Once you've become an experienced vegetable gardener, the next logical step is to save the seeds of your own crops for future planting - and future food.
Each plant can produce more than 1,000 flowers, so for every carrot you allow to be sown now, you could be planting a thousand in the future.
Looking at things this way, it's easy to do the math and realize that saving seeds is worth the extra effort required for this gardening project.
In order to get the highest quality harvest from your future garden, you now need to perform several important steps with your existing crop.
Since these root vegetables are biennial plants, saving their seeds will take up to two years. In order to successfully grow the right type of carrots, you will need to start in the first year.
Saving seeds is, of course, related to growing food, but it is also related to preserving the genetics of the particular variety you prefer - so that you can ensure more predictable results.
In order to produce plants with the characteristics you desire, you need to isolate the plants you choose from other varieties.
These plants will pollinate when pollen from other cultivars floats in the air, or - as is most likely the case - through insects that stop after a single flower to feed on the nectar and move the pollen around.
If there are other carrot varieties growing within a certain radius, pollen from those varieties may fertilize your flowers, resulting in unexpected and possibly unwanted characteristics when planting those seeds.
For the home gardener, the easiest way to isolate carrot seeds and keep the next generation predictable is to keep your distance.
Professional growers sometimes use carrot seed isolation cages, but using these means the grower must either manually pollinate the flowers or introduce pollinating insects in a controlled manner - neither of which is a simple process.
Many commercial growers rely on sparse isolation, by creating areas dedicated to growing certain varieties over large areas of land, rather than using isolation cages.
JE Ells and D. Whiting at Colorado State University recommend isolating carrots within a 1/4-mile radius. However, the radius needed to successfully isolate carrots will vary depending on obstacles such as buildings and vegetation, as well as the local climate (how wet and windy the weather is).
In humid places like Virginia, a radius of one mile is recommended, while in more arid areas, such as parts of the Southwest, where dry, hot winds can disrupt airborne pollen and discourage insect activity, 1/4 mile may be too large.
Because of these variables, I recommend that you start with a 1/4 mile radius and try small batches at your location to see if the seeds you save are producing.
You may need to coordinate with your nearest neighboring gardener on this project. They may be more than willing to help you out for a year and plant the same varieties as you - especially if you are willing to share your seeds.