Growing Container Carrots
Container grown carrots are a great option for both gardeners short on space or beginners alike. In fact, beginner or not, growing carrots in containers is a lot easier than growing carrots in the ground or in a raised bed. A container garden approach to growing carrots means gardeners avoid common issues such as pests, poor soil or garden weeds.
So, if you’re looking for a simple method for growing carrots and you’re not looking to harvest huge amounts (a yield greater than 40 carrots) then continue reading these tips for growing carrots in pots…
What is the Best Container to Grow Carrots?
When choosing the best container, depth is the most important factor to consider. Carrots can be grown in most container shapes ranging between 6 to 15 inches in depth.
Check the specific depth requirements according to the variety of carrots you’re growing.
Most carrot varieties require a minimum container depth of 12 inches, with 1.5 to 2 cm of spacing available between seedlings and the container edge. Good spacing and depth will allow carrots to grow well and fully develop.
How to Recycle Old Containers
If you’re recycling (or ‘repurposing’) a pot or container to grow carrots, make sure it provides plenty of drainage by drilling holes into the bottom. Growing mediums without efficient drainage will cause carrots to rot from the waterlogged soil.
How to Choose the Right Variety of Carrots
Perfectly shaped cone-like carrots are not a guarantee when growing your own. However, choosing a suitable variety, especially when growing in containers, should give you a good chance for a great harvest.
Shorter varieties, such as Chantaney, Oxheart and Round carrots are ideal for container growing. Oxheart varieties have roots only 2 to 3 inches long at maturity.
Round carrots such as Parmex or Rondo are perfect for gardeners trying to avoid funny shaped carrots.
Chantaney carrots are the best choice, with ‘red cored’ varieties being a popular cultivar. They have the classic carrot characteristics, broad fat shoulders with a tapered triangular yet blunt tip. Growing between 4 to 5 inches, their short length is perfect for growing in container gardens. Ideally planted in spring, Chantaney carrots are best suited to containers between 12 to 15 inches in depth.
What is the Best Soil to Grow Carrots in?
Carrots grow easily in loose lightweight soil, with good drainage and free from twigs, stones or any other hard bits. Soil or compost that is not smooth, but rather, has obstructions such as stones, will cause carrots to grow either hard, oddly shaped or with 2 or 3 legs.
It’s best to buy a good quality potting soil to use in your containers, or alternatively make your own. Make sure the soil’s pH is between 6 to 7.
How to Plant Carrot Seeds in Containers
1. Add Your Soil & Lightly Water
Add soil or compost to the chosen container and lightly water to create moisture.
2. Make Planting Holes
Create planting holes, 1.5cm deep with spacing 1.5cm apart from other holes and the edge of your container.
3. Add 3 Seeds to Each Hole
Sow your carrot seeds thinly, filling each hole with 3 carrot seeds. Then, cover with soil and water again sparingly.
4. Check Your Seed Sprouting Time
If you are growing Chantaney carrots, seedlings should appear after 14 to 21 days. Otherwise, check the sprouting time for the carrot variety you are growing.
5. Keep Your Soil Well-Watered & Moist
As the seedlings develop and the plant grows, keep the soil well-watered and moist to prevent the roots from splitting and to maximise growth. However, do not soak or make the soil soggy.
How Long does it take Carrots to Grow?
Once planted, you should start to see your seeds sprout at around 14 to 21 days. They will then be ready to eat in around 12 to 16 weeks. Depending on the variety of carrot you are growing.
Check the carrot seed packet for details.
What to Feed your Carrots
Carrots grow best in full sunlight and well-drained soil. SO ensure your container has holes in the bottom, and is in the sunlight most of the day.
When your seedlings reach an inch tall with their first set of true leaves, we recommend feeding them with Deep Rooter. Deep Rooter stimulates root growth, which in this case happens to be the vegetable itself. Longer roots means a stronger plant.
Wait a week before adding a fertiliser as to not overload the plant. SeaFeed Xtra is a fertiliser that contains essential plant ingredients that will improve the general health of the plants.
Seafeed Xtra and Deep Rooter should then be used weekly on separate days.
Ground-grown carrots may be subject to pests like carrot fly or plant diseases such as powdery mildew or root rot. However, carrots grown in pots benefit from container growing protection.
Short on Growing Space?
Check out these articles for space-saving tips in the garden: