We have a few problems here saving carrot seed as we are over run with queen anne's lace and it crosses, but there are a few varieties of carrots that I would like to get seed from, and I have decided to try isolating some heads in bags and hand pollinating to get our own seed.
Most of the varieties I'm interested in are heirloom, however there is one "F1" hybrid type that looks good called Purple Haze. (Leastways both places here selling it call it hybrid, although there are a few sites other countries saying it is heirloom) There is an heirloom variety similar called Purple Dragon, but the purple colour in it only goes just below the skin and Purple Haze has colour right down to the core, so obviously has a lot more of the healthy purple pigment in it.
Unfortunately being a hybrid variety the results from keeping seed are doubtful and I don't really want to have to go and buy the thing to find out its not going to work.
Apparently hybrid varieties of carrot can do any one of three things ... one, go to seed but not breed true to type, two go to seed but produce infertile seed, and three not go to seed at all. So I'm wondering if anyone here has tried keeping seed from hybrid varieties, particularly "Purple Haze", and how they got on.
If it will go to seed and be fertile maybe one could breed for the more purple ones and get it to breed true after a few generations but thats fairly long term for carrots and I'd like to know how it goes before I consider that.
Doe anyone know how this goes??
Hi Stacey, Its my inderstanding that you cannot save seed from hybrids if you want to grow the plant true to type. There are people that have saved seed from hybrid and over the years selected the ones that look most like the parent and continued to save these....this can take over 10years however and seems like alot of effort for a seed that could even revert back to one of its original parents, not exactly the result you would want. Perhaps you could try caging your carrots?? We were growing carrot seed of three diferent varities and they were only about 1km apart and didnt cross: ) hope this helps.
You could try asking Koanga Institute and see what they have to say.
I know Tony Mallard in christchurch has been saving his own hybrid carrot seed, and it comes out fertile and mostly true to type, but does need quite intensive roguing. If its only F1, I reckon it would be okay - but I think it would take quite a few generations to stabilize - but that might help a bit with producing a stable, more purple variety.