7 Easy Steps for Growing Carrots in Containers

carrots of various sizes

Carrots are a such an easy snack to grab, or add flavor into so many dishes. What better than to have extremely fresh carrots for all of your eating needs by growing them yourself? Growing carrots in containers is easy to do and you can grow them even when living in an apartment or somewhere you don’t have access to a dirt patch!

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Not only do carrots taste great, but they are also packed in nutrients, and really easy to grow for yourself! These are 7 steps for how to grow carrots in pots so you can have access to extremely fresh carrots!

Growing Carrots In Containers

Carrots are a common food grown in containers. It’s fairly simple, and takes about the same amount of work as growing them in a vegetable garden!

Depending on the climate you live in, you could potentially grow and harvest carrots during spring, summer, and fall, giving you fresh carrots most of the year. You also only need to change the soil once a year (just top up with some fresh soil each time).

Here are 7 steps for successfully growing carrots in containers!

1. Choose The Right Spot For The Carrots

The first thing to do is find a sunny spot for your carrots. These plants prefer full sun, so try to find an area where these plants will get at least 6 hours of sun each day.

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The good thing about growing carrots in containers is that if you find the spot isn’t sunny enough, you can move the container (size of pot depending). Don’t worry about cloudy days when looking for a sunny spot.

2. Find the Best Carrot Variety To Grow

One of the biggest factors to consider when choosing a carrot variety to grow in a pot is the size the carrot will be. Because unlike planting carrots in the earth, there is a solid base at the bottom that they cannot grow past.

This makes the case for choosing a hybrid or dwarf carrot variety because they will be less likely to hit the bottom of the container!

Chantenay makes a good carrot option for growing in containers because they are short and wide carrots, so they won’t likely reach the bottom of the pot. (Here’s a whole website dedicated to chantenay carrots and recipes for them!)

Paris market carrots are another good variety to choose, although they don’t have the normal carrot shape you would expect, being more of a bulb shape, while maintaining a great flavor.

There are so many carrot varieties, maybe take some time to look through your local gardening center or Etsy and see what carrot variety speaks to you (since not all carrots taste the same either!)

3. Obtain The Materials Needed For Planting

stack of pots
Image by jen_deeb from Pixabay

Now that it’s planting season, it’s time to get everything you need for growing carrots in containers!

This includes: the seeds, a container, potting soil, water, garden gloves, trowel and a mask. Gloves and a mask are important for anytime you are handling soil.

The best container for carrots are ones that are about 10 inches deep, and wide. The wider it is, the more carrots you can grow. If you choose a shorter container, the roots won’t be able to fully grow, and too long is just extra space, extra soil, and extra chance of waterlogging the plant.

When shopping for potting soil, choose mixed soil. Carrots do not like growing in clay or stony soils, so look for a well-draining soil, ones that are specific for vegetables will work well for carrots. Also, sometimes the soil ingredients change depending on if its’ for growing in a container or in the ground, so ideally look for a soil mix made for pots!

4. Prepare The Potting Soil For Planting

Now it’s time to plant and get your seeds growing! Either start the seeds in the pot they are going to grow in, or start in a smaller container! If you start in a smaller pot, you’re less likely to overwater them.

As mentioned earlier, carrots can handle cooler weather, so they can be planted during the spring, summer, or fall (depending on where you live). Carrots can even survive a light frost, so you don’t have to worry too much about them compared to other vegetables you might be growing!

Just remember seedlings will be more susceptible to the frost, so this is more for autumn planting than spring.

Fill the container with potting soil to about 3 inches from the top (if you go all the way to the top, the water is more likely to spill over when watering in later months). Moisten the soil with water – not so it’s draining out of the bottom holes, but enough to feel sticky – and mix it up some so it’s equally wet.

Sprinkle carrot seeds over the top soil. Better is more than not enough at this point, because you’ll be thinning the plants later on in the growing cycle. Sprinkle seeds evenly on the soil, and then cover with 1/4 -1/2 inch of soil.

Gently water the soil now that the seeds are in.

Start The Seeds Indoors

If you want to get a head start on the carrots, and there is still a frost warning, you can always start the carrots indoors in small starter containers. Follow the same instructions for filling with soil, but plant only about 2-3 seeds in each.

Water the plants every 1-3 days, depending on the weather and how hot it is during the day. At this point, just water lightly – so the top part of the soil where the seeds are gets wet, but the rest stays mostly dry. This helps keep the seeds from drowning in excess water.

5. Thin The Carrot Seedlings

Once the carrots have started sprouting and you can see tufts of their green leaves, it’s time to thin the plants. It’s best to follow the seed packet to determine how far apart the carrots need to be grown, as different varieties will have different needs.

Typically, you want to have at least 1-2 inches between each carrot so they have ample room to grow and are not fighting over nutrients and water. If you do not thin, the carrots will not grow correctly, may become stunted, or never grow past an almost baby carrot size.

Even if it feels painful to root up plants, it’s beneficial in the long run!

You may want to thin the carrots twice in their growing season, just depending on how far apart they are.

Thinning Carrots Before Replanting

If you did decide to start your carrots in smaller pots indoors before growing them in a larger container, thin the carrots down to just one plant per seedling pot, and then replant into their final growing container outside!

If you don’t want to thin, there are some seed packets that come in a roll that are already correctly spaced.

6. Keep the Plants Healthy

Feed your carrot plants with an organic liquid fertilizer every three weeks. If you have any food allergies, check to ensure none of your allergens are in the liquid fertilizer.

Feeding your carrots ensures that they receive the proper nutrition required for them to mature.

In areas that are prone to having the carrot rust fly, an easy solution is to cover the row. Use a thin, plastic cover to prevent the flies from laying eggs on the carrot leaves. Carrot rust flies are really frustrating for carrot growers because they cause holes in the carrots themselves, so be sure to watch out for them!

7. When are Carrots Ready to Harvest?

Carrots take about 2 1/2 to 3 months to mature. The best way to check and see if your carrots are ready to harvest is by pulling one carrot out to see the size of it, since they should all be growing at about the same speed.

Check the seed packet of the carrots to determine the time more accurately for how long your carrots have to grow depending on the type. You’ll know when the carrots are mature when they look the size you expect them to!

With these 7 steps, you’ll have no trouble with how to grow carrots in pots and enjoy fresh carrots almost all year long! Looking for other plants to grow in containers? Read about growing your own beans, onions, and spaghetti squash!

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Growing your own food doesn't require a lot of land! Grow your own carrots in containers easily almost all year long.
Carrots are a great plant for growing in containers. These are easy steps to follow to successfully grow carrots from seeds.
Grow carrots in containers easily to have freshly picked carrots almost all year long.

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