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Over wintering experiments in the garden

By Penny Stine

I've been trying to do more year-round gardening in the last few years, or at least plant a mid-season crop in a bed that's just produced an early season crop like peas or spinach. Last year, I thought I dug all the garlic out of this particular bed by July, so I planted carrots and beets, hoping that I could dig them up by October.
Obviously, I didn't get all the garlic.

But the carrots and beets were so small I decided to mulch them and leave them in place during the winter. The green tops disappeared, but both the carrots and the beets were sending out new tops underneath the mulch. And the garlic started growing by February. 

 

 

I dug some of the beets a week or so ago, and they were still pretty small.

 

 

 

 

 

I dug up one carrot, and it was about two inches long, so I decided to leave the rest in the ground and see what happened.

My mom tells me that when they're left in the ground over the winter, carrots get pithy. I suppose I'll find out for myself when I pull these in another month or two. This year, I found a carrot seed from Territorial Seed company this that's supposed to be planted in July with the intention of leaving it in place all winter and picking delicious carrots in May and June, so I'm already trying to figure out which bed I can use for that.  

 

 

I left a few beets in the ground, too, so it will be interesting to see how they taste compared to beets I plant in April. 

Although I now have garlic growing in four different places in my gardens, I'm not really too sad about that. We eat a lot of garlic, and garlic scape pesto is one of the best-kept culinary secrets of home gardeners. 

Don't worry, as soon as I make my first batch, I'll share the recipe and make you wish you had planted garlic in November!

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