Seed Saving - Carrots and Beets

April 6, 2018

Just a short while ago, 

we wrote about saving the harvest - carrots  

and now it's time to save the seed - also carrots!  

 

From this - - -

 to this!

Many root crops, harvested in the fall, are biennials. This includes carrots, beets, parsnips, turnips and others. These grow vegetatively the first year and produce seed the second year. For seed savers, if you want a jar full of dried carrots for the year, every few years you save the fruit over the winter and replant in the spring. Some farmers are able to leave the fruit in the ground, but we have such a high meadow vole population that anything left in the soil - that they like to eat, that is - is consumed over the winter!

 

In the fall, we select the best formed fruits and save aside for seed. They are stored in a perforated plastic bag in cold room storage. Now is the time we need to plant them! In the past, waiting too long

has meant that the tops sprout but then rot and new sprouts are not able to form once the carrots are ground planted. In order to prevent this, we are trying a new method of pot grown. Using the largest pots, they are planted in soil starting mix half and half with garden soil. In order to then slow down the process, they go back in the cold storage. Still watered to stay damp and start to grow, we want to prevent them from sending up a flower stalk before the pots can be outside to be bee and wind pollinated.

carrot starting to sprout

 

The beets will also be grown out for seed this year. Keeping much better in cold storage, we are able to replant them in the field. They are still firm and even though they have sprouts, the leaves are not showing any sign of wilt or rot. We'll keep an eye on them, but think they'll make it for May planting!

 

 

 

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