For those who may not have a lot of room to grow a garden, growing plants in containers is a great way to have the garden you want.
Not every plant is suitable for growing in a container; however, some can be grown quite well in containers, even though you may not think they would. Carrots are one such vegetable.
Carrots can also be grown directly in the ground or in a grow bag.
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How Do Carrots Grow?
Carrots are a root vegetable. This means that they grow underground. Other root vegetables that grow this way are potatoes, onions, and garlic.
This makes carrots perfect for growing in buckets. Since they grow in this manner, a bucket filled with soil is the ideal environment for growing big, healthy carrots.
However, before planting carrots in buckets, you should understand that the crop each bucket grows will not be a large one. In other words, to have a large crop of carrots, you will need several buckets.
That is not to say that you should not grow buckets of them if you don’t have space. Even a few items grown yourself is better than paying for expensive produce that uses toxic pesticides at the store.
What Supplies Do I Need to Grow Carrots in Containers?
Growing carrots in buckets does not require a lot of gardening supplies. In fact, growing any plant in containers is one of the simplest gardening methods because it needs the fewest amount of supplies.
To grow carrots in containers, you will need the following:
Before you begin planting, you will want to create a soil/compost mixture. You cannot simply mix it at any random ratio, though. It must be balanced.
A good balance, to begin with, is ⅔ potting soil to ⅓ compost. Be sure to use organic and compost. Non-organic options may add toxins and chemicals to your mixture that you are uncomfortable with.
You will need to prepare your buckets or containers before planting. This means drilling drain holes in both the bottom of the bucket and the sides. Without drain holes, water will pool at the bottom of your bucket. This can lead to root rot and dying plants.
How to Plant Carrots in Containers
You have two options when planting your carrots in containers. You can start your carrot seeds indoors to transplant, or you can sow them directly into the soil.
If you are starting them indoors, be sure to read up on how to start seeds indoors before doing so. Carrots are a frost-hardy plant, so you can plant them anytime the soil is cool. If you start your carrot seeds indoors, transplant them when they reach 4-6” tall and have been hardened to outdoor temperatures for one to two weeks.
For those who want to sow your seeds directly, fill your buckets almost full with a soil/compost mixture. Then, use the eraser of a pencil to make holes for the seeds.
Carrots should be planted ¼” deep and 2-3” apart. If they are planted deeper or too close together, you risk the plants not growing as they should or growing too close together. Because of this, the seeds must be distributed evenly.
Carrots should be watered shallowly often. This translates to around an inch of water per week while the seeds are germinating and around two inches per week after.
If the soil on top becomes dry enough to form a hard crust, your seeds will not be able to germinate and poke up through the soil.
You can use a small layer of compost or mulch to prevent this from happening and to keep the soil moist. Where most plants germinate within a couple of weeks, carrots can take as long as three weeks to come up.
What Companion Plants are Good for Carrots?
Companion planting is a planting strategy that pairs fruits and vegetables that help each other grow. In the case of carrots, radishes make a great companion. They can be sown in with your carrots.
Since radishes grow much faster, they will also help you determine where you planted your carrots. The radishes will come up for harvest right around the time your carrots begin to truly grow.
When Should I Harvest Carrots?
Carrots can be harvested anytime after they become mature or are a minimum of ½” in diameter. However, carrots generally have a better flavor when they are smaller.
With that said, spring carrots will need to be harvested before temperatures get too hot. The root systems do not tolerate heat well and can change from a healthy root to a fibrous root causing your carrots to stagnate or die off.
For better-tasting fall carrots, leave them in the ground until after the first frost. This causes the carrots to start storing sugars as energy in the roots.
If you intend to leave them in the ground past this first hard frost, cover them with a layer of fallen leaves around 12-18” thick.
How to Have a Never-Ending Supply of Carrots
Carrots plants are biennial plants which essentially means they can regenerate from themselves. This can give you a never-ending supply of carrots to grow.
After harvest, save the carrot tops in a glass of water. After they start to regenerate, plant them in the ground as you would from seed. If your carrots do not get harvested by chance, they will come up again the following season as well.
If you do not want to plant carrots in buckets, you can also use grow bags. Grow bags come in different sizes, but you will want a minimum of a 5-gallon grow bag for carrots.
This will allow you to use the necessary amount of soil and ensure that your carrots are not stunted because they have run out of room. By giving them plenty of space, you will grow the best-tasting and healthiest carrots you have ever tasted.
And if you’re interested in growing other vegetables, then check out these guides for more inspiration: