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  • Black carrot seeds from Turkey

    Hello, I received a significant quantity of black carrot seeds from Yigit Foods in Turkey 2 years ago. They are mostly very dark purple/black all the way to the core, but do vary. They are grown in Turkey primarily for anti-oxident health food fruit drinks and organic food coloring. I have grown them the past 2 years and have enjoyed eating them like regular carrots, but I don't seem to be able to grow them to seed in Minnesota. We get frost when they are still in flower. Apparently they don't like the very long days here, nor the short season. I'm hoping to find someone in a more southerly latitude who would like to grow some and let some go to seed and return some seed to me before the seeds are no longer viable.
    Janet in Minnesota

  • #2
    Sorry I can't help in your grow-out. But, I have something you might want to try.

    I tried to get some Belgian White carrots to overwinter and go to seed for me, but my winters were too harsh. I left at least 100 Belgian White carrots in the garden to overwinter, but the next spring 98 had died, leaving me with only two surviving white carrots.

    I actually had the shovel in my hand, ready to dig up those two surviving carrots, thinking my experiment had failed. Just as I was ready to thrust in the shovel blade, the thought came forcefully to my head: "Wait! these are the 2% that have the genetics to withstand my harsh winters! Save seed from these two hardy carrots!"

    So I did, and within one generation of carrots, I had selected out genetics for a hardier white carrot.

    (Much to my disappointment, however, I found that the more winter-hardy the carrot, the tougher and less-tasty the carrots are. I had not only selected for winter-hardiness, I had also selected for woodier roots!)

    You might be able to select out some black carrots that DO set seed and mature them in your climate, culling out the ones that don't do so well.


    • #3
      After all, you did mention that there was already some genetic variability in your existing seed stock. Another option might be to cover your seed crop with a plastic tunnel structure in the fall to protect the maturing seed heads.

      I do a similar thing in my seed saving. I am keeping alive a family heirloom cantaloupe which has too long a maturity requirement for my short season. I have to ripen the cantaloupe under clear plastic every fall to protect them from frost.


      • #4
        I have been admiring the very beautiful foliage on my overwintered Oxheart carrots, which are just sending up their seed stalks. I think my farden is in a climate not too unlike Asia Minor. If you want me to give them a shot, blast some seed off to:
        S. Thomas
        P O Box 11193
        Oakland, CA 94611-0193


        • #5
          I am a farmer and carrot breeder in Southern Calif, and would be happy to grow out seed for Janet in Minnesota. We also grow out various multi-colored carrots not found in a seed catalog.

          We have found overwintering carrots without selection to be counter productive, as you will have all sorts of recessive problems- genetic drift, unstable progeny, lack of vigor, propensity to bolt early, amongst others. You really must hand select to get the best genetics.

          Rick Machado
          Machado Farms


          • #6
            i'm interested! i love carrots, any color, lots of variation is very welcome in my garden.

            you could also bring your carrots in for the winter, then select some to replant in the spring


            • #7
              We have a variety of carrot seed we call Pride, which are a cross of African, Asian and European germaplasm, along with a smattering of others.

              We consider them experimental carrots- they are not perfectly stable. A few may bolt early, some may put up greens but small carrots- still a few years away from meeting our expectations. However, about 70% will do just fine.

              They are a cross of red, purple, yellow, white, orange and cream colors. They are unique, drought hardy, strong, vigorous and healthy.

              They are $6.00 for a good size packet, 5-10g, if you would kindly send an SASE, with about a dollar's worth of postage.

              I also would consider trading. The crops we are interested in are

              potato tubers or TPS
              potato onions
              OP broccoli

              My address is

              Machado Farms
              PO Box 655
              Sun City, Ca 92586

              My email is in my profile if you have more questions.

              Rick Machado


              • #8
                Dear Janet in Minnesota ( pbpoulsen)

                We would also like to try to grow black carrots but cannot find the seeds anywhere. I asked Yigit Foods but they told me they do not sell black carrot seeds! Do you have any idea how I can get some seeds? I used to live in California and now I am in Taiwan, which I believe is good for carrot growth.



                • #9
                  Originally posted by Rick Machado View Post
                  We have found overwintering carrots without selection to be counter productive, as you will have all sorts of recessive problems- genetic drift, unstable progeny, lack of vigor, propensity to bolt early, amongst others. You really must hand select to get the best genetics.
                  That is interesting Rick. I planted a red dragon and purple variety of carrot this year (seeds from one of the big, well known retailers) and much of it bolted early, while few produced anything more than tiny carrots.

                  initially i assumed it was the weather, but...

                  It got me wondering - most seed sellers select only for the ability of the plants to produce seed, rather than taste of the vegetable.


                  • #10
                    Thanks for your input on this subject Rick Machado and Thamnophis. The last 2 years I have developed a liking for Purple Dragon carrots and so I have been saving seed and offering it on the SSE. This spring we had an extremely cold and wet June, and some of my Purple Dragon carrots have bolted and gone to seed in the July/August heat wave. Therefore I concluded that the first-year bolting might be a result of the cold June. However, I have culled the ones that are flowering. I did not want to save seed from first-year bloomers!

                    Since I am now seriously trying to save seed of these Purple Dragons, I will for sure be more selective in the roots I over-winter for seed!


                    • #11
                      Hi to both Thamnophis and Kelly-

                      If the carrot that Thamnophis planted were OP carrots, then we need to trace them back to the breeders to see just how well they rouge and select. Most don't do a rigorous selection process, and rouge poorly. The more plants, the more seed, thus more money to the breeder. Bolting early can be a timing problem, where planting later in the spring or early summer can help, or even planting late sumnmer to fall. But really, I have the same problem with broccoli- it's all timing the crop right to avoid bolting. So we are all planting carrots and hand selecting to acclimate and condition the carrots to our cycle and schedule.

                      To Kelly- Sounds like you are right on, depending on just how cold it got. Carrots like about 35-42 F, roughly, and yes, temps that low can trigger vernalization and bolting. You are absolutely correct to rough out early bolters. Good job. I hope you have enough carrots to ensure good diversification genetically, probably 50-100 would do. Pick roots clean, blemish free, whatever shape you like, and the larger the better, up to a point. We keep our seed stock for carrot seed in a rubber trash can, with DE absorbant in layers in the cold room, with a secure lid.


                      • #12
                        I didn't make clear a point- sorry. I said carrots like about 35-42f, I meant they like those temps to start the vernalization process, and thus continue on to flowering. So if Kelly's wet June dropped that low, and stayed that low, then yes, many would bolt.

                        They don't like those temps to grow in- too cold!


                        • #13
                          Good evening Janet. I am in Los Angeles and have been fascinated by the nutritional quality of black carrots and is impressed by how black carrots from Turkey have color close to core. I have talked to a few friends who have very green thumbs and have promised to help me grow and they assure me a good and steady return of seeds for the future. While it may take me over half a year to a year to grow and get enough black carrot seeds for you for the long term, I do hope you could spare me some seeds to try. I am more than willing to pay for them as well. Please kindly let me know.
                          Clive from Los Angeles


                          • #14
                            Black carrots

                            We lived in Lebanon about 10 years ago and a fellow chef brought back black carrots from Syria. We would dearly love to grow some out and then reoffer seed. Anyone know a source for black carrots that are black to the core and not terribly woody?



                            • #15
                              Hello pbpoulsen,
                              If you are still following your thread, I would love to get this seed and help you out at the same time. So, if you would like to send me some seed, please respond to me and i can give you a mailing address. Where in MN are you , I am in Bemidji.

                              In the meantime, you can try something yourself too. Here is how to get seed in short season, this works for all root veges: when the carrot has grown some, dig it out, cut the root off about 1/2 inch below the crwon. Remove most of the leaves except one or two center tender leaves. Replant this. It will grow and seed this year. This process stops the nutrition from accumulating in the root and growing the root. Instead what you will get is thin fibrous roots and all nutrition will go to plant to produce fruit/seed.