If you’d care to try your hand at indoor gardening, carrots are an optimal candidate. They’re fast-growing, low-maintenance, and reward you with a delicious harvest in as little as two months. In this article, you’ll learn all there is to know about how to grow carrots indoors.
Many growers attest that growing carrots indoors in containers is easier than growing them in the ground in your vegetable garden.
It’s advantageous to grow them in a more controlled setting where you can give them all the water and nutrients they need. In addition, you don’t have to worry about rapidly changing weather conditions affecting your crop of homegrown carrots.
Locally grown produce is better for your family as well as the environment. It doesn’t get much more local than your kitchen windowsill, so why not try growing your own carrots right at home?
All that’s required are a large container with drain holes, nutrient-rich potting soil, plenty of water, and a sunny location.
Can You Grow Carrots Indoors?
Vegetable gardening is intensely satisfying, as well as being economical. Whether you grow bell peppers at home or want to try indoor plants, there are many possibilities.
Have you ever wondered, “Can you grow carrots indoors?” The short answer is, absolutely. Carrots are incredibly versatile plants that thrive in a wide variety of conditions.
They grow best in full sun, meaning six to eight hours of direct light daily. However, they also tolerate slightly lower light conditions, albeit with slower growth.
However, too much light causes the plants to put more energy into growing their leafy tops than their edible roots.
If you don’t have a sunny window available, consider investing in a grow light for your indoor garden, whether growing cilantro inside or carrots. LED shop lights also work well.
Carrots are cool-season veggies, which means their optimal growing temperature is between 60-70℉. As such, it’s possible to grow carrots at home year-round.
If you regularly use carrots, calculate your planting times so that you’ll have a continuous supply. Depending on which carrot varieties you choose, they usually take between 60-80 days to mature.
How to Grow Carrots Indoors from Seeds
The way to plant vegetables indoors, like carrots, is to keep them in the same location. Carrot seedlings don’t respond well to transplanting, so it’s best to sow the seeds directly in your container. Since carrots seeds are so tiny, don’t worry too much about the spacing at first.
Fill your container with a nutrient-rich potting mix to a half inch below the rim and water it. Scatter the carrot seeds over the soil surface, then lightly cover them with a quarter-inch of potting soil.
Germination typically takes between 14 and 21 days, so be patient. Keep the soil moist while the seeds are germinating. In outdoor gardens, growers often plant quick-growing radishes alongside carrot seeds to help mark their place.
If desired, radishes are an excellent companion when planting carrot seeds in pots in indoor gardens, as well.
Avoid letting a crust form on the soil surface, as that may prevent the seeds from sprouting. It’s helpful to top your container with a layer of mulch to retain soil moisture.
The ideal soil temperature for germinating carrot seeds is 70-75℉. They can germinate at temperatures as low as 40℉, but it takes much longer.
After the seeds begin sprouting, move them to a sunny window that gets at least five hours of direct light daily or place them under a grow light. When seedlings are four inches tall, thin out the less vigorous ones, so the spacing between plants is two or three inches.
Choosing the Right Container
Potted carrots will only grow as large as their container allows. Choose which carrot varieties to cultivate based on your available growing space and what size container you have. Check the carrots’ expected mature size on the back of the seed packet.
Select a container that’s at least 12 inches deep and four inches wide. The larger your pot, the more carrots you can grow. Long, deep window boxes are excellent for growing carrots indoors.
When growing a cherry tomato plant inside, it’s best to have a deeper pot as the roots grow down further.
As long as it’s deep enough and has drain holes to prevent soil fungus and rot, any type of container will do. For reference, a 24-inch long window box comfortably fits about 12 carrots.
Top Varieties of Carrots
One of the best things about homegrown veggies is that there are unusual varieties available that you can’t find at the grocery store or farmer’s market. Although orange carrots are most common in the US, there are also purple, red, yellow, and white.
All carrots are incredibly nutritious. However, differently colored carrots have distinctive health benefits. Orange carrots are highest in the antioxidant beta-carotene, which promotes eye, skin, and immune health.
Purple carrots contain anthocyanins, antioxidants that improve heart health, facilitate weight loss, and reduce inflammation. Yellow carrots contain lutein, which is also remarkably beneficial for eye health. White carrots deliver the most plant-based protein.
Here are a few of the best carrot varieties for growing in containers indoors.
Best Soil and Fertilizer for Growing Carrots Indoors
One of the greatest advantages when you grow-carrots-indoors is knowing that they won’t be misshapen or stunted by obstructions in the soil. Choose a good quality potting mix that’s well-draining and rich in organic matter.
In addition to providing nutrient-rich soil, it’s essential to fertilize your carrots regularly. There are three principal macronutrients present in plant fertilizer: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K).
Nitrogen encourages leafy growth, phosphorus stimulates healthy root systems, and potassium advances fruiting and flowering processes.
If carrots receive too much nitrogen, you’ll get stunted roots and oversized carrot tops. Liquid houseplant fertilizer typically has equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Instead, mix organic, low-nitrogen fertilizer into the soil when you plant carrots.
Keep your carrots well-watered but not soggy. To check the soil moisture level, insert your fingertip up to the first knuckle. If soil sticks to your finger, let the container dry out for another day or two. If the top inch of soil is fully dry, it’s time to water.
Carrots are ready to harvest when their shoulders begin protruding from the soil. Depending on the variety, mature carrots are a half-inch to an inch in diameter.
If you prefer baby-carrots, harvest them about seven to ten days before the time indicated on the seed packet. Or, wait a bit longer and pick them once they’ve reached their full size.
Another advantage of growing carrots indoors in containers is that harvesting is much easier. In most cases, grip the carrot tops at the base, just above the root, and gently tug the carrots out of the soil. If necessary, use a small trowel to loosen the soil around your carrots.
Leafy carrot tops often get overlooked as edible greens. They’re rich in calcium, potassium, and vitamin C. Carrot greens taste similar to parsley, with a hint of carrot flavor.
Eat them fresh in salads, use them for making pesto, or add them to soups and stews for an extra savory essence. Harvest carrot greens as needed while your carrots are growing by trimming the outermost leaves with a clean, sharp pair of scissors.
Growing carrots indoors is a fantastic way to enjoy fresh carrots year-round. They’re low-maintenance and fast-growing, making carrots an ideal choice for your indoor garden.
Gather a deep container, nutrient-rich potting soil, and plenty of water and sunshine. Why not try growing your groceries with this easy, fun DIY project?
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