During a brief break in the weather, we ventured out to harvest what remained of our winter crop.
The snow has settled and crusted over, sealing down the covers, and required some earnest shoveling in order to open them up.
Once the mulch was pushed aside, we found that the parsnips had begun to sprout. We mean to dig up the carrots and parsnips before the end of February. The lengthening days trigger new growth, robbing the roots of their frost-acquired sweetness, and turning them woody and bitter.
With spring still a month away, it may be a misnomer to call these “spring-dug.” We wonder if the seemingly premature sprouting is due to their having been covered, rather than left mulched but exposed to the elements.
We also harvested the last of the carrots and the remaining leeks, which looked a little worse for wear. They’d been left in the ground too long, but were salvageable. However, the batch of leeks dug up at the end of December fared better by being stored in the refrigerator.
Underneath their coat of dirt, the parsnips gleam. This hard-to-get variety called Andover are a good reason to order seed early. True to their description, the roots average 12″ to 14″ in length. Can you see how they dwarf the colander they’re sitting in? Rumour has it only one of these is enough to serve a family of four.