QUESTION: Can I grow carrots from a carrot? What’s the best way to regrow carrots? -Phillip S.
ANSWER: A carrot planted in the ground will not produce another carrot in its root system, but it will produce a carrot plant, which, if provided with ample water, light and temperatures below 50 degrees F, will grow small white flowers and small brown seeds. To plant a whole carrot in the ground to grow a carrot plant, just place the carrot into the soil about 1/2 inch below the surface. Plant in full sun in light, well-draining soil. Water to keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Within a few weeks, green sprouts will appear, followed by the flower stalks. If you allow the plant to fully mature it will flower, and eventually begin producing seeds. The seeds can then be saved for next growing season and planted to possibly grow new carrot plants.
To save your carrot seeds, cut the flower stalks from your carrot plants after the flowers have faded and put them into a brown paper bag. Store the bag in a dry location for several weeks. Shake the bag to loosen the seeds from their stalks. Then, remove all the stalks and any additional plant debris from the bag so that all you have left are seeds. Either keep the seeds in the brown paper bag, or store them in a glass jar. Either way, label them with the seed name and date and store them in the refrigerator.
Unfortunately, it is quite possible that the carrot plants that you are able to grow with your saved seeds may have some unpredictable results. Hybridized carrots are created by crossing two carrot varieties. If you had multiple types of carrot plants in your garden, your seeds may be hybrid seeds. If your seeds were saved from heirloom plants, then you can be sure that they will grow true heirlooms unless they were cross pollinated with other carrot varieties. Even wild carrots, such as Queen Anne’s lace, can cross pollinate your garden’s carrot plants, making the seeds that you are able to procure hybridized, and therefore compromised.
The hardest part about growing carrots from seed is getting the seeds to germinate. Carrot seeds need light soil, consistent moisture, and mild temperatures in order to sprout.