It's easy with all the tomatoes, peppers, squashes, melons, cucumbers and beans flowing into our kitchens, to forget about the cool season veggies that have been waiting for us. We recently rediscovered our spring planted root crops. We did start eating beets and carrots earlier this year, then got into all the other veggies. Now, it's time to get back to our roots.
Unfortunately, many of our carrots and beet roots have gotten monstrous. Although impressive, they're woody textured and not great for eating. It's time to replant for fall.
There's still time to plant carrots, beets and radishes in our gardens even though it's late August. The key is selecting fast maturing varieties, sowing them in protected raised beds and giving them as much sun as possible. Some good baby carrot varieties to sow include 'Little Fingers' and 'Thumbelina'. For beets, try 'Bull's Blood', and 'Red Ace'. Any radish variety should grow fine. Sow seeds in compost amended soil located in full sun and keep well watered. I like to cover the bed with a floating row cover or micro mesh to keep critters and insects away and keep the bed protected from an early frost. If sown now, you should be harvesting by late September or early October. Even if they don't form big roots, the tops of carrots, beets and radishes are all edible and great in salads.
If you want to push the season further, protect your carrots in winter with a 1 to 2 foot thick layer of hay or straw mulch. You'll can harvest carrots all winter from underneath this blanket.