Even though though there’s 18 inches of snow covering the ground right now, I just harvested two 5-gallon buckets of carrots.
I don’t have a good excuse for not harvesting them last fall. I just didn’t ever get around to it before the snow fell. The idea to check on them popped into my head about two weeks ago when I was out scraping the poopsicles from the chicken coop. I took advantage of my last 15 minutes of daylight and grabbed a trowel. It actually took me a couple of minutes to figure out where the carrot patch was. (I did not want to accidentally dig up my garlic, which was planted right by the carrots.)
I cleared away about a square foot of snow and found some mashed and mangled carrot tops, still green. I tried the trowel in the dirt, fully expecting it to be frozen solid. But surprisingly enough, it slid right into the earth. The snow cover kept the dirt insulated enough to keep the raised beds from freezing solid this year. (This has not always been the case.) It probably also didn’t hurt that I had amended the soil extra well with compost and peat moss, so it was super light and fluffy. I was able to pull out about a dozen carrots with some effort. Many of them broke- the trowel wasn’t long enough, and my square foot hole just wasn’t big enough for me to really get in there. I carefully covered the hole back over with snow, so that the other carrots would still be nice and cozy until I had time to come back and get them.
I brought the carrots inside and tasted a few, and they were great. Not soft. Not bitter. Plenty of flavor.
And today, finally, the perfect trifecta of time, warm weather (40 degrees and sort of sunny!), and Mr. Dig watching the kids manifested itself, giving me the opportunity to harvest the rest.
Unfortunately, my camera battery ran out in the middle of the harvest, so these are the only 2 pictures I was able to take, but I describe the steps below.
Step 1: Shovel off a ton of snow and pile it somewhere.
Step 2: Stick your pitchfork in the dirt, lift, and turn over. Then start grabbing for orange.
Step 3: Get yourself and all your tools really muddy.
Step 4: Repeat for the 2nd bed of carrots you almost forgot about.
Step 5: Shovel snow back on top of dirt.
Step 6: Sort carrots by size/condition, rub off as much dirt as you can, and store in buckets of shredded newspaper in the garage.
Step 7: Peel off all your muddy clothes and grab a hot cup of tea before the kids wake up from their naps.
I don’t know how many pounds of carrots I harvested, but it was probably in the range of 100 carrots total, ranging in diameter from half an inch all the way up to 3 inches. The majority were about 1 inch thick.
Hope you had a nice holiday weekend!