Two “firsts” for December. 1) My beautiful pink clematis is still blooming on the lamp post in the front yard. 2) We pulled the last carrots from the garden.

The carrots, planted in late August, yielded a bumper crop. Good old reliable Burpee’s seed, varietal Scarlet Nantes. The carrots were exactly as Burpee’s said they would be: 7 inches, full bodied, almost no core. And because we left them in the ground all fall, they were incredibly sweet.2012-12-08_11-40-23_774

To celebrate the last carrots of the season, there was only one choice of preparation: roasted. We hosted Thanksgiving this year and prepared a boatload of roasted root vegetables, and were disappointed there were no leftovers. So I cooked up another full pan yesterday: our carrots plus beets, parsnips and brussel sprouts bought from the farmer’s market. Slow roasted at 350 to a caramel-like finish.

Next year we’ll add parsnips to our fall planting. It may be December, but I’m already dreaming of next season’s garden.

Sandy Johnson is a journalist and a gardener, equally passionate about both. She lives in Alexandria, VA.  Visit her on her blog, Grassroots & Gardening.