Extending the season for harvesting fresh vegetables from your garden is a great way to provide fresh produce for the table. Erica recently wrote about harvesting fresh leeks and I’ve recently written about extending the season for broccoli and kale using low tunnels. To see a video on building low tunnels click here. For season extension of above ground green vegetables, just substitute a plastic covering for the spun bound polyester row cover shown in the video.
Root crops grown in the late fall can be left in the ground and dug as needed. Carrots, beets, potatoes and other root vegetables grown in the fall are all good candidates for in ground storage until needed in the kitchen. These pictures show Mary harvesting Nantes carrots just prior to the ground freezing over the last week.
As you can see, Mary has a handful of beautiful carrots for the dinner table.
While these carrots were harvested prior to the ground freezing, it’s very easy to protect root vegetables from freezing in the ground. Simply cover the area where the root vegetables are being grown with 3 to 4 inches of loose mulch (I find straw is best) to insulate the ground from freezing. When you want something fresh for the table, simply remove the straw and dig the root vegetables. I use this technique for my fall potatoes, carrots and beets. Think of it as a root cellar that you don’t have to build.