Boy, am I ever glad we dug carrots yesterday! They were frozen in the ground so I was hesitant as to their quality. After all, this is the very latest I’ve ever dug carrots. They’re usually harvested much sooner. But we’ve been crazy busy, so it just didn’t happen this year. I dug the first batch on Saturday … just to see. The top four inches of soil was frozen solid so I had to pry up a shovel full at a time. By knocking the block hard on the ground, tops up, I was able to get the carrots free of the frozen soil. I dug a pail full and carried them to the house to thaw. I was worried they’d get soft, but they didn’t. So yesterday when the temperatures were just above freezing, Will helped me dig the rest even though the soil was still frozen. We got a big bin full, plus two five-gallon buckets. I was so glad to have that job done! If you’d like to learn more about growing carrots, check out Issue #153 of Backwoods Home Magazine or the Twenty-sixth Year Anthology for my article.

These are some of our Kuroda carrots. They make nice chunks to serve with roasts.

Today, I begin canning up those carrots. Yes, they do stay good in the unheated basement, but I feel better when a good portion of them is in jars, as there they’ll stay good for years and never shrivel. I can up the more slender ones in slices and the larger ones in chunks. The big chunks are great with a roast or a casserole ingredient, where the slices are wonderful as a side dish or in soups and stews. We love our carrots! All the cracked or weird shaped ones go to the goats, horses, and cows.

Here’s part of our carrot harvest. They’re very nice this year!

I’ve finished saving seeds from our Winter Luxury pumpkins. These smaller, perfectly round pumpkins have a decorative netting over the surface of their orange skins like a cantaloupe and are one of the very best pie and cooking pumpkins out there. They were hugely productive this year so we brought in a bunch. The one problem with them is that they don’t store real well. After a couple of months they begin to go bad. So like many great tasting vegetables, you need to use them while they’re “in season,” then go on to another, longer-storing one. It’s all part of that big homestead circle.

This is one of our nice Winter Luxury pie pumpkins. We think they’re gorgeous as well as tasting great.

— Jackie


  1. Yes, we certainly can pumpkin but as my pantry shelves bulge and I’ve already “oozed” out onto Will’s shelves he told me “not for food!”, it’s nice to have longer storing pumpkins and squash to use through the winter.

  2. What an impressive carrot harvest!! I have always struggled growing carrots. When I planted them without a fence the deer would paw them up and eat them. I then grew them in buckets. This year I planted your Kuroda in the fenced garden and was I impressed. However I grew only a small batch. Our harvest ie garden is done but corn and soy beans to do. The wood stove is going and pleasant to come into the house after being outside. I will be planting more carrots next year. Do winter over some carrots for seed. Biennials are a challenge to make seed in my zone 5a and I haven’t been successful yet. My soil needs I think some sand amendment to get better carrots. Stay warm. Kind regards

    • Two of my biggest carrot tips is, 1. Don’t be in a hurry to plant them. I get much better germination and stronger plants by waiting till frost is about done with before planting them and often even in late May! 2. Be sure you keep the soil moist after planting them. The baby plants are so tiny even a few hours of dry, hot soil will effectively kill them. I have good luck with carrots making seed even here in zone 3, just leaving them in the ground with no special treatment, believe it or not. Of course not ALL will winter over, but a whole lot do. Good luck harvesting soybeans and corn.

  3. Glad you got your carrots in time. On the pumpkins – can’t you can them for later? Is all your garden in now? Take care of yourselves, as well as the garden.

  4. Thank you for this blog x your mentioning pumpkins finally remined me that a had 2 trays of pumpkin still sitting on the oven from roasting it on Sunday!!! All was well, no mold yet, so it is chopped and in the freezer.
    I am wanting to grow a selection of my own next year. Does the Winter Luxury Pumpkin not freeze well?

    • It freezes fine, it’s just that being off grid we only have one freezer and that’s primarily for storing meat. Besides, when I want to make a pie or casserole, my canned pumpkin is already thawed and ready to add to my recipe. I’m glad you saved your pumpkin!!! Been there; done that…..

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