How to Grow Carrots in Containers
Carrots of any type or color are a great seed to get you started 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 colors of carrot seed, such as Purple Haze carrots that you never see in the stores. If you shop at farmers markets you may see some purple carrots but that’s about it, all the other colored ones you’ll have to grow yourself.
Fun Idea: Mix purple carrot seeds and Kaleidescope mix carrot seeds in your seeder of choice and then start planting!
These are a fun to grow and pick, especially for kids because you never know which color is going to pop up next!
There are so many different, delicious and beautiful types of carrot that you can grow and use on a summer veggie platter display to create a gorgeous rainbow and amaze your guests.
Types of Carrot
There are so many varieties of carrots, all with different sizes and characteristics meant to suit a multitude of growing conditions and tastes.
The main types are shown in the image below:
Imperator, Chantenay and Nantes.
- 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 because they are slimmer and have a softer texture. Also, 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.
It’s ok as well to choose carrots with a longer number of days to maturity and then just pick them before the days to maturity number is met. They will be sweeter and very tasty.
Carrots prefer a looser, lighter soil with some perlite mixed in. This makes it easier for the roots to grow long and straight down.
If the soil is dense then the carrots 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.
For a small number of tubs or containers then I recommend buying good quality bagged potting soil for containers from your local garden center.
Type of Container
All varieties of carrots will be happy growing in any container that is more than 12″ deep. I recommend 18″or 24″deep and a raised bed is great too.
These methods offer plenty of room for them to grow because you will likely be harvesting 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.
Carrot seeds are very teeny-teeny 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.
If you over plant a container you’ll know it when the sprouts come up. If this happens you’ll need to carefully cut out some of the small sprouts with scissors to leave room for the larger ones to grow.
Use sharp scissors or fine pruners and 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 the risk of damaging or pulling out neighboring sprouts and killing them too, best to snip them off.
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 easily.
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 may seeds are applied to the soil.
They are really a big help to prevent over seeding.
Planting the Seeds
One package of seeds will go quite far and will be enough for 2 large 18″ 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
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. They don’t need tons of water.
It’s important to know that the seeds will lie dormant or stop growing where they are if the temperature dips or isn’t high enough to meet their ideal growing temperature.
They will resume growing when the temperature rises. The optimum temperature for them is 16° – 18° C (61° – 64° F).
Keep them lightly watered but not too wet while they grow. 60 – 75 days from planting you’ll be able to start to picking the size carrots you can use for dinner and snacking on.
Pick them and wash off the soil. You won’t even have to peel them, they′ll 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 or raised beds.
Please leave a comment below if you need additional help getting your delicious carrot garden started.