Garden Friday – Parsnips and Carrots for Winter

Garden Friday is a regularly scheduled feature on Our Mother’s Keeper.  Growing your own food, no matter the scale, helps both the pocketbook and the environment.  We anticipate that this space can be one that provides inspiration and answers questions regarding the planing, harvesting, and consumption of edible gardens.  Because gardening is very dependent upon your climate, please make sure you identify your general region (Wasatch Front, arid SW, Pacific NW, coastal, etc) when asking questions.

It always seems strange to plant my winter produce before the summer is hardly going.  Last Saturday, I planted 25-row feet (in beds) of carrots and parsnips.  1/3 parsnips which taste much better after the first hard freeze; 1/3 carrots that will overwinter; and 1/3 are 100-day carrots that should be ready for fall.

Carrots need fine soil to send down their main root in a straight fashion.  I spent a good 2 hours double digging the bed and adding compost.   Other carrot tricks include planting radishes in the rows to mark them since carrots and parsnips take forever (2 weeks usually) to germinate; indeed, half the battle with winter carrots is getting them germinated which takes going out every day and keeping the shallow seeds moist.  Amazingly difficult.

How about you – Do you have a carrot system you would like to share?  Do you put in overwintering root veggies? What else is going on in your garden?



6 responses to “Garden Friday – Parsnips and Carrots for Winter

  1. laelyn June 24, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    I can’t stand parsnips but love carrots. I’ve heard that if you cover your carrots with newspaper until they are up about 1/2-1″ it keeps them from drying out. My garden is in my front yard this year so am not sure how the newspaper will go over. Bugs have eaten almost every single one of my cucumber plants, right down to a nub! Suggestions?
    Also, just a suggestion for a future garden post, compost bins: how to get them to work effectively in Utah. Mine is a failure. Thanks!

  2. Steve June 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Spinkle grass clippings thinly (literally a clipping or two thick) over the area you seed. It retains moisture and helps germination. Warning: If you do it too thick, nothing will come up.

  3. Nicole I June 27, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Steve and Laelyn – thanks for the tips. This year I covered the tiny furrows with a finely sifted compost. It must have worked because I went out there today to see the start of little seedlings – just 9 days out! Hurray! Now I just have to be diligent about keeping the chickens out of the front yard; they love scratching around in that soft dirt!

    Laelyn – I’ll forward your compost request to Utah folks. Can you tell us a bit more about your system so we can help troubleshoot it?

  4. Pingback: Manly carrot | Daria's World – blog about things that deserve my attention because they make me smile

  5. Jennifer Ward-Pelar November 17, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Why do you plant your carrots so early? Does it help them? I didn’t plant mine until September. But I’m in the deep south. I had no idea you could even plant carrots that early! How’d they turn out?

  6. Pingback: Harvesting fall veggies | Attempting zero waste lifestyle in a military household

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