• Kelly Grummons

Harvesting Overwintered Root Vegetables

Q: We still have a lot of root vegetables left in the garden from last year. They are showing new growth. When can we harvest them? I won’t have to plant any more carrots, beets, or parsnips this year.


A: You can certainly dig them any time now but these plants are biennials which means that they have just foliar growth the first year, then quickly bolt and produce flowers and seeds the second spring. During this flowering process the roots will get woody and lack flavor making them unpalatable. You could let some of them flower and produce seeds that you CAN plant next spring. Not all is lost! Dig the roots and feed them to your livestock, worm compost bin, or the old-fashioned compost pile.


Kelly is co-owner of the mail order nursery businesses, coldhardycactus.com and dogtuffgrass.com.