Like many of my seed saving in devours they have occurred by accident. This year saving carrot seeds with one of those cases. I must have missed picking on of my carrots last fall, this carrots would be completely woody to eat so I left in in the ground knowing that carrots go to seed after their second year.
To get the best results I only kept the first three umbels for two reasons. This will give me the largest and best quality seeds. Second, this means less flowers for the bees to pollinate so I should have a better changes of having a higher number of quality seeds. At the end of the summer I cut off the umbels and hung them upside down in my garage and forgot about them for a little while.
Harvesting the seeds is pretty easy, just rub the umbels between your hands into a large bowl or container. Pick out any remaining stems or big pieces of chaff. Rub between your hands a little more to cause the chaff to become closer to a powder.
Now with a quick shake in a sieve (used from the kitchen) most of the chaff should fall through leaving the seeds. Just to remember there are up to 2000 carrots seeds in a teaspoon so don’t go overboard since these seeds normally only last a maximum of 3 years in the refrigerator.
You may notice that the seeds do not look like the ones you buy in the packets and have funny little “beards” (which is actually technical name) surrounding the seeds. You can leave these on but it can cause the seeds to stick together making planting a bit more difficult. You can take care of these by giving the seeds a hard rub into the same sieve with firm pressure from your finger.
Though this takes a little more time than some other seeds in about 15 minutes of work I have fairly clean seeds which is more than enough that I can use for this season and more to share/trade with others.