It is very cold today in Kentucky. It was only 14 degrees when I woke up this morning. This weekend was much warmer though. On Saturday it was in the 50's, so the whole family got outside for some much needed sunshine and fresh air. We cleaned up fallen branches and moved some lumber that we use for our garden beds. We also measured out the spots where we will enlarge the garden this year.
While inspecting the existing garden area, my daughter found several carrots left over from last summer still in the ground. There were no tops left and we had weeded the entire bed when we pulled up the existing plants last fall. I'm not sure how they were missed, but there they were. We pulled them up and they looked okay - no insect damage or signs of rot.
I have been reading Eliot Coleman’s Four-Season Harvest, and in it he writes about planting carrots in the fall and leaving them "stored" right there in the ground ready for harvest all winter long. Our carrots were planted in early summer, so we weren't sure if they would still taste good. We were curious if they would taste alright but nobody wanted to try them. What we needed was a guinea pig or two to be the first to eat them.
So we fed some to our resident guinea pigs, Fizzy and Sammy who loved them! I then tried one and it wasn't bad. It wasn't at peak flavor, but it tasted good enough for me to believe Eliot Coleman is right about planting late carrots for winter eating.
As for Fizzy and Sammy, they actually acted more excited eating these carrots than they do when we give them store-bought carrots. It has been a while now since they got to eat any fresh produce actually grown in our garden. Come to think of it, it has been too long now since WE have eaten fresh from the garden.
I am going to try to implement some of Eliot Coleman's ideas this year to keep us eating from the garden longer. According to Eliot, we should be able to Harvest year round! That sounds good, doesn't it?!