Producing Carrot Seed in Isolation Structures
Chris Thoreau, MSc. Candidate, Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems, Faculty of Land and Food Systems; Program Coordinator, Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security at FarmFolkCityFolk
Dr. Martin Entz, University of Manitoba; Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, Jen Cody and Craig Evans, Growing Opportunities Farm Community Co-op, Nanaimo, BC; Kristjan Johansson, Sharing Farm, Richmond, BC.
About the Project
A mostly unknown fact is that carrots are one of the more complex seed crops to produce. First, the crop is a biennial, meaning it requires two years to grow out and has specific overwintering storage requirements. Secondly, domesticated carrot will readily cross with Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota var. carota), a progressively common weed in British Columbia. Complete isolation between the wild and domesticated varieties is necessary to produce true-to-type seed. Isolation structures also allow farmers to produce different varieties of carrot seed in close proximity.
The long-term objectives of this project are to:
1) Increase the viability of growing organic and ecologically-grown carrot seed in high-tunnel isolation structures. This approach is meant to eliminate cross-pollination with Queen Anne’s Lace.
2) In addition to addressing the reality of cross-pollination with Queen Anne’s Lace in British Columbia, the outcomes generated by this research will also point to best practices in increasing the yield of regionally-adapted seed through the potential of growing out multiple carrot varieties without cross-pollinating.
This research complements the work of the BC Eco Seed Co-op, the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, and the UBC Farm Seed Hub to increase the quality, quantity and diversity of ecologically-grown vegetable seed in Canada.
External Links and Publications
More Project Information on the BC Seed Trials Website.
Banner Photo credit: BC Seed Trials, Chris Thoreau