How to grow carrots in containers

Actually growing carrots in a pot or container is a convenient way to produce your own fresh root vegetables, even if you don’t have the acreage for a full-fledged vegetable garden. One large round planter can yield up to thirty to forty carrots per harvest, depending on the weather, variety, and how many you’ve planted. Just find an area in your garden, patio, porch that can receive at least 6 or more hours of full sunlight. Even if it is cloudy, it will receive the UV light the carrots will need to grow sufficiently. Continue reading to learn how to grow carrots in containers.

Step one: Research

You need to carry out a research on which variety of carrots that you will like to grow. It is advice to stick to radish-shaped, ball, mini or Chanteray varieties when growing in containers as their taproot is not as long as other varieties. Some gardeners preferred varieties like ‘Romeo’, ‘Paris Market’, ‘Babette’ or ‘Hercules’. Nevertheless, there are tons of different varieties to pick from and it is always fun to look through seed catalogs in the winter months to plan for spring planting.

Step two: Get The Planting Materials

Get all the needed material to start planting – seeds, containers, potting soil, trowel, gloves, etc. When planting the carrot seeds it is ideal to plant in rows or broadcast them across a larger area (more like a grouping than row). When shopping for your containers try and find those containers that are wider and shorter. Since most of the carrot varieties will not reach more than 5 inches long, a container that is twice will work fine. You will want to have as much surface area as possible. When buying potting soil, every gardener has their own preference, but it is best to buy the soil that is mixed for container use. I prefer not to have any additives such as fertilizer when going vegetables because growing organically is preferred and controlling the amount of application is important.   

Step three: Prepare the Soil

Carrots are a cool season crop and they are generally planted in the spring when soil temperatures have reached about fifty degrees Fahrenheit. Buying a soil thermometer is actually the best way to ensure the correct temperature and it can easily be purchased at your local garden center. Once the soil temp has reach fifty and weeks away from your last frost date, it is time to plant your carrots seeds. Take your containers and fill them with potting soil. Fill the containers to about three inches from the top with soil. Take your carrot seeds and sprinkle them all over the top of the soil, make sure to cover each square inch of the container. Then take a handful of soil and sprinkle the soil over the seeds. Once completed, use a watering can on a light setting to water in the seeds. When the carrot seeds are germinating it is important to water them every one to three days depending on the weather outdoors – watering less if rainy and more if hot. Make sure the soil is kept moist at all times but not soggy. If planting more than one container with carrots, repeat the same process.

Step four: Thinning

Once the carrots have emerged and sprouted it is now time to thin. Typically, most carrots need about one to two inches of spacing in between, but it is best to keep your seed packet to determine what is best for that variety. Thinning is imperative so that each of the carrot can receive adequate nutrients and moisture; not competing with others in the container. This will also ensure that your carrots are full of flavor and look delicious when harvested. If thinning is not for you, it can always be bypassed by purchasing seed tape or pelleted seed that is already spaced eliminating this step. Those carrots that are thinned can be used in cooking applications such as roasting or a great topper for a fresh salad.

Step five: Feeding the Carrots

Every 3 weeks you can feed your carrots with an organic foliar liquid fertilizer. This will help your carrots to receive the proper nutrition that they need. In some areas, carrot rust fly can be a problem. To prevent damage you can either buy a row cover or construct a small, plastic covering to prevent the fly from laying eggs. This must be done when the carrot seeds are planted to avoid any issues.

Step six: Harvesting Carrot

After about two to three months of planting, your carrots should be ready for harvest. Again keeping your seed packet is really a great way to know when to harvest. Adding a reminder to your online calendar or phone is wonderful. To know if your veggies are ready you can easily pull a couple ‘test’ carrots to see if they are the right size and shape.

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