Saving carrot seeds


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.

9 Responses to “Saving carrot seeds”

  1. meemsnyc Says:

    This is so cool! What a nice tutorial on how to save carrot seeds!

  2. Bill McDorman Says:

    Nice article. Your readers can find free online seed saving instructions on the website of this 20 year-old non-profit:

  3. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    meemsnc, sometimes it doesn’t pay to spend extra time with fall garden clean up.

    Bill, I agree that is a great resource, have definitely used advice there in the past.

  4. Frank@buy a bicycle Says:

    I found some carrot seeds from 2004. Do you think they will still germinate?
    Really great post, enjoyed reading it. Thanks

  5. Growing carrots Says:

    I must admit I have never tried to save carrot seeds before, but will give it a go next year as I still have some carrots in the ground. Many thanks for the tip.



  6. Saving Seeds from Carrots « Says:

    […] Did you forget to harvest some of your carrots? Let them set seeds! How to save these seeds: […]

  7. Tweets that mention Saving carrot seeds -- Says:

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  8. steve Says:

    Nice! I have a group of carrots I have left in the ground so I can try letting them go to seed.

  9. Elaine Says:

    Do you still keep watering the plants with the umbrels? Ours have formed but are not brown yet.

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