I planted several different types of carrots this year, and as always, had pretty terrible germination rates. I don't know why I keep planting them…
This year, I discovered carrots growing in an area where I definitely had not planted them - and they were growing tightly packed, as if someone spilled an entire packet or two of seeds in a small area. Did I have a random Johnny Carrot-Seed scattering carrot seeds in unusual places? Then I remembered that I had planted carrots near there a couple of years ago and one that I didn't pick in one season came back the following year and flowered and went to seed.
Everything I've read said that carrots that come up on their own from carrots gone to seed aren't any good, but since they were quite happy and I didn't have many of any other kind due to low germination, I thinned them and let them stay. I was going to leave them in the ground with a layer of mulch and pick them as needed throughout the winter, which is what many gardening experts say to do, but many gardening experts live in places that receive more moisture than we do.
As you can see, the ground near my carrots is already pretty hard. I was going to water one last time on Thursday night so I could pick them easily on Saturday, but the irrigation company had already turned off the water. So they stayed dry.
I've been digging carrots for the last couple weekends. Sometimes all I had to do was pull them, but sometimes, the ground was already too hard and they didn't want to come up, so I had to get my garden shovel involved.
Some of these carrots are ones I planted from seed and some of theses are the ones that came up from the plant that went to seed.
I'm guessing I have about four or five pounds of carrots in my fridge, most of which are from the one carrot that went to seed.
I probably don't need to say it, but yes, I deliberately left a couple in the ground in hopes they'll go to seed next summer. Sometimes, you just gotta take what you can get.