Growing Carrots? - Introducing The Laziest Way To A Bumper Crop Of Clean, Fresh, Mouth
Watering, Pest Free Carrots... and the proof!

Starting seeds - brussels sprout seed germinating

I love growing carrots... at least NOW I do!

Disfigured, maggoty, muddy, stunted carrots - does that ring a bell with your experience. That was certainly my experience a lot of the time whilst growing carrots.

Container Gardening Ideas Video - Planting Carrots in Containers

Pots, troughs, growing bags etc. are one of the answers to growing vegetables in your garden if you haven't got the room for a large vegetable plot - like I haven't. It is the ONLY answer if have a balcony and no garden... and great for the kids to grow there own in them too.

Sown carrots in round plant containers

So now, growing carrots is a real pleasure, and that is because I do use plant containers. If you are looking at planting carrots in large amounts then this is not for you... probably. But if you have only a small area to grow this vegetable, carrots are great for growing in containers. In the round pots I can harvest between 30-40 carrots and in the larger square and rectangular plant containers I can produce many more.

The advantages of growing carrots in containers are:

  • No poor soil problems if using shop bought compost.
  • No weeding and digging concerns.
  • And no soil pest problems.

What you do need to keep in mind though is a little more attention will need to be given to watering and feeding.

What kind of plant containers are best for growing carrots?... good question!

I use several different kinds such as large-ish clay pots, plastic square and rectangular plant containers. I find these more than sufficient.

  • Clay pots... 33cm(13") diameter and 30cm(12") deep
  • Rectangular plant containers... 55cm(22") long, 20cm(8") wide and 20cm(8") deep
  • Square plant containers... 32cm(13") square and 30cm(12") deep

Fill the plant containers with peat, mix it with some vermiculite if you have access to some as this helps retain moisture, add a fertilizer like Growmore or an organic one like 'fish blood and bone' then start sowing - see photos and captions below.

Carrot seedlings

Growing carrots in plant containers is no different than growing them in open ground. Make small drills in the growing medium about 13mm(½") deep, thinly sow the carrot seed along the drills, fill in the drills and water using a watering can with a fine rose. The carrot seedlings in the plant container above are just starting to push through - takes about 7 days to germinate.

Carrot seedlings getting bigger

After the carrots have germinated and are about a 25mm(1") tall start the thinning process. You can pull them out or get a small pointed pair of scissors and snip them off at soil level. Thin them so they are about 13mm(½") apart. Later you will thin them to approximately 25m(1") and the thinnings should be big enough to eat - see photo below of me holding some thinnings.

Carrot seed'Nelson'

This is how I play :0). I mess around trying different orientations of sowing - I tell myself that I am trying to maximize growing carrots in the space available, but it's just playing really... who's a sad boy then! Hey think of this though! - to get the kids interested in planting carrots or any vegetable, give them their own pot and get them to sow their name or initials. Incidentally, I think starting seeds in straight rows about 6cm(2½") apart give the largest number of carrots.

Carrot seed 'Bangor'

What sometimes happens is the peat or whatever you use settles around the growing carrots and exposes the neck of the carrot just below where the foliage grows from the carrot. Because it is exposed to the light it turns green - it's no big deal, just cut it off when your preparing them to eat. To prevent it gently sift some more peat etc. over the carrot seedlings. Don't worry if you partially bury them as they will continue to grow.

Carrot seedlings criss-cross pattern

This is a different orientation I tried - sorry just playing again :0).

carrot seed covered with vermiculite

When starting seeds I also tried different ways of covering the seed. In the above picture I sowed the seed as usual but not in a drill, just on the surface then covered them with vermiculite (vermiculite is the mineral name given to hydrated laminar magnesium-aluminum-iron silicate which resembles mica in appearance. It is inert and used extensively in horticulture - glad you asked?). It made no difference to the germination and growth of the carrots.

Carrots in square plant container

In this square plant container the growing carrots are beginning to race away. At this stage you might like to give a liquid feed at weekly intervals.

Carrots in square plant container

Carrots in this round pot are at a similar stage to its adjacent picture. They are a different variety though as indicate by the lighter and more upright growth of the foliage - I think these where a yellow variety. You can also just make out that these are in the criss-cross orientation.

Carrot thinnings

I described how to initially thin out the carrot seedlings in photo 2 above (photos going left to right - you know the routine) but when they are about 15-20cm(6-8")tall then thin them again to about about 25mm(1") apart. If you gauge this right - this will come with experience, you can use the thinnings (not just for your rabbits) as the baby carrots will be delicious. I am holding some carrot thinnings above - and no snide comments about the other thinning that's taking place please.

Harvesting carrots

This is what it's all been about, fresh, clean, crisp carrots - you just can't beat this moment of triumph. Your growing carrots have reached optimum maturity and are now ready to be added to a salad, eaten steamed or roasted along with the joint, ready for that special dinner MMMmmm... just as well it's nearly dinner time as I write this page up. Bon apatite!

Planting carrots - Succesional sowing

In the above photo a selection of growing carrots shows the container plants at different levels of growth. The carrot plants on the right are the oldest to youngest on left. So by successional sowing of the carrot seeds you can have a virtually unbroken supply through the growing season - and why not experiment to see if you can get them growing through the year. You might be surprised with our warmer winters, especially in the south of England and Wales.

Growing carrots - Australian variety ;0)

I like to try more unusual plants from time to time. So when I came across this Australian variety of carrot plant I thought I'd give them a go. I was absolutely amazed at the results.... happy growing! ;0)

So that's how I have succeeded in growing carrots in plant containers, I don't grow them anywhere else now as I find it so much more manageable and productive. Once you have harvested the carrots then just replenish the container with fertilizer and top up with whatever growing medium you are using and off you go again.

Growing carrots

After about 4-5 growing cycles then replace half the growing medium with new and mix it together just to freshen it up. If you begin to experience soil born pest attacks like carrot root fly, then renew all the growing medium with fresh stuff.

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