If you are looking for a high density nutrient packed vegetable for the garden you have come to the right place. Carrots are jam packed with vitamins and minerals, they do not take up a lot of space, and they can winter over to be dug up when you are ready. For example we did not unearth these carrots until January with 22 pounds in a 4 x 6 foot area.
When preparing a survival garden you will want to choose verities that are hardy and require little attention. We had good success this year with the Danvers 126 Half Long from Baker Creek. They are well suited to our soil and required little attention. I merely through down the seeds into rows in a 4ft x 6ft plot in the garden, covered lightly, and let them go. They didn’t appear to be doing much in the heat of summer but once it cooled off they went nuts! Now here it is January the next year and they are doing fine. My only complaint it that my fence was not able stop some critters from eating the tops, (may have been moles) which is why they needed to be removed. Carrots are exceptional when it comes to wintering over and in fact I think a good freeze makes them very sweat.
Because carrots are so high in Vitamin A they are great for the eyes, an important benefit we can all use. Carrots were even used back in WW II at aerial training schools to help improve the eyesight of the students. Aside from vitamin A, carrots are also high in vitamins C and K and many different minerals like calcium, copper, and manganese as well as many others. Another survival advantage to note is that carrots provide good roughage which helps with constipation. Trust me from experience this is a Godsend when eating a lot of MRE’s or MRE like foods.
I also enjoy the low profile of a carrot. When grown next to the house, in a flower bed, or in an herb garden the carrot will go fairly unnoticed. This provides the potential for operational security if that is your concern. Considering the fact that they can winter over so well they could potentially be stored in place to save on storage space as well as keeping them fresh all winter. The fresher the vegetable the more nutrients it contains.
If by happen stance your carrots are being nibbled by some local critters and you want to bring them in you will have many choices as how to store them. A root cellar is specifically designed for storing root crops like carrots throughout winter and will be very helpful. If you would like to save seeds from the carrots a cool dry place and some saw dust will overwinter the crops until planting out for seed the next year. Leave 2 inches of stem if you are planning on saving for seed.
Of course pressure canning and dehydrating are excellent ways to store carrots for more than one season. Carrots are a low acid food that must be pressure canned for 25 minutes unless you would like your carrots pickled in which case they can be water bath canned for 15 minutes. For complete instructions check out pickyourown.org. For us carrot seeds are something that will surely go into the seed bank. I suggest trying several types to see what works in your area. We have gone through some carrots in the past that had less than desirable results.
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