For me, farm work doesn’t fully stop until there is snow on the ground. There are always loose ends to tie up, flower beds to clean up, leaves to rake…the list could go on and on. Snow or freezing weather is Nature’s way of telling me when I should stay inside. Last week, we finally got some much-needed rain and hopefully (if I cross my fingers tight enough), more will come this week. Honestly, I was worried I would have to start watering my shrubs and plants (even the established ones) since it is never smart to let plants freeze in the ground when they are dry. Thankfully I will not have to freeze while running around with a hose!
Mom always says carrots are sweeter when they are let in the ground through a couple hard freezes. Obviously they can’t be left in the ground as it starts to freeze. But for a while, as the temperatures drop to around 30 degrees, they will be fine. Whether this actually affects the sweetness or not is hard to tell. But it seems that whatever our mothers say and do, we always think is best. For some time, the nights have been getting below freezing and the recent rains softened the ground enough that it was time to dig up all the carrots.
I planted traditional and purple varieties this year. I think the purple also have an extra sweetness.
After digging them up and cutting the tops and ends off, I will clean and store them in the refrigerator. Home-grown carrots are different than the ones in grocery stores. They will not always be perfect sizes or shapes. They can be more crisp and firm and they also keep for a longer time. I am excited to make fresh carrot juice, pickled carrots, carrot cake, and to just eat them! This has been a good year for the carrots and winter squash I planted (butternut and acorn), for which I am thankful!
The carrots were the last items to come out of the garden, leaving the beds ready to be turned over for the winter. Before winter sets it, rototilling the soil in your garden is a good idea. Turning the soil redistributes the nutrients and allows air and moisture to soak in during the winter. Additionally, tilling in the fall allows for easier tilling in the spring. So always be thinking ahead to the next season so the work will be quicker and easier.
After the hard freezes we’ve had, I have also been able to plant tulip and daffodil bulbs. Waiting to plant until colder weather ensures that the bulbs will not try to sprout this fall but will wait for spring. For tips on planting bulbs, be sure to check out our guide Keep Thinking Ahead. I am always excited as I put the bulbs in the ground thinking of the gorgeous flowers I will be greeted with as the snow melts – always a welcomed sight!
I took in all the outdoor furniture from the patios and porches so the harsh winter elements wouldn’t deteriorate them. The furniture is packed away in the maintenance shed leaving many areas in the yard looking bare!
I hope you are enjoying this spectacular fall we are having and have been able to use fall produce. Even if you don’t grow it, try the local markets and see what they have. Personally, I keep making my favorite butternut squash soup – perfect for these fall evenings!
Happy fall everyone!
[hr]Images by The Gray Boxwood[divider]