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Overwintering Carrots for harvest in early summer?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Has anyone done this?

I don't mean pulling them during the winter, I mean leaving little ones to grow and pulling them in the spring once they've grown/are bigger.  I planted my carrots too late this summer, and most of them are 1/2 inch long, certainly not worth harvesting. 

Last year the same thing happened to many of my parsnips, and I pulled most of them and composted them.  I accidentally left a couple very small ones, and they sprouted back and grew this summer.  I didn't have the heart to weed them, and pulled them today thinking I'd just compost them (I'd read that parsnips need to be harvested before their second summer, or they'll go to seed, and one of them did flower).  They are gorgeous, regular parsnips!!  Far larger than any from last year. 

So, I'm wondering - some of my little carrots came back too (from last year), and I had pulled them up when they flowered in July or so.  So I know that even though the tops die down, they'll come back; and wondering whether since these are so very small, they might just think next spring/summer is their "first" year, and I might be able to harvest some good carrots in June sometime?  I've read that carrots will develop a soapy flavor and go to seed their second year, and aren't any good.  But I'm wondering whether that would be the case with such small carrots....

I am in Zone 4, if that's any help.  I'm thinking I'll give this a shot (leave them in the garden) and see what happens in the spring. 

Has anyone tried this? 


post #2 of 7

I'm considering this with my beets, but haven't tried it before (sorry, not much help!).

post #3 of 7

I think it's worth a try.  When did you plant them?  The problem, as you noted, is that they will start flowering.  Once they send up that flower stalk they get really woody, especially the center, and aren't very good eating.  As long as you are able to dig them before they bloom, they should be great.  I feel like carrots might not be as hardy as parsnips, so maybe a good layer of straw after the ground freezes would be a good idea.


Beets are the same way -- they will bloom if you leave them too long, but you can grow them into the second season.


You can sow parsnips in the fall and harvest them the next fall, or sow them in the spring for harvest the following spring -- 12 months from seed shouldn't have them blooming yet.

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

I planted carrots in early June sometime .... I've decided they will NOT be big unless I plant them early.  We'll see what happens next spring....?  I'm leaving them in.  Will try to remember to report back. 

post #5 of 7

If you've mulched them a bit through the bitter cold, yeah, you should be golden.  I'm in a chilly zone 5.  I've planted carrots in July/early August (you get *amazing* germination because of the usual heat!), they grow, snow mulched 'em, and I'd go start digging some up in March/April.  Sometimes digging under the snow, sometimes when the ground thaws for a few days.  Just have to watch them because they will start bolting/setting seed that second year (aka, after the cold/snow) and will stop growing the root and start growing the giant leafy top (which my kids have loved watching).  But you'll get a good 1-2 month grace period where it'll still be too chilly for the carrots to bother setting seed.

post #6 of 7

So, I just went out to the garden and pulled up a beet, thinking to finally getting around to cleaning out the garden (ahem) and my beet was a regular beet! It was planted the same time as my other beets for fall eating and was the same size as the others I pulled in october/november/december. Tasted fine.



post #7 of 7

Um, are you in a place where they are growing this time of year?  The thing is that they will eventually start to bolt (bloom) and they will get woody and not good for eating at that time.  It just depends on what the climate is like as to when that happens.  If your winters are too cold, they will freeze -- here, there is no way to get a beet out of the ground right now -- frozen solid.

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