Often, home gardeners have no interest in letting their carrots continue to grow in the ground for a second year. This is because, in the first year, the carrot will produce edible roots, and in the second year, it will produce seeds. During this phase of growth, the plants become quite bitter. However, in the right conditions, carrots can overwinter in your garden. The roots will regenerate in the spring, and the seeds will grow to maturity. However, if you want to enjoy carrots through the winter, you need to follow these tips.
Before planting your carrots, you need to ensure that the soil is free of stone and clay. In addition, you should be sure that you have well-rotted compost in your bed. The carrots will be much easier to harvest when they are in good soil. This is also important, because carrots are sensitive to disturbance. In addition, your carrots may be affected by nematodes, microscopic worms. These worms can cause a deformed root system.
Once your carrots are in the ground, they will grow to maturity in 50 to 85 days. Once they are mature, you can begin harvesting them. If you harvest them before a hard frost, they will be easier to harvest. However, if you harvest them after a hard frost, they will be bitter. If you store your carrots, they should be free of leaves. These leaves will reduce the sweetness of the carrots. If you harvest them after a light frost, you may be able to eat them, but you’ll need to be sure to check on them regularly for pests.
After harvesting, carrots should be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator or root cellar. If you choose to store them in a container, the root system should be well mulched. If you’re storing carrots in the ground, you can use damp sawdust or damp sand to cover the roots. You’ll want to leave a one-inch stem for storage.
If you’re harvesting carrots in the fall, it is best to remove them before a hard frost. However, if you leave them in the ground, they will set seed and grow in the spring. If you leave them in the ground too long, they may split. However, this isn’t typical. Carrots will split only if they’re left in the ground for an extended period of time.
If you are planting carrots for the first time, you may want to plant them in the fall. This is a good way to jumpstart your growing season. Carrots can also overwinter in your garden if you keep the temperature below 59degF. You’ll also need to make sure that your plants have enough space to grow. If you have enough space, you can plant your carrots about 3 feet apart.
Carrots are biennials, meaning they produce roots and leaves in the first year, and then flower and set seeds in the second year. This process is triggered by a cold period called vernalization.