How to Save Carrot Seed

Save Carrot Seed Like a Pro

Here’s a great video from Seed Savers Exchange that will answer all of your questions about how to save carrot seed.  Dr. John Navazio is a veteran organic seed saver, with a PhD in plant breeding from the University of Wisconsin.

Here he shows you the different stages of seed maturity in carrot flowers (or umbels).  The videography is great and you really get a good visual example to know when the seed is ready to take.

As you’ll see, the only tools you’ll need for this task are two hands and a cookie sheet.  John has some really nice screens for separating the seed from the burrs and dust, but you can manage just fine without those.

Cleaning Your Carrot Seed

When you save carrot seed, the hardest part is usually separating the seeds from the rest of the drying plant.  You don’t want to store all of the dust and debris from the dead flower.  And if you’ve ever handled carrot seed, you know that we’re talking about some really tiny bits and pieces.

In this video, John uses screens to separate the seeds from the dust and dead plant matter.  That’s a great approach, but many of us don’t have a set of screens for this purpose.

One alternative is to keep rubbing and blowing the seeds, as shown in this video – indefinitely, until the seeds are separated enough for storage.  Using an electric fan to blow away the dust is another popular technique.  With tiny seeds like these, you won’t want to put your work directly in front of the fan, but arrange it somewhat to the side of the fan, so that you only get a gentle breeze to blow away the dust and crumbling leaf bits.

Storing Saved Carrot Seeds

All of the carrot seeds in the world won’t help you if you can’t find them next season at planting time.  Check out this helpful video Marjory made to show you how she stores her saved seeds: Organizing Your Seed Collection with Marjory Wildcraft.


Thanks to John Navazio and the Seed Savers Exchange Heritage Farm for producing and sharing this helpful video.

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  • David R. says:

    Leaving carrots in the ground to flower and produce seed the second year sounds fine in a mild climate but it’s not so easy if you’re farther north.
    How hardy are carrots? I am in zone 3a and some of my neighbours claim to have left carrots in the ground over winter but deer dig them up and eat them. I’ve tried it but they are killed by the extreme cold, even when buried under a foot of snow.
    I tried a heritage type: “Danvers Half-Long” a couple of years ago. They didn’t survive.
    Does the hardiness vary depending on the type of carrot?

    The only way I’ve able to produce seeds was to dig up the carrots in the fall and replant them at the same time as my Dahlias and Glads.

  • JJM says:

    Familiar with the screen method. Looked for the video of using a breeze (winnowing?) and disappointed it wasn’t here.

    1. Michael Ford says:

      Hi – There’s a short example in the first 30 seconds or so of this video here: https://thegrownetwork.com/video-seed-saving-advice-for-beginners/. Hope that helps… I’ll look for a better tutorial on that!

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