Learn how to grow carrots of any variety in containers.
You can grow carrots from seed much more easily than you might think.
It’s a good place to start and get your feet wet in gardening, and with minimal care and effort you are almost guaranteed a delicious harvest.
For my garden I always choose the odd colors of carrot seed, such as Purple Haze and Kaleidoscope mix carrot which is a mix of white, yellow and orange carrot seeds in one package. Sometimes you can find a package of only white carrot seeds.
They are different, delicious and beautiful on a veggie platter especially combined with purple ones.
What Types of Carrot Can I Grow in a Container?
There are many varieties of carrot, all with different strengths, sizes and characteristics meant to suit a multitude of conditions.
For container gardening you’ll want to choose a smaller variety with a smaller mature size.
In some stores you’ll find available Purple Dragon carrots and in some areas it’ll be Purple Haze they are similar in their characteristics.
- Purple Dragon carrots are thick and stumpy with a thick purple ring
- Purple Haze is longer and slimmer with a thinner purple ring
I prefer Purple Haze and when you pick them young they are so sweet and delicious.
This is a great way to introduce kids to gardening and might even make carrots more interesting for them to eat.
What About the Soil?
Carrots prefer a looser, lighter soil because this makes it easier for the roots to grow long and straight down.
If the soil is dense then the carrots will be shorter and sometimes growing in odd directions with two or three legs. Should you have rocky soil, the carrots will grow around them and become crooked and bent.
For a small number of tubs or containers then I recommend buying good quality bagged potting soil from your local garden center.
Carrots will grow in any container that is more than 12″ deep. I recommend 18″or 24″. Also a raised bed is fine too.
That’s plenty of room because you will likely be harvesting early (before they get to the size stated on the package) and getting delicious sweet “young” carrots.
Carrots are 60 to 75 days to harvest, they prefer the cooler weather of spring and early fall.
You can plant successive crops every couple of weeks if you have a few containers and then get a longer harvest into fall.
Carrot seeds are teeny and very hard to manage and plant the right amount. It’s very easy to over-plant a carrot container.
The image to the right is an example of an over planted container.
If this happens you’ll need to pull out some of the small ones to leave room for the larger ones to grow.
As the season goes along you can harvest the largest of them allowing growing room for the rest.
Buy a seeder, it’ll save you a lot of wasted seeds.
There are inexpensive little gadgets called “seeders” that you can buy at the garden center or online that help you sprinkle a controlled amount of seeds much more easily. This is the kind I have, shown here.
Some operate with air suction such as this one.
Choose the one you like best, they are really a big help to prevent over seeding.
Sprinkle the seeds on the soil. One package goes quite far and will be enough for 2 large 18″ containers.
Use a gentle sprinkler head ensuring you don’t turn up the soil and disturb the seeds, use a watering can with small holes or a hand sprinkler with a soft spray.
Put 3 or 4 blocks or “pot feet” under the container so it doesn’t sit directly on the ground. This is important for air flow and drainage.
Ensure the container and soil line stays level.
That’s it. Now we wait and water.
If there is no rain, water them enough so that the surface doesn’t dry and form crust and also to keep the top few inches of soil moist.
There should be sprouts popping up in 14 – 17 days. However, the seeds will lie dormant or stop growing if the temperature isn’t high enough, and then resume growing when the temperature rises.
The optimum temperature for them is 16 – 18 degrees Celsius (61 – 64 degrees Fahrenheit).
Keep them lightly watered but not too wet while they grow, 60 to 75 days later you’ll start to pick the size carrots you can use for dinner and snacking on. Wash off the soil and you won’t even have to peel them, they will have a deliciously irresistible earthy flavor.
This should be enough instruction to get you going when you want to learn how to grow carrots in containers.
Please leave a comment below if you need more info or guidance.