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How To Grow Carrots

Growing carrots indoors is easier than many new gardeners imagine. As long as you provide the right environmental conditions and care, you can harvest carrot tops and baby carrots with ease – and even larger roots too with some time and patience. 

Growing carrots

To grow carrots successfully you need to think about:

  • Where to grow your carrots and in what. 
  • Which carrot varieties are best for indoor growing.
  • How to sow carrot seeds indoors and regrow carrots from tops.
  • Care requirements for an indoor carrot crop.
  • And when and how to harvest indoor carrots you have grown. 

As long as you get things right when it comes to each of the above, carrots can be grown indoors. It will typically take longer to get to the point of harvest than it will do outside – but you can still get a delicious addition to your home-grown diet. 

Where to Grow Carrots

Carrots do need a reasonably bright location but can often grow just as well on a sunny windowsill as they will under grow lights indoors. After leafy green crops like lettuce and spinach – carrots are one of the easiest crops to grow indoors in most temperate climate areas. 

As well as a light spot, carrots also need reasonably good ventilation or airflow. 

But most important of all is giving the roots plenty of space – between one another and downwards, and a light, friable growing medium. A peat-free potting mix with sand added to improve drainage is good for carrot cultivation. 

Choosing a Container for Carrot Growing Indoors

When thinking about where you will grow carrots you also need to think about a container. Carrots can be grown in a range of different receptacles as long as they are deep enough for the roots to grow. Typically a container for carrots should be at least 25-30cm deep.

Consider using reclaimed materials to grow carrots indoors to avoid excessive use of plastic and garden more sustainably. 

For example, carrots might be grown in old food packaging with holes made in the bases, in toilet roll tubes, or old buckets, pots, and pans, etc… there are many quirky options to consider that will give carrots the space they need. 

Of course, you might also grow carrots in a traditional windowbox-style planter. 

Companion Planting With Indoor Carrots

When thinking about where to plant carrots – even indoors – it is also useful to think about companion planting. Carrots can succumb to some pest problems – but these can be lessened if you find the right neighbors for your seedlings. 

One great companion for carrots is spring onions or scallions. These and other alliums have a pungent smell that can keep carrot pests away. And carrots help the alliums too. 

Radishes are another good companion crop to try that won’t take up too much space.

Choosing The Best Carrots to Grow Indoors

When looking for carrots to grow indoors, you can look at different factors to make sure that you make the right choice. 

It can be a good idea to choose short carrot varieties, or globe types, as these are perfect for those growing in smaller spaces. Some carrot varieties are also quicker to mature, and these are also often better choices for growing indoors. 

When growing your own at home you should also consider heritage varieties. You can grow carrots that are not easy to find for sale in stores. These come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. 

How to Grow Carrots Indoors

When growing carrots indoors, you have a couple of different choices. 

  • You can either grow carrots from seed and cultivate them for their roots. 
  • Or you can consider planting kitchen scraps since old carrot tops will regrow a new harvest of carrot greens. 

Remember, while most people grow carrots for their roots, carrot greens at any stage are edible too. 

Sowing Carrot Seed Indoors

Carrot seeds can be sown indoors year-round as long as you can provide enough light (either naturally or from grow lights) and the right temperatures. But it is most common to sow in the spring, and perhaps to sow a winter crop in the fall as well. 

When sowing carrot seeds indoors, successional sowing is a good idea. Sowing small batches means you will enjoy a staggered harvest and won’t have a lot of carrots all ready to eat at the same time. 

Carrot seeds are very small and you should take care to sow them thinly, so less thinning out is required once the seeds germinate. 

Sow the seeds onto pots or other containers where they will continue to grow as root disturbance is not ideal and seedlings may not thrive when moved. Cover them very lightly with a little more of your growing medium. 

Optimal temperatures for germination are between 7 and 20 degrees Celsius. So you should not find it difficult to create the right conditions and seedlings will germinate successfully within 2-3 weeks. 

Once the carrots start to grow and develop their first sets of true leaves, you should thin them out so that they are no closer than around 5-7cm apart (depending on the variety you are growing). But don’t discard the thinned seedlings – you can eat them as a garnish or in a salad. 

Regrowing Carrot Tops from Scraps

You can also simply place the top of a carrot onto the top of a pot filled with potting mix, or into a shallow saucer of water, and the greens on top will regrow providing you with more carrot greens to use in salads or as a pot herb. 

Caring for Carrots Indoors

As long as you water before the growing medium dries out entirely, carrots growing indoors should not require too much care. Just keep them watered and be patient as the green shoots and the roots slowly grow. 

Harvesting Indoor Carrot Roots or Tops

Carrots require a period of 12 to 16 weeks from sowing to harvest.