Carrot in Clay Landrace

“My days as a dairy producer”! Ha ha ha ha! That’s so well put! Yes, I know exactly what you mean. There have only been about two years over the past twelve in which I wasn’t either pregnant or breastfeeding.

No, but I will check into that variety. Thank you for the tip.

Just in time for the Easter Bunny, I pulled up all my carrots.

I’ve attached a picture below.

I gathered the best ones and set them aside. I selected for size, color, taste, no pest damage, no cracking, top size, and top strength (no break when pulled).

I’ve attached a picture of the best.

I replanted those about a foot apart, placing the best quality near the center.

The rest got cut up and bagged for many meals to come.

Currently, the ones now in the garden are maybe 17 to 18 carrots with most still having the tops, mostly limp. I wonder if I should cut off the tops?

This is the second time I’ve grown carrots and first time I’ve ever transplanted them and first time to let go to seed. Most of this is trial and error.

I learned a lot today by observation. I learned carrot tops size is not a reliable way to judge carrot root size. I also learned there was an occasional soapy tasting carrot so I had to eat a bite of maybe 200 raw carrots today as I was processing.

That’s all for now. I am open to suggestions or ideas.


Here’s an update:

Of the 17 or 18 carrots I selected and replanted, most sent up new tops. Things were going great until recently.

We’ve had a lot of rain for a couple weeks. I recently noticed things going wrong. It turns out many of the carrot roots began turning into mush; then the tops would just fall over, dead as a door nail.

I stuck my finger in a couple of the mushy roots. It had the consistency of pulpy carrot juice. I looked for signs of bugs. I didn’t notice anything eating it. I suspect poor drainage is the cause. This has been an unintentional selection factor. Perhaps the survivors have greater moisture rot resistance.

I have 4 remaining carrot plants from my selection process described earlier on this topic.

I’ve also volunteered to steward carrot seeds. If I manage to get a few thousand seeds from these 4 plants, that would be decent start to filling up the seed bag to share with the community.

I’ve also started a new batch of carrots, 25 varieties. I planted each variety by itself in little rows and marked it. The goal is to save the best 2 roots of each variety. That would net 50 roots for breeding.

I plan to not let these carrots reach full maturity. I plan to let them grow until around the middle of July. Then the plan is to put them in the fridge for 45 days to vernalize the roots.

Then the plan is to get them back in the ground around the beginning of September. Our average first frost is around the middle of November. Hopefully the expected 75 or so frost free day’s remaining will give enough time for these roots to form new tops, set flowers and pollinate.

If this plan works, I should be swimming in carrot seeds to share with the community.

That sounds fantastic! I bet it’ll work!

Carrots turned out to be delightfully easy for me to save seeds from. I just left them in the ground instead of harvesting them in the fall, and they flowered and gave me a whole lot of seeds in the summer. The seeds smell so good – they smell like fresh carrots.

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The seed (of Queen Ann’s lace) is used as a natural birth control, as it prevents implantation. Many naturalists/ herbalists will recommend it as a natural option.
I do not think carrotroots (domesticated) have the same properties, but not sure about the seeds.

Wow, your soil looks nice and crumbly! Soil here in eastern PA is serious clay, like when you water it it forms a sort of crust that is hard to dig your fingers through you kind of need a tool, a bit of a problem for seed growing through for that matter. I had some corn that got stuck under the crust and I had to dig it up and help it out to the daylight. Corn birthing :rofl:
As for carrots, i am tryong a variety called Oxheart, they are supposed to be able to be grown in heavy clay soil, will report back IF it actually works!

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Cool, I think I bought that and a variation of it recommended by someone else in this topic. I don’t think I received the oxheart seed in time for this planting.

Thanks for the encouragement. Now I just need some luck. I’ve never attempted planting carrots in spring because of our high temperatures in summer here in South MS. This whole thing is an experiment.

I am calling it. The first batch, landrace attempt was a complete failure. Here’s an image of what is left of the original selection.

I think it’s due to the rain. Here’s the forecast.

Fortunately, I didn’t put all my eggs in one basket. Here is an image of the second landrace attempt I took earlier today.

It’s actually storming right now and has been storming for an hour and a half. The trenches out there are currently flooded.

Many are knocked over due to high winds. I have decided that I need to be a lot more relaxed when doing my final selection on these. Currently I have been culling for low resistance to wind damage.

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Plant 10 times what you want to harvest. It makes it easier to lose some. You are doing good. Im still attempting to harvest my first carrot seeds in clay.

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This is a picture I took a minute ago.

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This is one tricky thing about landracing. Even with an established population that is worth growing you will have the occasional crop failure (papered over by holding back some of your seed in reserve every year).
But what if that once in a decade horrible year happens the first time you try to grow the crop? Can you really be sure anything is worth growing or not unless you have tried for multiple years? The same goes for being unusually "lucky’ with conditions for a crop the first year, which fail to repeat for the next decade of trying.


This does not look good for getting carrots up.

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Looks like your clay content is similar to mine. That is how things can get here.

I always thought that carrots need a winter (very cold temperatures) before they will flower.


That’s very true. Also, sometimes a first-time crop failure can be because of a simple mistake you made because you didn’t have experience with that species yet.

Like, say, pulling out all your carrot seedlings because you thought they were grass. (Ask me how I know . . .)

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I developed a population of cool season annual carrots, sowed in autumn and flowering in late spring in my subtropical climate. It is impossible to keep them alive through summer with our crazy heat/humidity. I believe other tropical vegetable breeders have done the same. I’ve given up on it though despite early progress- too much work for the amount of yield in the end on my cracking clay soil.


Even in warm summer/temperate climates, I’ve always had far better luck planting carrots as soon as the heat broke in the early fall and overwintering than planting in the spring and carrying them through the heat, both for eating quality and seed (and space usage). It was always a little dicey in Oklahoma - had to bury them in leaves for the coldest weeks of January and February - but still more productive than spring planting. And easier to get them up. (I did get a batch up in Southern California in February a few years ago, in spite of Santa Ana winds doing their best to dry things out. And then a skunk came through and tilled them up 2 days after they germinated. Exactly 2 plants survived.)

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