HEIRLOOM GARDENER

Winter Carrots   Rooting for Compliments

ON THE SHORTEST DAY of every year, I like to bundle up and head out to the garden with a spading fork. At the carrot bed, I pull back the fabric row cover and fork up a bunch of sweet, tender roots from the chill soil. Take my word for it: Winter carrots taste better than carrots grown in spring or summer.

Growing carrots for your winter table doesn’t require expensive equipment or much gardening experience. With a little advance planning, you too can eat fresh, homegrown carrots every December — and beyond. Here’s how to get started.

COUNTDOWN TO CARROTS

To find the planting date for a winter crop of carrots, you’ll have to count backward from the first frost date in your area. (Plants don’t germinate or grow well in cold, low-light conditions, so your carrots will have to do most of their growing before frigid temperatures set in.) Check the seed packet for the days to maturity, and then count backward from

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