sow my first carrot seeds of the year in March, I know that I have 3-4 months before I will get my first harvest.Remember that carrots are slow to germinate and get growing in the cold spring soil.This means that my first harvest of homegrown carrots won’t be until June orJuly.You can help your carrots along by using row cover or a cold frame to keep the germinating seedlings warm (and growing faster) in those cool months.If you use a season extension method like row cover or a cold frame, be sure to open it on days when the interior temperature is above 70 degrees.Harvest half of the carrots, and mulch the rest well to help insulate them over the winter.This will reduce the chance of the soil freezing solid, so you can continue harvesting right through winter.As an example, here in USDA hardiness zone 6a, I can harvest at least until January using these techniques, and sometimes throughout the entire winter and early spring if it’s mild enough. .
How to Store the Carrots You Just Picked From Your Garden
From their extended and intermittent germination period to the tedious processes of weeding and thinning, it’s easy to wonder if they’re worth the effort.Garden-fresh carrots, especially the summer planted crop harvested after a light frost, have a fullness of flavor and crispy sweetness that far surpasses that of their grocery store counterparts.If you want to fully reap the rewards of a delicious crop, you’ll need to know how to store carrots from the garden.Fully mature, storage-ready carrots have a blunted or slightly rounded tip and well developed flavor.Insert the blade in the ground vertically, as deeply as it will go, a few inches away from the carrots, and gently rock it backward and forward.Step 3: Remove the foliage immediately, one-quarter to one-half inch above the crown of the root, and rub off any excess soil.Step 4: There’s no need to wash the carrots at this point, and in fact doing so could lead to damage that may worsen during storage.If you have a large crop that won’t fit in the refrigerator, and an unheated garage, basement, or shed that stays between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you could store your carrots and other root veggies in sand.In areas where the soil remains well above freezing, root quality will decline over winter, so this method is not really viable.In cool climates, where soil temperatures hold near or slightly above freezing, carrots can remain in the ground through the winter with no additional protection.Step 1: Before the ground freezes, insulate the bed with 12 to 18 inches of straw or fallen leaves.Observe proper care in the way you harvest and clean and store your carrots, as this will affect their storage quality. .
From Seed to Harvest: A beginner's guide to growing carrots
Other than the typical orange, carrots can be found in red, white, rainbow and purple colors.Applying manure before planting seeds can cause carrots to shoot out roots from their bodies.Instead of pulling out the plants, snip the tops with scissors to not damage nearby roots. .