We often associate vegetable gardens with large backyards. However, container gardening is a great way to produce food at home, even with limited space. Learn about the growing conditions carrot plants need to grow and how to grow carrots in a container on a patio or porch.
Carrots are an excellent addition to the garden, and there are different varieties, from Little Finger and Chantenay to Nantes, Danvers, and Oxheart. They are just as easy to grow as other root vegetables, as long as you give them the proper sized pot to thrive.
Carrots are root crops, and they do most of their growing underground. While they don’t necessarily require a wide pot, a deep container with drainage holes is essential for optimal root growth. Provide your veggies with the right amount of sunshine and care, and they return the favor at the end of the growing season.
Planting and Caring for Carrots in Containers
Carrots are ideal veggies to grow at home, and both the carrot roots and carrot tops are edible, so nothing goes to waste. The hardest part about growing carrots in containers is deciding which carrot varieties to plant.
Learn how to grow carrots in containers by planting them in the right pot and soil type. Discover how to care for veggies through the season, no matter which variety of carrots you decide on, and use your garden carrots in a fun recipe.
Things to Know before Growing Carrots in Containers
As much as we’d love to simply stick some carrot seeds in the garden soil and watch veggies grow, it’s not always that easy since these plants want the right conditions to flourish. Here are a few essential things to know about growing carrots in containers to help get you started on the right track.
The best way to grow carrots in pots is to use lightweight, well-draining loose soil like other root veggies. The carrot root struggles to grow properly if the dirt is too dense.
It’s equally important to choose the right pot size. Pick one that is at least eight inches deep if you’re growing short, half-length varieties or baby carrots and ten to 12 inches deep for standard carrots. Make sure the container has drainage holes to prevent the taproot from rotting.
Carrots desire full sun, whether in a garden, raised bed, or container. While they tolerate partial shade, give them at least four hours of direct sunlight daily—however, the more, the better.
How to Grow Carrots in Containers Indoors
The most inexpensive and easy way to grow veggies is to plant them from seed. While this process takes a little longer, the result is worth the time. Here is how to grow carrots in containers by starting them from seeds.
Fill a large container with potting dirt and sow the seeds a quarter of an inch deep and an inch apart, or follow the seed packet instructions for your cultivar. Water them gently and set them in a warm area to germinate.
It’s not easy to germinate carrot seeds fast, as germination takes up to three weeks during carrot growing seasons, depending on the type; it’s vital to keep the soil moist to prevent the seeds from drying out.
When the seedlings emerge, thin them out by removing the weakest, spacing them two to three inches apart. After they germinate and the last frost is over, harden off the seedlings by taking the container outside for a couple of hours each day.
Start by placing the pot in a shady spot in the early spring and gradually move them to a sunny area by the end of the week. Once they acclimate to the outdoors, it’s safe to leave the potted carrots in their new home.
If you decide to grow more than one carrot type or desire a more extended harvest season, consider sowing new seeds in separate containers every couple of weeks.
How to Grow Carrots in a Container Outdoors
After planting carrots in containers and watching the seeds germinate, it’s time to give your seedlings the care they need to flourish into plants and produce carrot roots for harvesting. Feed and water your plants for healthy growth.
Carrots prefer lightly moist dirt that is not wet, so pay attention to soil moisture when watering your plants. Stick your finger into the dirt and water them when the top inch of soil is dry. Spreading mulch inside the pot is an excellent idea since containers dry out faster, and the mulch retains moisture.
Carrots need potassium and other nutrients. Every three to four weeks, feed your carrot plants a liquid organic fertilizer or compost tea or make homemade fertilizer for carrots; avoid using fertilizers high in nitrogen, which encourages leafy greens and small roots.
As your carrots grow, the root tops may push out of the ground. If this occurs, add more potting soil to the container to cover the shoulders. Watch for the carrot fly throughout the growing season.
While the fly doesn’t harm plants, its larvae may destroy carrot roots. Consider companion planting your carrots with onions to repel these pests from your patio.
Harvest carrots during the late summer or according to the type you grow. The best place for storing baby carrots and other types is to put them in layers of peat moss in a cool and dry area like the root cellar or basement.
Using Fresh Garden Carrots to Make a Sweet and Savory Dish
If you follow all the necessary steps while growing carrots in a container, you’re rewarded with more than enough veggies for cooking. This roasted carrot side dish is sweet and savory and takes less than half an hour to prepare and cook.
Melt butter in a medium pot and whisk for a few minutes until the butter is frothy and brown. Add the garlic and honey and take the pan off the heat. Peel and cut the carrots into two-inch pieces, pour them into a bowl, and drizzle the butter sauce over the top.
Toss the carrots to coat them and spread them evenly on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 20 minutes at 425°F. Garnish the roasted carrots with parsley and serve hot.
It’s relatively simple to grow-carrots at home, and planting them in containers is a fun project, especially if you’re a DIY person. Provide them with a decent amount of sunshine and some TLC, and enjoy a harvest of sweet, organic carrots at the end of the season.
Knowing how to grow carrots in a container means that you get to enjoy fresh veggies even if you have limited space, so why not share our carrot container gardening guide with the veggie-lovers in your life on Pinterest and Facebook?