Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Carrots Gone Wild: Saving Seeds

My world has been a bit different this year. I've had limited time at my cabin because Mom's needed my help while recovering from back surgery.

As usual, I left last year's carrots in the ground over the winter for early spring harvesting. However, I wasn't there in time to get them out of the ground. By the time I arrived in early summer, they had already bolted and were beginning to flower. What to do?

My friend Margaret (Thistle Garden) in Powell River suggested I let the carrots go and save the seeds for future planting.

Carrots have a two year cycle, so it is rare to get all the way to the flowering and seed production stage. It will probably not happen again for me since my garden space is so limited. So why not give it a try this time around.

Margaret suggested I cover the flowers going to seed with muslin. This would capture the seeds in my absence. Muslin would keep the seeds in, but dry quickly enough to prevent moulding. Well, I didn't have any muslin so I used some cheesecloth I had left from canning last year. Hopefully the weave isn't to open. Carrot seeds are very tiny. I'll find out the results when I return to the cabin again in late September.

And even after I capture some seeds I won't know for sure what I have. I don't know if the seeds I originally planted were the open-pollinated variety that is required for seeds saving. Hybrid plants don't produce seeds true to the parent plant. They revert back to the components of the hybrid mixture. I'll keep you posted. -- Margy


  1. Should be an interestiing experiment for sure. Carrot seeds are one of the many seed crops that are grown here in the high desert of Oregon. The fields of blooms look very beautiful.

  2. I was thinking "interesting experiment" and I see 2 Tramps has beaten me to the phrase. I wouldn't know muslin if I tripped over it, but cheesecloth sounds like a reasonable substitute to me (I who know nothing).
    Looking forward to the results. Have to wonder what they'll be if they "revert back to the components of the hybrid mixture" — will they be carrots at all, or parsnips crossed with pumpkins for color, or what?
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  3. I have never seen carrots in full bloom before but aren't they lovely and I think they look cute in their little hats! xxx

  4. Like Fran, I have never seen carrots at the bloom stage either. The blooms look similar to Queen Ann's Lace. You should get a lot of seeds, Margy.

  5. Even if you didn't get carrots, those flowers must have been a lovely surprise!