Update on carrot seeds.

12 Feb

A while ago I posted that one of my dragon carrots had bolted to seed. I let it go as a bit of experiment, but a few weeks ago I realised that the seed heads where overrun with aphids. This gave me 2 opportunites for blog posts, one to answer the question “what happens to a carrot when it goes to seed” and info on aphids. First up the former!

The carrot stalk ended up about 1.8m tall with approx 6 flower heads of varying sizes. Over time the heads folded up and the seeds started browning up. I cut the first and biggest flower off before the aphids got it and they are now drying in a paper bag (another future post because I’ve used the same technique with coriander). Here’s a close up the flower, unfortunately the camera was on a trip with my wife when they went brown and aphid infested so I no photo’s of that sorry.

Something interesting I noted that I need to research some more is that the other carrots still growing where small and slow growing. I wonder if the carrot that’s gone to seed somehow affects those around it? Survival mechanism perhaps so it’s seed will have somewhere to grow when they dry out and land? Not sure about that.

But what happens to a carrot that goes to seed?

When I first dug it up and washed it off it looked pretty much like a normal carrot. Even where part of the skin seemed to split away it looked like a soft fleshy carrot inside.

However when I touched the inside orange flesh it was hard. My fingernail couldn’t dint it. It had turned very woody.

After a day or so on the kitchen bench it dried up considerably and was quite light for it’s size.  Here’s a few pic’s of when we snapped it take a look inside.
You can see how it snapped like a stick. The edges look sharp but are in fact almost soft. The lightness and texture reminded me a lot of balsa wood but it felt stronger. Might make for a more durable balsa wood airplane. 🙂
This experiment has answered the question that you definitely cannot eat a carrot that’s gone to seed and provided me with a bunch more topics for posts. Hopefully the seeds I’ve harvested sprout and I didn’t let the biggest carrot go to waste.
Stay tuned! 
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3 Responses to “Update on carrot seeds.”

  1. Anna February 19, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    Lincoln may I have a few of your seeds? I have parsley and potatoes to swap.

  2. Sari March 2, 2011 at 8:05 am #

    I have often read "Don't allow to go to seed" or "how to kill aphids" but never anything about the cause and effect. Questions are always more interesting than simple facts.Would placing a bag over seed heads keep aphids off and collect seeds?

  3. Lincoln March 12, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

    Interesting point Sari. I would suspect your remedy would work so long as the ants can't get in (they "deliver" the aphids) and that enough heat / moisture can get in and out of the bag to dry the seeds out. However, it might limit the number of seeds you get. For instance, my Cos verdi lettuce recently bolted and has these Dandelion like flowers on top. I have harvested a number seeds from a number of the early flower's and there are still more flowering. Perhaps a bag might stifle that flowering, perhaps not. A good experiment either way! Stay tuned!

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