Our winter solstice harvest!
Today is the winter solstice, which is the longest night of the year. We have had a relatively mild winter with very little snow thus far this year. In fact, we have had mostly sporadic snow flurries, but lots of rain. The temperatures have dipped below zero for a few days at a time. Then we have highs of 1 – 5 C. I am not taking into account the wind chill factor, when I give these temperatures. This is unseasonably warm weather for us. We have experimented this year with our carrot crop, by seeing how long that we could leave them in the ground. Amazingly enough, the carrots have fared well. This has been less fuss and work to leave them in the ground rather than to store them indoors. I harvest them as we needed them. They have kept growing.
Hubby had to use the shovel to break the ground to pull the up. The ground has been frozen for a week. It is December 21st and we are pulling up our carrot harvest in Sweden. That is amazing to me. I tried to pull some up yesterday for dinner, but the green top just pulled off. I had to kick the mound to loosen the dirt, then I could pull the carrots up. I was in a hurry, because I had dinner cooking on the stove. I just needed a couple of carrots for supper. That is when we decided that maybe it was time to pull them up.
The carrots survived Julia, the brown pony, discovering our carrot patch a month ago. Julia is our little escape artist. She lies on her side and squeezes under the 3 tiered electrical wire fence to escape her paddock. She discovered our veggie patch for the first time. I started washing dishes and looked out the kitchen window to find Julia munching on our carrots. I threw on my jacket and boots and grabbed a plastic bucket and ran out back. I grabbed her halter and pulled and much to my surprise she followed me. I figured that she would protest leaving the carrots. Luckily the carrots are hard to pull up, when the ground is a little frozen. You could tell that, because she had only been able to pull a few of them up. I led her out of the garden area. She started to turn back and I beat on the plastic bucket to scare her from the spot. She ran away to our front yard and grazed on our grass….
The deer visited us after dark and ate the tops off our strawberry plants and tried to pull up the carrots to eat. We hope that they have not damaged our strawberry plants. I kept finding a few baby carrots laying on the ground, but the ground was lightly frozen so there were never any tracks left on the ground. I didn’t know if it was a moose or deer that were visiting us at night. One afternoon I caught 4 deer trying to dig up our carrots, when I was carrying up laundry from the basement. I had a flash light on my forehead to light my way, when the light caught their eyes. I saw the red glow of their eyes. I was 20 feet from them, but I couldn’t see them in the dark. If it wasn’t for the flash light, that lite up their eyes. That answered my question about who was our uninvited dinner guest.
Amazingly enough Julia and the deer barely made a small dent in the carrots as you can see for yourselves by the pictures above. We have enjoyed fresh carrots in late December. We are so pleased at what a good crop we have this year. It just amazes me how well a winter garden can grow even here in Sweden. We have been blessed by all the bounty we have harvested this year. We are eternally grateful. I hope and pray that we have a proper winter garden next year. As you can see, We are already dreaming and planning for Our next years vegetable patch.