Did you know you can use your garden as a root cellar in the winter? Well I didn't, not until this last year, but when fall hit my husband was complaining to his grandmother that we had a bumper crop of carrots we were never going to get through. "Just cover them up with leaves and leave them in the garden over winter," she said, "And you can harvest them in the spring." Honestly we both couldn't believe this was going to work, but the woman did grow up on a working homestead/farm and we had so many carrots we decided to take her word for it. One day while we were raking leaves we just threw a couple of huge arm fulls about six inches deep over the carrots that were still in the ground unharvested. The snows came and I completely forgot about them while we hunkered down for winter. Last week when it was about 45 degrees and spring was on the doorstep we went out to check on the carrots. I was hoping the ground had warmed enough that we wouldn't be digging in frozen dirt. We pushed back the frozen leaves and snow mess and found we could just see the former green steams, brown, gross, and shriveled. I started to think it hadn't worked but then G bear worked one of the carrots out. The root was perfect!!!! We got to digging and harvested the whole bunch. In the end we had two gallon sized bags of beautiful homegrown organic carrots at the very tail end of winter/beginning of spring. I have always enjoyed eating the fruits of my garden labors and this just opened up a whole bunch of new gardening possibilities for me! Other crops you can supposedly mulch to save through the winter, beets, parsnips, turnips, celery, rutabagas, cabbages, leeks, kale, and spinach. You had better believe I'm going to be trying other stuff this winter. If you live in a super cold area you will want to add a little extra dirt before you mulch, and then maybe up to a foot of dried leaves. If you live in a warmer area you won't need as much mulch. Straw can be used if you don't have access to leaves. We have raised garden boxes and this still worked.
A few of my carrots pulled out in the snow waiting to be washed.
My little helper eating dirty snow and chewing on carrots.