How to Grow Carrots in Containers

How to Grow Carrots in Containers

Carrots of any type or colour are a great seed to get you or the kids started in gardening. They require little skill, minimal care and minimal effort. You’re almost guaranteed a delicious harvest in the late summer.

There are many odd colours of carrot seed, such as Purple Haze carrots that you’ll very rarely see fresh grown in the stores. If you shop at farmers markets or organic markets you may see some purple carrots but that’s about it, all the other odd coloured ones you’ll have to grow yourself.

Certified Organic Seed, White SatinSeed types such Kaleidoscope mix are great and very interesting. It’s a mixture of white, yellow and orange carrot seeds in one package.

Fun Idea:

Before planting, mix the purple carrot seeds and Kaleidoscope mix carrot seeds in your seeder of choice and then start planting!

Doing it this way makes it a super fun way to grow and then pick, especially for kids because you never know which colour is going to pop up next!

There are so many different, delicious and beautiful types of carrot that you can grow, that the choices are almost endless. You can use the harvest on a summer veggie platter and create a gorgeous rainbow and amaze your guests. 

Types of Carrot

There are many varieties of carrots, all with different sizes and characteristics meant to suit a multitude of growing conditions and needs.

The main types are shown in the image below: Imperator, Chantenay and Nantes.

Main Types of Carrot

For container gardening you’ll want to choose a smaller variety with a smaller mature size and fewer days to maturity.Purple Haze Carrots

  • Purple Dragon carrots are thicker and a bit stumpy with a thick purple ring, like Nantes
  • Purple Haze is longer and slimmer with a thinner purple ring, like Imperator

I prefer Purple Haze because they are slimmer and have a softer texture. Also, when you pick them young, they’re 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.

Soil Needs

Carrots prefer a looser, lighter soil with some perlite mixed in. This makes it easier for the roots to grow long and straight down.

For a small number of tubs or containers then I recommend buying good quality bagged potting soil for containers from your local garden center.

If the soil is dense, the carrots will struggle to grow through it. They will be shorter, more stumpy and sometimes growing in odd directions with two or three legs.

If they run into a rock or are grown in rocky soil then the carrots sprouts will grow around them and become crooked and bent in crazy ways.

Type of Container

Carrot Sprouts in a Container

All varieties of carrots will be happy growing in any container that is more than 12″ deep. I recommend 18″or 24″deep. Using a raised bed is great too.

These methods offer plenty of room for them to grow and also you will likely be harvesting them early anyway and getting delicious, sweet young carrots.

Carrots are usually 60 to 75 days to harvest depending on variety. They prefer the cooler weather of spring and early fall to be planted.

You can plant successive crops every couple of weeks in the spring and late summer as long as you have enough time before things freeze.

Planting

Carrot seeds are very tiny and hard to manage. Once sprinkled on the soil they can be hard to see so it becomes difficult to know when you’ve planted the right amount. It’s very easy to over plant a carrot container.Luster Leaf Dial Seed Sower

If you over plant a container you’ll know it when the sprouts come up. If this happens, let them grow a bit and see just how many come up.

Then you’ll need to carefully cut out some of the small sprouts with scissors to leave room for the larger ones to grow.

Important Note

Use sharp scissors or fine pruners to cut them off at ground level. The root will die and feed the soil while allowing the stronger seedlings room to grow.

Don’t pull them out! There is high risk of damaging or pulling out neighbouring sprouts and killing them too. It’s best to just snip them off.


Buy a SeederRainbow Carrot Seeds

Why? It’ll save you a lot of wasted seeds. 

There are inexpensive little gadgets called “seeders” that you can buy easily right here that will help you sprinkle a controlled amount of seeds. 

The one to the right is effective by using a succession of small holes for sprinkling through different sizes of seeds. 

There are more sophisticated seeders as well such as this one: the Tenax Precision Air Suction Seeder will allow you to completely control how many seeds are applied to the soil.

They are really a big help to prevent over seeding, choose the one you like the best. 

Planting the Seeds

One package of seeds will go quite far and will be enough for 2 large 18″ containers. Even I can’t resist putting more seeds than that in two containers.

Once they’re planted and covered with a thin layer of soil, use a gentle sprinkler to water them. Doing this ensures 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.

Days to Sprout

They don’t need tons of water but if there is no rain, water them enough so that the surface doesn’t dry and form crust.

It’s good to keep the top few inches of soil moist. Then if the outside temperature is right, then you should see sprouts popping up in 14 – 17 days. 

It’s important to note that the seeds will lie dormant or stop growing right where they are if the temperature dips or isn’t yet high enough to meet their ideal growing temperature. The optimum temperature for them is 16° – 18° C  which is 61° – 64° F.

They will resume growing as though nothing happened when the temperature rises into this range. 

Keep them lightly watered but not too wet while they grow. Then 60 – 75 days from planting you’ll be able to start to picking the size carrots you can use for dinner and snacking on. It’s really hard to wait that long!

Enjoy Eating ThemHugging Carrots

Select the largest greens and then gently pull them up and wash off the soil. You won’t even have to peel them, they′ll have a deliciously irresistible, earthy flavour.

They also cook faster than store bought carrots, so watch them closely if you add them in to dinner.

This should be enough instructions to get you going when you want to learn how to grow carrots in containers or raised beds.

Please leave a comment below if you need additional help getting your delicious carrot garden started.


Buy Carrot Seeds from DirectGardening.com


Featured Product Links

Tenax Precision Air Suction Seeder

Dial-a-Size Seeder

Rainbow Carrot Seed Mix

Kaleidoscope Carrot Mix

Pure White Satin Carrot Seeds 



Comments

How to Grow Carrots in Containers — 14 Comments

  1. I’m going to plant my carrot seeds in a container/planter. I just want to know what is the best type of soil to use to plant the seeds in the wooden whiskey barrels? Potting soil or a vegetable mix? Thanks

    • I store carrots in a plastic bag in the bottom drawer of the fridge. If you’ve grown the carrots yourself or bought them with the greens still attached then cut that part off before storing them, the greens will speed up the wilting process. They should last quite a while and stay crisp.

  2. this article has me pumped up to start growing! this will be my first time growing carrots! it’s still too warm in central FL for them right now, but hopefully the weather will cool down soon (we’re finally in the high 70s-low 80s). happy gardening!

    • Glad to hear it!! It’s fun and easy to grow them, I’m sure you’ll enjoy doing it and eating the harvest too! What seed types are you going to choose?
      You’re right, waiting for it to get a little cooler would be better. Let me know how it goes!

    • That’s wonderful! I’m so glad they enjoyed it and had fun with it :) Eating carrots is so much more fun when you grow them yourself!
      What seed variety (or varieties) are you planning on trying?

  3. I just recently planted some veggies in pots. My cukes are already ~5 1/2 inches long. I also have two tomato plants, parsley, carrots, pepper, kale and dill.

    • 90 degrees might be a touch too hot for them, they prefer the temperature range of 50 – 85 degrees.
      The ideal temperature for them to sprout is 80 degrees.

      You can definitely try to sprout them while it’s hot, but you’ll likely will get better results after the weather cools a little bit.
      In most areas, there’s enough time before winter and carrots can be planted as a fall crop as well.

    • That’s awesome, glad to hear you’re giving carrots a try! They will be just fine, they still have lots of time to grow.

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