How to mulch carrots for winter
Everyone who has grown their own carrots before will know just how delicious they are. But not many gardeners know they can grow winter carrots, even in the UK. Using greenhouses and cold frames will allow you to extend the growing season of your carrots into winter, even so, when the freezing temperatures start to bite then mulching your carrots becomes essential. It is important that you mulch your carrots before the ground begins to frost.
What to use to mulch carrots
There are a few different materials to choose from when it comes to carrot mulching.
- Shredded Leaves
- Old bed sheets
These are just some of my favourites, as you can tell, lots of different materials will work well here.
You then want to cover your carrots 10-15cm deep with your new mulch, if you are using fleece or sheets then try and get a few layers deep instead.
If using straw or shredded leaves, you want then to add something solid on top such as fleece and then use rocks to weigh it down. You don’t want to put all this effort into mulching to see it blow away in the first bit of wind!
Why mulch carrots over winter?
The added layer of insulation helps to stop the ground from freezing, and if it does freeze, it won’t freeze as deeply as it would with no mulch. Mulching carrots allows you to extend their growing season into the new year and allows for crunchy homegrown carrots in January and Feb!
Make sure you weed first.
Before you think about mulching your carrots, make sure you weed the bed well. You don’t want to provide protection for those pesky weeds allowing them to come back bigger and stronger next year!
The tops will die
Your pretty green carrot tops will eventually die off in the cold but don’t worry; this is to be expected. Even after the top dies, the carrot underground will be fine as long as you have mulched it well and it avoids the worst of the frosts to come.
Extra Sweet Carrots
As your carrots begin to fight off the cold, you will find it starts to concentrate its sugars in the roots as a survival mechanism. This leads to super sweet winter carrots.
Harvest Before Spring
You can leave the carrots in the ground all winter long with no problems, but you need to harvest them before spring. In spring, the carrots will begin to develop again, and if left too long they will flower. Flowered carrots don’t taste good, the sugars I was talking about earlier will be used to help the carrot to flower. This leads to a really poor tasting carrot.