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How to save seeds from carrots and beets?

Posted by cabrita 9b & 10a (21 & 23) (My Page) on
Fri, Jan 23, 09 at 15:40

Right now I have a carrot and a beet that I have managed to sprout in the heat of summer. They would be ready to pick, but I figured they are not going to be too tasty. I also figured if I save seed from them I might select heat tolerant characteristics. I can use heat tolerance here since I try to grow everything I can for as long as I can (I do sow carrot and beet seeds just about every month).

I have never tried to collect seeds from either crop so I could use some help with them. Will beets flower and put out seeds like lettuce? What about the carrot? I understand they are biennials, does this mean I just patiently wait another year? I hear they make nice flowers, maybe the bees will like them.

Another question: will one specimen of each give me enough seed for an urban size garden?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: How to save seeds from carrots and beets?

  • Posted by remy 6WNY (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 24, 09 at 8:19

Hi Cabrita,
You can collect seeds from them. They are biennials, so yes, that means they flower in their second year. If conditions are right(or not right, lol) they may flower in their first year especially since you have a long growing season.
Carrots grow umbel like flower heads and make lots of seeds. Most people forget they know carrot flower heads, not from their gardens, but from Queen Anne's Lace which is a wild carrot. If you have Queen Anne's Lace nearby flowering at the same time, you will need to bag your blossoms since they will cross-pollinate.
Beets grow upright candelabra type flower stalks, and will make a good amount of seeds too. Beets cross pollinate from long distances away like 5 miles, so you will need to bag your blossoms if you wish to keep you seeds pure.
One plant of each will give you more than enough seed for your garden. It is normally recommended to save from more than one plant to keep genetic diversity. If you are saving for certain characteristics though that doesn't matter.

RE: How to save seeds from carrots and beets?

Remy, what does it mean to "bag your blossoms"?

RE: How to save seeds from carrots and beets?

  • Posted by remy 6WNY (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 24, 09 at 20:40

Hi Natalie,
Pretty much putting a bag over the blossoms : ) You can use a paper bag and tape it shut. That works well for longer candelabra type blooms. Those sheer gift bags work well for single or cluster blooms.
On the link below is a pic.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pic of bagged tomato blossom

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