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Growing Carrots in Containers

i don't carrot all sign and carrot seedlings growing in a grow bag

You may think you need to have a perfect garden patch in the countryside to grow carrots, but in reality you can grow them successfully on your sky-rise too! I’ve compiled this helpful article of tips and tricks to assist you in growing carrots in containers. Be sure to download my free Growing Carrots in Containers Checklist which includes a materials list, planting directions & growing tips!

What are carrots good for?

So, I used to think a carrot was just a carrot. It was something my momma put into stews to make them colorful and also something I fed to my horses as a treat. Now that the big 3-0 (dirty 30 will be here July 16th, ready or not) is coming in hot, I have realized carrots have become a huge part of my diet. Did you know they are packed with health benefits? They’re a wonderful source of fiber, vitamin K1, potassium and antioxidants. They’ve also been linked to lower cholesterol levels and even improved eye health! 

Not to mention they are a delicious treat when you get the midday munchies. I add them to my morning shakes, to my salads and countless oven baked recipes. When I have an over run of carrots, I’ll blanch and freeze them to use at a later date. 

Why Grow Carrots in Containers?

My momma planted the first garden I could remember when I was 5 and I’ve been gardening ever since. Carrots were literally my nemesis for years. I’d grow these wonky looking orange things that had 5 legs and a potbelly and think to myself “Why am I broken?” OK, a little dramatic, but still, the carrots I grew were sad. So, I did a little research and found out my soil composure was less than ideal and not deep enough. Growing in pots is so much better because you can compose your soil to be whatever you need! This ensures a straight and healthy carrot, not a cyclops like my earlier carrot generations. Other wonderful reasons to plant carrots in pots:

  • Control sunlight and location – carrots love 6+ hours of sun a day
  • Control temperature – which affects taste
  • You can plant in successive plantings so you have a constant crop

Best Containers for Growing Carrots 

Grow Bags

This is my #1 go-to for all container planting. I was living my life all wrong until I came across these on Amazon one day. They’re lightweight, portable, deep and reusable. What more could you ask for?

Carrot and onion seedlings in grow bags
Photo Credit: cleanandcozyliving.com

Pots

I collect pots like they’re going out of style. You can certainly plant your carrots in aesthetically pleasing ceramic, concrete or plastic pots. You can also use the above grow bags, and simply set them inside of your pots for easy removal and clean up later in the year.

An assortment of terracotta pots on a planting table
Photo Credit: cleanandcozyliving.com

5 Gallon Bucket or Tub

Living around livestock means we’ve got a generous supply of 5 gallon buckets and large lick tubs (mineral licks for cows, horses, goats, etc.). This is super handy because we can use these buckets and tubs for planting veggies! It’s a cost efficient and sustainable option. I have a friend who grew nearly her entire garden in these types of tubs and she had an incredible crop.

2 Gallon Milk Jug

Milk jugs are a great option as well. Simply cut the top off and you’ve sourced a perfect container for growing carrots.

Growing carrots in milk jugs - an array of milk jugs with green plants coming out of them
Photo Credit: gardenersmag.com

How to Grow Carrots in Containers

  1. Select a container of your choice. An ideal container size is 12” wide and deep. I prefer a grow bag of 5 gallons or more especially for larger carrot varieties. If you select a hard container, be sure to add plenty of drainage holes on the bottom before proceeding.
  2. Choose a seed that grows well in your planting zone. There is a huge variety of carrots available. Some mature early, some are sweeter than others, there are a ton of size and color choices as well – take a look at Johnny’s Selected Seeds to find the ideal carrot.
  3. Create a soil mixture that is loose and fertile. I recommend ⅔ organic potting mix and ⅓ organic compost. Fox Farm is my favorite potting mix & Black Kow is my favorite organic compost second to my own compost pile. I’ll also add ½-1 cup of bone meal to the soil mixture as it is a great source of phosphorus. Carrots love phosphorus. You can pick up these 3 components from your local Home Depot. 
  4. Plant densely, but not too dense. I recommend dropping 1-2 seeds 1” deep, and spacing this 1-2” apart. You’ll want to stop 1-2” away from the sides of your container.
  5. Carrots like being lightly moist but not wet. To decide when to water, stick your finger into the soil. Water when soil is dry 1” deep. Water thoroughly when you do decide to add moisture.
  6. Fertilize every 3 weeks with organic veggie fertilizer or compost tea. Be careful of adding too much nitrogen as it will encourage bushy tops and a small root.
  7. Thin when seedlings are 3” tall. Thin from 1-2” apart to 2-3”. To thin, gently pull up the seedling you wish to remove.
  8. Hilling – from time to time tops of carrot roots will push out when growing, just mound dirt on top to avoid a bitter taste from direct sunlight on the root.
  9. Yay! It’s finally harvest time. Check your seed packet for the maturity date. 40-60 days is a common timeline. Examine to see if your carrots are ready for harvest by pulling root out to see the size. You can always stick them back into the ground where they will continue to grow.

Are you ready to get started? Download my free Growing Carrots in Containers Checklist here!

Carrot seedlings in grow bags and lettuce plants in pots with I Dont Carrot All sign.

Next Up | Growing Onions in Containers

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