[Market-farming] Planting high tunnel carrots in November?

Marlin Burkholder burkholders at glenecofarm.com
Wed Nov 12 19:42:10 EST 2014


Today I took the frost killed tomatoes out of my high tunnel.  I had
originally planned on shooting for an early tomato crop (ripe tomatoes in
early June) and having the vines out by mid September and going back in with
carrots and(or) some other winter hardy greens for winter marketing.
However a screw up on getting my plants started last January resulted in my
needing to buy replacements (started in mid February) and my not getting the
first ripe tomatoes until near the end of June.  I spent most of the summer
with my wife wandering the far West in a small RV while a farm sitter looked
after the farm.  When I returned  in mid August I found that the high tunnel
tomatoes had been hard hit by early blight and bacterial spot.  Because this
was the first year to try the ³sucker to a single stem² and ³train the
single vine to a ³string on a spool² and ³lower and lean the vines as they
grow² system I wanted to work with and gain experience with this system and
decided to nurse the crop back to health with some foliar fertilizer and
fungicide-bactericide and to carry the crop as long as I could into the
fall.  I harvested and sold decent quality ripe tomatoes through October and
when the hard freeze descended on November 3rd there were still a number of
nice sized love apples yet to ripen.  I harvested these,  browned bagged
them, and brought them inside to ripen.  If this technique works I will have
them on my market table until the end of November.

Now the question.  Can I successfully work up the ground and seed a crop of
carrots this late into the fall and have ready to dig carrots by early
April?  I know it is getting awfully close to the winter solstice daylight
deficient slowdown for getting new seedings started.  I thought I would put
low tunnels covered with row cover inside the high tunnel to keep the beds a
little warmer.   I think it would work okay for something like
lettuce,chard, or spinach but I¹m not so sure about carrots.  What ever I go
with I want to be taking the winter crop out as I put tomatoes back in in
April.  Last year this worked well with spinach in as the winter crop but I
have enough spinach planted outside and it can stand the winters in Virginia
without high tunnel protection.  We are in cold hardiness zone 6 in this
part of Virginia.

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