The Sweetest Carrots: August Seeding, March Harvest

Some years when I plant carrot seeds in late August, I feel like a chump. Once again, irrational hope has triumphed over the certainty that Bad Things will happen to those carrots over the winter.

over-wintered carrots in spring

over-wintered carrots in spring

Still, I protect the young shoots with hoops and row cover in October, then heap straw over them as winter hits hard. When a big storm comes through and lays waste to the row cover, I think, ah well – the frost will get them, or the voles.

But every now and then, the first day of spring comes and I know all over again that hope is bred-in-the-bone for a very good reason, and that reason is why I garden.

I LOVE to EAT.

These, btw, are Scarlet Nantes and White Satin carrots. Survivors of winter, 2012-2013. And sweet as Tupelo honey.

Starting Seeds

French Breakfast Radishes

French Breakfast Radishes

Though there’s the tail-end of a nasty winter storm howling outside my window, my imagination has been deep in summer. I’ve been sowing seeds like crazy this week – the peppers that I’ll plant in May into my unheated greenhouse, the onions and other alliums, like leeks and shallots, that can go into the garden before the last frost is over, and flowers that need a long head start, like pansies, and those that need to spend some time in the refrigerator before planting, like delphinium.

I’ve even been out in my cold greenhouse planting seedlings I started in February, among them cold hardy lettuces such as Winter Marvel and Red Tinged Winter, the cool-loving spinaches, Tyee and Winter Bloomsdale, beautiful purple Kolibri kohlrabi and a lovely frilly mustard called Ruby Streaks. 

Ruby Streaks Mustard with Other Greens

Ruby Streaks Mustard with Other Greens

In February in the greenhouse, I direct-seeded Coral peas and Blue Pod Capucinjers, an heirloom soup pea that produces purple flowers rivaling sweet peas for beauty and perfume. I also sowed Easter Egg and French Breakfast radishes, Alpine daikon, Evergreen Hardy White scallions, among other things. Everything seems to be coming up now, except the scallions, but they can take some time to germinate.

Want to start your own seeds indoors but don’t know how? Check out my How to Start Seeds Indoors page for an illustrated primer. Need to order some seeds? Here’s a link to a list of my favorite Mail-order Seed Companies and Nurseries. To see a list of all the seeds I planted in February and so far in March, check out my Garden Calendar pages.

Lots More on Tomatoes

Bulgarian Heart Tomatoes

Bulgarian Heart

If you’d like to read more about the tomatoes in the gallery I posted today, check out this
page: Tomato Gallery. It has lots more information on some of my favorite varieties.