Growing Carrots in Containers

A few weeks ago I sowed my first carrots of the year and they are just poking their noses up now. I don’t have a lot of ground space so my carrots are in containers. I tried this for the first time last year and it worked really well. Lots of carrots for us to eat and lots of carrot tops for the rabbits to eat (and maybe the odd carrot too).

Here’s how you do it (photos from last year):

Something to Grow In

IMG_1434bI use plastic storage boxes for my carrots but any deepish container will work eg a big flower pot, box or bucket. My storage boxes were see-through so I’ve taped black plastic around from an old compost bag, that way the carrots aren’t in the light. If you are really short on space you can grow small carrots in window boxes. You can also use a plastic bottle with the top cut off. You won’t get giant carrots but you can keep harvesting the tops for a healthy treat for you bunny.

Check your container has holes, mine didn’t so I use a drill to add holes to the bottom. Otherwise they will fill with water when it rains and flood your carrots!

Fill your container with compost or soil, any general purpose compost will do. If you have some to hand then mix in a bit of sharp sand. Carrots like nice loose soil to grow in, not heavy clay, so it’s easy for them to get their roots through.

Seeds and Sowing

If you try buying carrot seeds you’ll find lots of varieties to pick from. Read the packet to see what features they have. If your growing in containers avoid ones that claim to be really long show carrots. I’m growing Early Nantes, Chantenay Red Core (from the BBC), and Parmex. The later are round carrots (like a gold ball) and are meant to be great for growing in shallow containers or clay/stoney ground. When you are buying seeds it’s worth having a look at children’s seeds, often they have the same varieties but at pocket money prices.

IMG_1243To sow the seeds draw a line in the soil about 1/2″ (1cm) deep, then sprinkle the seeds thinly. I aim for one seed every inch. Draw the lines about an inch apart too. If you don’t mind fiddly sowing an alternative is to poke holes with a pencil and drop a seed in each. Again aim for a grid with the seeds 1″ apart in each direction. Don’t worry too much about planting them the exact distance apart though. If you get them too close you can thin them out and give the spare plants to your rabbit.

It will take the seeds 2-3 weeks to germinate so wait patiently. You can speed it up a bit by putting a bit of plastic over to keep it warmer. Take it off once they germinate.

Thinning & Harvest

IMG_1585If you managed to get your seeds about 1″ apart they shouldn’t need too much thinning at first. Once they start pushing again each other start harvesting them as baby carrots, taking out every other carrot to leave the others room to grow.

If you want a really long harvest period then sow your carrots in batches 3-4 weeks apart, then you’ll have some ready all summer. They keep well in the ground too so you can leave them in containers and although they won’t grow more there will still be carrots to pull up in autumn/winter.

If you cut the tops whilst they grow you’ll get smaller carrots, so try taking a few leaves from each instead of the whole lot if you are using them as bunny snack food.

So, anyone going to give it a go?

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6 Responses to “Growing Carrots in Containers”

  1. excellent useful post, I may have a go!

  2. Brilliant! I have some carrot seeds stored away and you have just inspired me to get planting. Already have a few beans and corn in the window bottom, but they are entirely for the humans and not so bunny friendly! Carrots away!

  3. D. Moll says:

    We have a lot of things in containers, but no carrots (yet). We are quite spoiled by a twice weekly Farmer’s Market within walking distance……

  4. Londoner says:

    I did this…. great kid project ! thank you.
    After 3 weeks, the top and sides (clear container) have turned quite mossy…. what to do— if anything ?

    • Tamsin says:

      It might be your over watering a bit. Try cutting back and wait til the surface feels dry before watering each time. Once they grow a bit more it becomes easier and they’ll probably outgrow the moss and it will die back.

      Although the container in the top picture looks black, it’s clear but I’ve wrapped a piece of old compost bag around it (just fixed with a bit of tape). That will stop the moss on the sides as it cuts out the light.

      • Londoner says:

        Sounds great. Wrapping my clear container really seemed to slow down the mildew.

        looking forward to harvesting !

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