These root vegetables are widely used in many cuisines – especially for salads, soups and stews. Carrots are usually orange, but they can also come in purple, red, yellow and even white. They are biennial plants that grow up to 1 meter. As for their nutritional values, carrots are actually 88% water, 1% protein, 7% sugar, 1% fiber, 1% ash and 0.2% fat. They contain almost no starch. They are filled with β-carotene which is partly metabolised into vitamin A in humans which is very important for our vision. Carrots are also rich in minerals and antioxidants. Their roots are used for treating digestive problems, intestinal parasites and tonsillitis. There is so much to say about carrots and how important it is to consume them. They should be part of everyone’s diet. And what is better than home grown carrots? Even beginners can grow carrots as they are very easy to take care of. Carrots can even be grown in containers which makes them the ultimate vegetable to grown at home – even if you don’t have the space for a plot or you only have a balcony. Today we are giving you a couple of useful tips on growing carrots in containers. Use this easy guide and enjoy your fresh, home-grown carrots.
The Best Varieties for Growing in Containers
There are many benefits of growing carrots in containers like no poor soil problems, no weeds and no pests. Sounds awesome right? So let’s start by choosing and buying your carrot seeds. You can opt for the classic orange varieties or a mix of different colored carrot seeds like Purple Haze, Yellowstone, Rainbow or Healthmaster. However, for containers it is the best to use early carrots like Nantes 2, Mignon, Mini Finger, Parmex, Tendersnax, Mokum etc as well as Chantenay carrots like Caracas, Carson, Supreme Chantenay Red Cored, Royal Chantenay etc.
Choosing Containers and Soil Mixture
Now choose your container or pot. It is best to choose one that is at least 20cm deep (have in mind that this is the very minimum) in order to allow the roots to grow. You can use clay pots, rectangular plant containers, square plant containers and similar – just make sure you clean them well if they were used previously. Carrots can grow in almost any store-bought compost so just buy one that is with good quality at your local garden center or make your own mixture. Loose, well drained potting media will be perfect for your carrots.
Fill your container with the planting medium, leaving one inch empty space between the top of the media and the rim of the container. Your carrots will need some fertilizer to stimulate their growth and it is up to you what kind you will choose to use. We recommend using organic fertilizer.
Planting the Carrots
It’s time to plant those seeds! Best time for planting carrots is anytime during spring and early summer. It is best to follow the instructions on the seed bag. Dig small holes each about half an inch deep, spaced some three inches apart. Drop 2-3 seeds into each hole. Fill the holes with some of the planting medium – make sure you do it gently and slowly so you don’t crush the seeds. When done, water thoroughly, but gently. The soil should be wet. Place your container in a location that is part sunny part shade.
Care and Harvest
Water your carrots enough so the surface doesn’t dry. On a hot day you might need to water you carrots twice. Carrots need 60-75 days to be ready to harvest. You should see sprouts in 14-17 days! After the sprouts are out, the carrots will continue growing, especially as the temperature raises. The ideal temperature for growing carrots is 16-18 degrees Celsius. Now it’s time to reduce the watering keeping the carrots lightly watered but not too wet. After 60 days or more you can start picking up your carrots. Just wash off the soil and enjoy their deliciousness.
Extra Tips for Perfect Carrots
There are some small things that you can do to ensure perfectly grown, tasty carrots. If you see any green stems that are bent then make sure you add some planting medium around them cause the roots might not develop well. If you see some of the roots peeking through before they are ready to harvest, cover them with some planting medium because the sun can make them inedible. If mildew or other fungi forms spray the carrots with wettable sulfur or anti-fungal spray. And always have in mind that the earlier you harvest your carrots the sweeter they will taste!