Bloomin' Carrots

Thank you all so much for your kind anniversary wishes. The story of our wedding is one of my favorite ones to tell because it just makes me so happy. As I was flipping through our wedding photos, looking for one for yesterday's post, I was struck by just how much our backyard has changed. The open expanse of lawn was perfect for an impromtu wedding, but I have spent the past two years trying my darnedest to dig up that lawn.


The previous owners had a dog kennel in the backyard, the "floor" of which was made up of concrete pavers. The grass under them was already dead, so I thought it would be a good place to start my garden that first summer. We dumped a truck load of compost on it, planted your basic garden fare and called it a season. This summer, part of that space was devoted to fall plantings of wheat and garlic and part I've just let grow wild. It's been amazing to see the diversity of plants that have spontaneously appeared. I'm sure a combination of seeds in the compost, stowaways in the hostas and ferns that I transplanted, and native seeds lying dormant and just waiting for a chance to grow have combined to give me quite the interesting little habitat. Someday soon I want to check out some prairie plant identification books from the library and see just what I've got there. But, poking out of the middle of all that are last year's carrots.


I'm really interested in saving seeds. I bought a copy of Seed to Seed, but have been too intimidated to read it yet. My little carrots, however, are giving me the push that I need. Carrots are biennials, meaning that they take two full growing seasons to go to seed. We eat them after their first season, so I had never seen a carrot flower before. All of the research that I did online claimed that carrots were the hardest to save seeds from in my zone because it's supposed to be too cold for them to survive over the winter. People advised digging them up, packing them in sand and storing them in a root cellar before replanting them the following spring. This didn't exactly inspire me. But, luckily, the carrots and Steve decided to help me along. Back in December-ish, I sent Steve out to dig up the last of our carrots before the ground froze solid. He didn't tell me this, but about half a dozen of them broke off and he just left them in the ground. This spring they have grown like crazy! They're almost 5 feet tall and have the most delicate little white flowers. I've read that the seeds are actually covered with little spiky hooks that are polished off of the carrot seeds that we buy in the store. I can't wait to see them and next year, to plant my first batch of my "own" carrots.

4 comments:

  1. That is so cool! Living up north I have never seen carrots "go to seed". I too broke off a couple of carrots that I left in the ground, but with such cold winters they did not survive to grow again.

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  2. I definitely live too far north; I didn't even know carrots flowered! : )

    ~Andrea~

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  3. I love suprise plants AND looking them up!

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  4. beautiful carrot flowers! i've never seen a carrot gone to seed. good luck with your seed saving. it's a really worthwhile endeavor!

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