Seed Saving " the carrot, part one


I do grow some hybrids because their bred traits are adapted to the altitude and climate of Mt. Shasta where our summer season is shorter. But I am always seeking out heirlooms to see how well they will grow in my garden; heirlooms are often a bit finicky about their environments so finding the right variety is important.

I finally found an heirloom carrot called Touchon that grows well here, is large and very tasty! I had never grown such big delicious carrots in my garden before and I loved them so much I decided to save their seed. So during harvest, I reluctantly left four large carrots in the ground to winter over; I mulched them and they survived the winter (except one) and began to grow again in the spring. Carrots are a biennial so they grow to seed in their second year; my plants are now flowering beautifully. Carrots will cross with other carrot varieties that may be in bloom and also Queen Anne's lace (but I have not seen any growing) and have no other carrots in their second year so my seed should be good!

So if you want to save a particular seed, make sure you have heirlooms, find out if they cross pollinate with other varieties and plants; observe your garden to see which plants grow well and plan ahead so your seeds will be pure. Again, keeping a record of what varieties you plant will assist you in your seed saving endeavors. Do you save seed? What heirlooms do you save?