We first planted carrot seeds in September. We harvested them in January. We also left a few plants to flower so we could save seeds from them. The flowers appeared towards the end of April and today, the end of July, they are ready to be harvested for seed.
Allowing carrots to go to seeds not only provides seeds for next season but the flowers also attract beneficial insects that snack on the pests attacking your summer plants.
A few things to know when saving seed from carrots:
1) Make sure you are starting with an heirloom or open-pollinated variety and not a hybrid.
2) It takes a long time to go from seed-to-seed. Plan for it. We sowed seeds in September and harvested seeds in July. That’s 10 months total.
3) It takes a lot of space. One carrot plant sends up one main stalk and multiple side stalks. Instead of one carrot plant needing only 2 inches square, one carrot plant going to seed needs about 2 feet square.
4) Reduce watering after the plant has flowered. Stop watering once the plants start turning brown and the seeds have fully matured. When they’ve completely turned brown the seeds are ready to harvest.
5) Hang seed stalks upside down in a cool dry place for another week to assure complete dryness.
6) Separate seeds from stem over a newspaper or plate.
7) Gather seeds into a plastic bag or glass jar and store in a cool dry place.