Sunday, December 7, 2008

Reconnaissance


Who would have thought that I'd be doing any gardening on a day like this? We have over a foot and a half of fresh snow on the ground, the winds are gusting to 30 mph, and the lake effect snow just keeps coming. As of right now we've had 62 inches of snow at the house this season. I know we live in one of the snowiest places in the East, but for the past few years, the snowfall before Christmas has been nominal. Barely memorable. I figured this year would be similar.

So, I left a couple rows of carrots in the garden through the Fall. I read somewhere a description by a gardener of "the sweetest carrots we'd ever eaten." I wanted that. She had planted carrots late, insulated them with straw, and then harvested them throughout the winter. I decided to plant some late summer carrots that would mature just before the frosts came. I insulated them and figured that I would visit the garden whenever I needed a few, probably up until Christmas.

I didn't think much of it when it snowed October 29th. Two weeks later we had a foot of heavy snow, and in the commotion of getting the snowblower running and clearing the driveway, I forgot all about the carrots. They were buried. I knew, at least, they wouldn't freeze. I got a little complacent waiting for the next big meltdown that would clear the snow. Around mid-November there seemed to be a trend to this snowfall. I figured I'd better get out there and rescue the carrots. We had a few warmer days last week and only about half of the ground was snow-covered. I meant to get out there and dig before these latest 2 feet fell. But I didn't.

This morning, I followed the deer tracks out to the garden with my pitch fork and snow shovel in hand. I also carried a bucket to put the carrots in when I found them. I started digging around the dried-up dill skeleton, and I reached the floating row cover that was no longer floating. When I pulled up the cloth I discovered tiny radish sprouts (my optimistic attempt at late season veggies). Dang. The carrots were here somewhere... right?

I eventually moved enough snow to get my bearings. I pulled up the cloth and found the carrots. It was a little disorienting to smell the soil and the sharp carrot scent. I had planned on finding 20 or so carrots, but instead discovered over 12 pounds of them. My bucket filled up quickly and I had to pile the rest in the snow shovel. After I was confident I'd gotten them all, I pulled the snow back down onto the soil. I'd upturned some worms and other fragile, freezable things. I went inside and washed them all in the kitchen sink.

They are, in fact, quite good. Probably the best carrots I've eaten. I brought in the rest of the potatoes from the garage, too, and made a big pot of chicken vegetable soup.

2 comments:

Melissa said...

You have taken gardening to a new level! I would not have thought of winter carrots. Good to know. Just drove back to IN from GA. Holy cow is it cold! I forgot what winter felt like... Enjoy the holidays!

Molly Crawford Reidy said...

The carrots are really good! Best I've ever eaten. I would guess that you could eat carrots nearly year round in GA!
Cold is relative, isn't it? I walked out the door yesterday and thought, "Wow, it's mild this morning!" (It was 15 degrees F.)
Ha!