How to grow Carrots from Seed

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How to grow carrots from seed

It is recommended to sow the seeds in a thinly spread manner, at a depth of 0.5 inch (1cm), while maintaining a distance of 6–12in (15–30cm) between rows. It is important to exercise patience as the seeds may take some time to germinate. Additionally, it is advisable to provide protection against slugs and snails, as seedlings are susceptible to damage. If required, thin out the seedlings, ensuring a spacing of 2–3in (5–7.5cm) between plants.

How to grow Carrots from Seed

Carrots can be planted 3 – 5 weeks before your local frost date. 

  • Dig a trench with your hoe and place the seeds 3 – 4 inches apart
  • The seeds should be about a quarter inch deep in the soil. 
  • Make sure your soil is tilled since soft soil will promote growth of the taproot. 
  • You can soften the soil for carrots by adding a bit of sand. Regions that have naturally sandy soil are great for growing carrots! 
  • Use a row cover to limit weed growth. 
  • Seeds germinate best when the soil temperature is between 7 – 30 degrees C (44-86 Fahrenheit)

Watering & Sunlight

Carrot seeds can take up to 3 weeks to germinate, longer than most vegetables. It’s important to keep them moist while germinating so they don’t die off before appearing. 

  • Carrot plants like soil that is moist but not waterlogged
  • Full sun is ideal for carrots, but they can grow in light shade. 

Harvesting

Carrot roots are ready to harvest at any size, but it’s best to leave them until they grow large enough to be worth your garden space. On the other hand, carrots that grow larger than 3 inches in diameter can start to lose their flavor and taste like wood. 

  • Use a potato fork to loosen the soil around the carrot before pulling it out. 
  • Take extra care if the soil has hardened during the growing season. I have had carrots break off in the ground from hard-packed soil. 
  • My grandma says that carrots taste the best after being left in the ground for 3 frosts.

Storage

Harvested carrots can be stored for long periods by canning or placing in the fridge / freezer. 

  • Carrots can be stored in the fridge in a plastic bag for 3 – 4 months.
  • You can shred carrots and freeze them for soup. 

Companion plants

  • Plant with: beans, lettuce, onions, herbs, peas, peppers, radishes, and tomatoes
  • Plant away from: dill, parsnips, and potatoes

Varieties

  • Nantes: this type of carrot is a nearly perfect cylinder with a blunt tip. They are sweet with a deep orange color and nearly coreless. Little Finger carrots are a common subvariety which are only 4 inches long and are easy to grow indoors. 
  • Imperator: these are long, narrow carrots that have a very high sugar content. They require deep tilling (up to 10 inches deep) and are finicky about rocks and compacted soil. Baby carrots are cut up pieces of imperator carrots. 
  • Danvers: these carrots are 6 – 7 inches long and are more tolerant to harder soils than imperators. 
  • Chantenay: This type is hardier than the other carrot varieties since it can tolerate stones and harder soils.  They have a different shape than the others, with wide shoulders tapering down to a point at the bottom. 
  • Rainbow: Carrots come in purple, yellow, and white in addition to orange! You can buy packages of “rainbow” or “kaleidoscope” carrots containing all the colors. 

How to Grow Carrots Indoors

Carrots work great for indoor gardening! There are shorter varieties bred for growing in containers but you can grow regular varieties indoors as well, provided that you have a deep enough container. 

  • Pots should be at least 8 inches deep for miniature varieties and up to 12 inches for standard types. 
  • Choose a good quality potting soil with good drainage properties.
  • Sprinkle the seeds over the soil and cover them up. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. 
  • As the seeds germinate, thin them out to about an inch apart. Remove any weak-looking seedlings.
  • Once your seedlings are 3 inches tall, start fertilizing them every 2 weeks or so using a liquid houseplant fertilizer at full strength.  
  • Make sure your carrots are getting roughly 6 hours of full sun exposure. If you don’t have a sunny window that can provide this much light, consider using grow lights

Give it a read

How to grow Carrots from Seed

How to Grow Carrots From Carrot Tops

Not many people know how to grow carrots from carrots! You won’t get another taproot but you will get greens that you can use in salads or make pesto with! 

  • Prepare the carrot by cutting the taproot about an inch below the greens. You can also use the greens that were on the plant already – just leave about an inch attached to the root. 
  • Place the cut roots face down in a plastic container with very shallow water. Don’t cover the roots with water or they will rot. 
  • In a few days, the greens will begin to put out new shoots, and small rootlets will appear on the taproot. 
  • Once these rootlets appear, you can place them in a pot to harden them off before placing them outside in your garden. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the growing season for carrots?

Carrots typically take between 60 – 80 days from planting to harvest, depending on the variety. They can be planted 3 – 5 weeks before your local frost date and should be harvested ideally after spending 3 frosts in the ground in the fall. 

How deep does the soil need to be for carrots? 

Carrots can grow 10 – 12 inches deep, depending on the variety. It is highly recommended to till the ground thoroughly at least this deep. Sandy soils are the best for growing carrots. 

How do I grow carrots at home without seeds? 

You can regrow carrots from carrot tops. Simply cut the taproot leaving about an inch of root attached to the greens and place in shallow water until rootlets form. Then harden your plants off in a pot before planting them outside in your garden. Seeds will be produced by these carrot tops which you can use for planting. 

How do I grow sweet carrots?

Imperator carrots are among the sweetest. This variety requires 10 inches deep of soil and should be well-tilled with no stones. Sandy soils allow for good drainage which is ideal for carrots.