Will the Wonders of Carrots Never Cease?
You can plant an actual carrot in the ground and it will make seeds. In fact, this is how we produce we produce carrot seeds at Snake River Seed Co-op. We grow carrots from seed in our gardens, and then in the fall we pull them up and pick the best carrots from our carrot patches for the next step. We select them for size, health, shape, and color, and sometimes we even cut off a little piece to taste to make sure they are delicious. Then we cut their leaves off and stick those carrots back into the ground, where they will again sprout leaves, then send up a flower stalk, flower, and make seeds!
If you are intrigued to try this at home, remember that actual carrots need a period of cold before they will break dormancy and re-grow their leaves. Generally we either re-plant them in the fall and cover them with a thick blanket of leaves to wait out the winter, or store them in a root cellar or other location where they will get cold but not freeze solid (35-50 degrees). Also remember that if you plant a hybrid carrot, the seeds it produces may not grow carrots that look like that mama carrot you planted. If you plant carrots you grew from SRSC seeds, you're good to go, as all our seeds are open-pollinated! You should at least plant 2 carrots so they can help cross-pollinate each other to make seeds, and note that carrots will also cross-pollinate with the weed queen anne's lace, if you have that growing nearby, so the seeds your carrot make may not grow true-to-type either. But you can still grow them and enjoy all the intrigue that comes with them, while also feeding a whole heap of pollinators, because....
Carrots are one of the best plants for pollinators. The dainty, white umbels of carrot flowers are an absolute gold mine for pollinators. Even the smallest native bees can reach their nectar caches with their short tongues. Beneficial wasps and predatory insects like syrphid flies and ladybugs also adore carrot flowers, making the carrot patch one of the most happenin' places on the farm when it's in full bloom mid-summer. If you want to do your part for some of the more under-appreciated pollinator species and give yourself and your family & friends the best classroom you could ever have to observe a veritable cornucopia of native pollinators and beneficial insects, let a few of your carrots overwinter and flower next year!
From "5 Fun Facts About Carrots That Will Make You More Interesting At Parties" by Casey O'Leary
And don't forget! Carrot spacing
Direct seed 2 seeds every one inch into moist soil. Cover with 1/4in soil and water gently.