What Are Carrot Flowers And How Do They Look Like?
Biennial plants are plants that grow their flowers as well as their seeds in the second year if they are not harvested. Carrots are biennial plants. They bloom in the second year. The reason why many people do not see them is that most people who grow them usually harvest them immediately they mature.
So if you want to see and feel carrot flowers and seeds, you should simply forego harvesting several carrot plants in your garden or farm. Leave them in your garden through winter. And while it may look dead in early spring, within a few weeks, its leaves will come back to life, produce flowers, and then produce seeds.
Carrot flowers are almost always white in color. They can sometimes be purple. They are tiny, lacy, numerous, and form a beautiful umbel (cluster) on a longish stalk.
What Are The Uses Of Carrot Flowers?
Carrot flowers have three uses:
1. They can be eaten
The best use and probably most surprising thing about carrot flowers is that they can be consumed. Even the seeds they produce can be consumed. Carrot flowers can be consumed raw in salads. They give salads a yummy taste. They can also be fried and eaten as a delicacy.
2. They are visually attractive.
Carrot flowers can also be left to be and simply admired as they are. This is because they are very pretty. Many individuals grow wild carrot for its flowers. But while its flowers are pretty, they are not consumable because they are toxic. So never eat carrot flowers if you are not sure of their origin. They could be the end of you.
3. They can produce seeds.
If you do not want to buy carrot seed or seedlings ever again, you can let a few carrots flower and then get seeds from them. You can use the seeds to grow new carrots in the next growing season or use them in flavor teas, stews, or soups.
How To Harvest Seeds From Your Carrot Flowers
If you want to harvest seeds from carrot flowers, you must forego harvesting some carrots and leave them in the ground through winter. A few weeks into spring they will come back to life and produce flowers. It is from these flowers that you can harvest seeds.
How? Well, you will need to wait for them to be pollinated. After pollination by bees or butterflies, the umbels of the carrot plants will start drying out and turning brown. When the flowers are nearly completely dry, you should strike by cutting their heads off their stalks using a sharp new pair of scissors.
You should place them facing down inside a clear glass container and allow them to dry completely (leave a small opening on top of the container). Once the flowers have dried out, you should close the container and shake it to release all seeds.
At this point, you simply need to separate your seeds from the chaff. You can do this by pouring everything in the container onto a plate and gently blowing the unneeded chaff away.
If you cannot blow the chaff away, simply ignore it as it will not negatively affect the planting or cultivation of new carrots.
How To Grow And Harvest Carrots
In this section, you will learn how to grow carrots from seeds. You will also discover all the tips and tricks you need to know to grow carrots successfully.
1. Start In The Cool Weather
Carrot seeds start growing best when the weather is cool (not cold). This is the reason why they are sown into the ground in early spring in cold climates. In warmer climates, they are usually sown into the ground in fall to take advantage of the low temperatures in fall and winter.
Therefore, sow your carrot seeds in cool weather to give them a good start to life.
2. Sprinkle Carrot Seeds In Rows
The best way to grow carrots in your garden is to first loosen your soil. After doing this, you are supposed to mix compost with the topsoil to get it ready. At this point, your garden is ready for the carrot seeds.
Since the seeds are tiny, you can only sow them by sprinkling them in rows. Make sure the rows are about 1 foot apart. After sowing the seeds, you should bury them lightly and then start watering them daily. Within a few days or weeks, they will sprout.
3. Space Out The Seedlings
Once the seeds sprout, you should give them a bit of time to grow. Once they get to about two inches in height, you should space the rows by pinch the weak seedlings off the soil line.
The purpose of doing this is to ensure there is space between the carrot seedlings to reduce the competition for resources. This will guarantee you good quality carrots come harvesting time.
4. Ensure Your Carrots Get Adequate Sunlight
Wherever you choose to grow carrots, you should ensure they get enough sunlight. While carrots start best in cool weather, they prefer living in the full sun. This means they need maximum hours of available sunlight.
Therefore, when choosing where to plant them you should plant them somewhere where they will get exposed to sunlight maximally. If you’ve already grown them, you should remove anything close to them that might be blocking the sunlight from getting to them.
Carrot roots need the sun to thrive and develop sugars. So you will not be doing your carrots any favors by having them under a shade. If they are in a greenhouse and they are not getting a lot of light, you should consider buying them artificial lights.
5. Ensure The Soil Is Loose
Carrots grow best in loose soil. So before you sow them into the soil, use a rototiller to loosen the soil. Remove all clumps and rocks as these can lead to the deformation of carrot roots. Carrot roots often look their best when the soil they are grown in is quite loose and at a pH of between 6.0 and 6.8.
6. Irrigate Your Carrots Properly
Carrots need water. You should water them as soon as the first three inches of soil around them dry out. If you do this, you will probably need to water them maybe twice or thrice a week. To protect your carrots from drying out and dying, you should add mulch around them. The mulch will help to reduce moisture loss. It will also keep the soil cool and perfect for the growth of carrot roots.
7. Maintain Temperatures If You’ve Planted Your Carrots In A Greenhouse
When you plant carrots in early spring in a cold climate or in fall in a warmer climate, it is kind of like timing nature and using the natural weather changes to grow your carrots. Usually, this works but good results are not guaranteed. You can nearly guarantee good results by growing your carrots in a greenhouse.
Because in a greenhouse you can maintain the daytime and nighttime temperatures at the temperatures preferred by carrots. If you do this, you will end up with quality and very tasty carrots. However, please note that it usually takes a lot of energy to maintain certain temperatures in greenhouses and this will surely increase your energy bill.
8. Use Fertilizer
If you want your carrots to grow big and healthy, you should use fertilizer. The best fertilizer for carrots is a vegetable fertilizer. It will make your carrots grow fast and big. You should not use any fertilizer with nitrogen in it. This will only add chemicals to your soil and promote unnecessary growth in foliage.
9. Be On The Lookout For Pests
Be on the lookout for pests such as the carrot rust fly and the carrot weevil when growing carrots. This will help you to avoid carrot diseases and damages. If you see any signs of pests, investigate and use a suitable natural pesticide to eliminate the pest.
10. Harvest Right
By following the instructions above, you should be able to grow carrots successfully. However, it will be very frustrating for you to grow carrots and then mess everything up during harvesting. For this reason, you need to harvest right. Most carrot varieties take between 50 to 70 days to become ready for harvest.
You should start harvesting your carrots if they have reached the average diameter for their variety. To know if this is the case you should remove the topsoil covering them and then measure their diameter from the top. If you are not sure about the average diameter, you should dig out one of your carrots, wash it and take a bite. This is the ultimate test. If it tastes sweet, your carrots are ready for harvesting. If it tastes bland, your carrots are not ready.
If your carrots are ready, twist them and pull them out of the soil. If the soil is not loose, stab the ground next to them with something sharp and twist it around. Take care not to hurt your carrots when you do this.
To Wrap Up
Carrots produce flowers in the second year because they are biennial plants. Carrot flowers are very visually attractive. This is why some people grow carrots as flowers. They also happen to be edible and to produce seeds that are also edible and can be used for growing new carrots in the new season. Follow the tips and tricks above to learn how to grow carrots from seeds