Carrots seeds are relatively inexpensive seeds and they’re easy to grow in most climates. Use this tutorial on how to grow carrots from seed to have organic root vegetables on hand year-round.
How to Grow Carrots from Seed
Growing carrots is a joy. Kids and adults love the idea that you get a tasty vegetable out of the ground and a surprise on the structure and size of your harvest. Plus, there are so many colors you can grow and this makes it even more fun.
Growing carrots has been something that often means waiting for a couple of weeks outdoors for any seeds to germinate. Additionally, carrots do take 70-80 days to be harvestable. If you start carrot seedlings indoors, you can not only speed up the process a little but ensure a strong healthy crop. You can also speed up the process by pre-sprouting seeds before directly sowing your carrot seeds in the garden.
Below are instructions for starting carrot seeds indoors and for planting them outside. However, we recommend that you always read your seed packets to see if there are specific instructions for the variety that you choose to plant.
How to Grow Carrots from Seed indoors
The best timing is to start your carrot seedlings about 3 weeks before the last frost. This will help you really get a jump start and make sure they are ready to transplant as soon as you can outdoors.
Another thing to consider when growing seeds indoors is that since the carrot that we eat is literally the root, you want to make sure to disturb it the least. One way to do this is to start your seeds in composting pots that will eventually disintegrate and become part of the soil you plant them in.
I don’t start carrot seeds in a seed starting tray because they are shallow and if the carrot roots reach the bottom of the container it will stunt their growth. So choose a pot that is at least 2 inches deep, but I prefer pots that are 3 inches deep.
How to Start Carrot Seeds Indoors
1. Add the finely textured soil to pots that are at least 2 inches deep. Moisten the soil with water and firmly pack the soil.
2. Poke a hole 1/4 inch down into the soil, place 2-3 seeds in the hole, and gently cover. You can thin them out later if all the seeds survive.
3. Place your pots in a warm, sunny location. You want to keep them warm during the germination process. This can be helped with a warming mat. If you can keep your carrot seedlings in the 70-degree temperature range, they will germinate faster.
4. Water your seeds regularly. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy.
5. When you see 2-3 lacy leaves on the carrot tops it is time to transplant them to your garden. Use these tips to transplant your carrot seedlings to a row in your vegetable garden or a raised bed outside.
How to Directly Sow Carrot Seeds in the Garden
Plant your carrot seeds in an area that receives full sun for at least 6 hours a day. Carrot plants can survive a light frost, but it is best to start them after the last frost date if possible. If you plant your seeds in early spring, be sure to have row covers to protect them from a freeze.
1. Prepare the garden soil by adding compost and lime if needed.
2. Plant your seeds at a depth of 1/4 inch and 1 inch apart. You can thin the carrot seedlings later if needed.
3. Keep plants moist but not wet or soggy with water to prevent root rot.
4. Fertilize every few weeks with an organic fertilizer.
When your carrot seedlings reach approximately 4 inches tall, thin the carrots to 2 inches apart.
Carrots are a long-time favorite vegetable among home gardeners because they are one of the easiest vegetables to grow from seed.