So few modern folk seem to recognize the fern-like foliage of carrots in a garden setting that I always get a kick out of going that one step further and showing off carrot flowers.
Like many vegetables, carrots only attain great stature in their old age, shooting up to over a metre tall as they flush out the ‘umbrils’ that ultimately bear the seeds when the flower heads die off.
If carrot blooms were lenses, they would start out convex, run through ‘flat’ than turn concave as they dry up. Very often all stages of the flower-to-seed process can be seen in the same clump of carrots.
When the seed heads have dried out completely, snip them off and put them in a bucket. Rubbing the seed heads between gloved palms releases the seed and separates it from the flower stalks, which can be thrown away, allowing the seeds to be ‘winnowed’ by gently blowing on them in a shallow dish.
Freshly collected carrot seeds have ‘beards’ all around them; these aren’t seen in commercially-supplied carrot seed because they get rubbed off during seed processing. In nature, these ‘carrot beards’ are said to help the carrot seed dig its way into the earth, helping germination.