I have been reading a lot of Eliot Coleman's books lately. He is a guru when it comes to organic growing and growing in the wintertime. He grows over 30 varieties of vegetables year-round in an unheated greenhouse in Zone 5, even harvesting carrots and lettuce in December. His books are definitely worth a read if you are interested in organic gardening techniques or growing in the winter. They will get you excited about gardening. His most recently published book just came out a few months ago, The Winter Harvest Handbook. I am using the book to experiment for the first time with winter gardening.
My first planting is carrots only. I filled a Rubbermaid container with really good dirt I dug from the cow pasture and then sowed my seed. Then I covered the top with a row cover to try to hold the moisture in. Carrot seeds love being moist and relatively cool for the best germination. I only left about 3 or 4 inches between the rows because in the winter, plants need to be more closely spaced to hold their heat. I plan on growing them in the open container until the first frost. Then I will cover them with a plastic hoop that I am constructing right now (plans and photos are coming up). The back half of the tub is planted with Danvers and the front half is Scarlet Nantes.
Carrots take anywhere from 2-3 weeks to germinate, so it will look like just a tub of dirt for a while. I guess it didn't look all that uninviting for someone, though. I'm going to have to figure out what to do about this before the seedlings start coming up!