Author Topic: Large-Seeded Carrots  (Read 210 times)

Ferdzy

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Large-Seeded Carrots
« on: 2020-05-27, 07:18:11 AM »
Back in the day when we were all hanging out on Homegrown Goodness, I lamented the difficulty we have been having getting carrots to germinate in any kind of timely manner, and speculated as to whether we might get better germination if the seeds were bigger.

So last fall I sifted our seeds into a larger seeded group and smaller seeded group. They were planted on the 18th - nine days ago now, and began to appear on about day six. This is astoundingly fast and good germination in general, and I attribute it to the extremely unseasonable warm weather we have been having. So at least part of our problem, I would deduce, is that we have been insisting on planting them too early. As to the differences from seed size: YES! The large seeded section was clearly up the earliest, by a couple of days, and with much more consistency than the others.

I am, however, a bit perplexed by some of the results. We planted one section each of the larger and smaller seeds saved from carrots grown by us last year, some of which would be offspring of other saved carrots etc. The other two sections planted were Amsterdam Maxi and Flakkee (Autumn King). Flakkee, being a large, robust carrot, drew the outside position where there is the most competition from weeds. It was well-cleared before we planted.

Logically, the Amsterdam Maxi and the Flakkee should have been a mix of larger and smaller seeds since I presume the seed sellers don't sort them by size the way we did.  So I would expect them to have come up spottily but at the same time in comparison to the large seeded from their own large seeds within the mix. They did not. If anything, they are trailing the small seeded home-grown batch. The seed is a couple of years old at this point, but it's certainly germinating and carrot seed seems to last well for beyond the age they are in my experience so I don't think age would be the reason. I suppose that our seeds are just that much more adapted to our soil after even one generation. (Most of the carrots saved for seed last year were from named varieties with just a few grown from a previous batch of our own seed thrown in.)

Now we will see how these carrots actually do as carrots; hopefully they are not all wild carrot crosses or something dire like that. Don't think so. I can never eliminate those crosses completely but they seem to be down to a dull roar.

Andrew Barney

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Re: Large-Seeded Carrots
« Reply #1 on: 2020-05-28, 08:57:48 AM »
what an interesting experiment and even more interesting breeding goal! I'll be interested to see where this goes. i never would have thought about breeding carrots to have larger seeds, but in general crops with larger seeds are easier to grow.


I found with previous years carrot growing that many revert to puny little wild-type carrots when not in their preferred soil. I honestly dont think it was any contamination with queens ann lace from my seed sources, so i must conclude that it is environmental and that carrots revert easily when stressed and not heavily selected for adaption.

Ferdzy

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Re: Large-Seeded Carrots
« Reply #2 on: 2020-05-29, 02:58:09 PM »
Okay; I'm not sure if I'm getting a little crossing or if some of my carrots are just reverting to wild types. Possibly a bit of both; it's not too many of them - less than 5% I'd say. To some degree it's also just wild carrot seed that was already in the bed, because they are ubiquitous around here.

We'll see if I can actually breed a carrot with larger seeds. It may be that when I'm sifting the seeds what I'm getting is, for example, the seeds from around the outside of the umbel which had a bit more space when growing and got bigger. I expect there's always going to be size range going on, although maybe it can all be shifted just a bit to the larger. Of course, how long have people been growing carrots? If it was that easy, I would assume it would have been done already.

Adrian

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Re: Large-Seeded Carrots
« Reply #3 on: 2020-05-29, 03:29:42 PM »
For my carrots i use a cold frame with a potting soil fin without stones and theirent germinate very fast. And you could  protected your carrots of accidental hybridation.The potting soil must keep humid.Under the cold frame the air is more humid but the ground is not exposed at the wind. Warning at the sunshine!
« Last Edit: 2020-05-29, 03:39:30 PM by Adrian »

Ferdzy

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Re: Large-Seeded Carrots
« Reply #4 on: 2020-05-29, 04:55:39 PM »
We don't use an actual cold frame, but we do cover them with row-cover (cloth) AND this year Mr. Ferdzy put up what we refer to as a hoop house. Electrical conduit bent over to form an arch, then covered with 6 mil vapour barrier plastic sheeting. Held in place with bricks, and taken on and off according to the weather. It warmed up extremely suddenly just after we planted this year. We have had significantly more heat in the last week than I think we got in all of last summer. A storm moved through this afternoon as part of a cold-front and dropped the temperature from over 30C to about 15C. Next week looks like being this more seasonal to slightly cool summer. We sure did get a big boost in germinating ALL our seeds though.