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Seed Saving Shame II

June 15, 2010

The few carrots that germinated this spring have been putting some significant tops up. I had planted St Valery and Dragon both last summer and again this spring. Germination was decent last August and the carrots were a sweet treat for most of the winter. When I seeded again this April I got spotty germination (perhaps I should actually read up on the proper planting times for North Georgia eh?).

I was impressed with the superior growth of the few growing tops this spring vs last fall although the first carrots pulled were long and skinny. (Edible, but not of braggadocios picture posting quality.)

I just figured something out though……

At least one, and actually probably most, of the robust topped carrots were not spring germinated seeds.

How so, you ask?

Carrots are biennial, in that the flowering and seed cycle takes part of two seasons to complete. In other words, seeds planted this spring might generate some tasty carrots but if left to grow the tops would not flower this year. The carrot has to remain in the cool ground over the winter in order to turn on the flowering switch.

Where is the shame in this?

Um, well, uh, I guess I missed some carrots last winter when I finished the harvest. I now have a 2 ft+ carrot top well on its way to producing a nice flower.

So once again my negligence has helped me unwittingly set myself up for a possible bounty of free seeds. I prove once again that slack gardeners are in fact rewarded on occasion.

In celebratory anticipation I dug two of edible carrots available this June. Yum.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Josh permalink
    June 15, 2010 9:37 pm

    Hey there Cohutt, the blog looks great! I have two questions though: Were the carrots that you pulled up today planted last year or this spring? And if they were planted last year, does that mean that the seeds just sat in the ground all winter long? Perhaps I’m conflating the concepts of flowering and germinating.

  2. June 15, 2010 9:57 pm

    Thanks, coming from a future famous person, that means mucho.

    Basically the seeds had to germinate last year and Homer here somehow missed pulling the carrot, then it took off this spring. The tops won’t flower unless the root itself was in the ground for the winter. (I’m not sure about the two I pulled; my best guess is that they would have flowered if left in the ground for a couple weeks more but I dunno. )

    Of course the carrot box is a huge 2’x3′ and scouring a space that large could take days, or even weeks for most people.

    Maybe this flowering one is a mutated nano-carrot and would have required special harvesting equipment. I have lots of good theories. 😉


  1. Inside Red “Dragon” Carrots « Behind cohutt's fence

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