How to grow carrots in containers. Growing carrots in containers or patio planters can be more successful than you would expect and it is a great way to begin growing your own at home. Urban planters / Containers make the perfect entry level vegetable garden for the beginner, as well as offering some valuable growing space on balconies, patios, rooftop gardens or anywhere with limited space. While alot of containers may not suit carrots as well as planting them in the ground or in raised beds, there are many things you can do to ensure growing success and an easy crop of your own fresh carrots.
Choose the right container
First of all choose a deep container, like a carrot planter bag, to facilitate the carrots long roots. As the roots need plenty of space to grow, a planter of about 1.5ft high is perfect. It doesn’t matter what type of planter it is just as long as there are plenty of drainage holes. Our patio planter is made from polyethylene and can be folded away for storage when not in use, all you need to add is 40 Litres of compost and your plants or seeds. It is reusable, so just wash properly before re-use to remove bacteria.
Choose the right variety of carrot
Not all carrots have to be the “Bugs Bunny” type, I learned this after growing plenty of misshapen, wierd looking, stunted roots. A nice round variety will grow much better in growbags. A variety like ‘Early Nantes’ or ‘Chantenay Red Cored’ are ideal, they have the classic tapered shape but are shorter and wider and taste as good as any carrot you will grow. For shallow containers you can also grow round varieties like ‘Paris Market Round’ pictured above, these are well worth growing and are absolutely delicious roasted in a little oil and balsamic vinegar.
Choose a good soil or compost for your container
A loose, light soil or compost is always best for carrot root growth. Loosen the soil and make sure there are no stones or hard bits, if the carrot root meets any obstruction it will grow misshapen and hard. Fill the container to within 1 inch of the top. Some huge benefits here over growing in the ground, there are no soil pest problems, no weeding to be done and no need to worry over poor soil conditions if using a bag of shop bought stuff. Fertiliser can be added on a weekly basis, but is purely optional. Our carrot growbags require only 40 litres of soil/compost to fill it. We recommend a bag of 40 Litre Living Green Organic Compost.
Sowing Your Seeds
Make shallow (2cm) holes about 2.5-3in apart and put 3 carrot seeds in each one then fill over with your soil mix or compost then thoroughly water. Keep the soil or compost wet going forward to ensure the roots get enough water to maximise growth. The drainage holes will expel any excess. Carrots are best planted in March in partial sun.
Care of carrots in a planter
Once your seedlings have reached about 1 inch high, (they should be growing in groups of 3), trim 2 out of 3 down to near the soil level, leaving only one per planting group standing. After a couple of days if the stems start to lean, mound up a little bit of soil to straighten it back up and ensure the root is completely submerged. If the orange root is exposed to sunlight it will turn green and taste bitter. Your delicious container grown carrots should be ready after 2.5 months, they can be harvested a week or two beforehand if you prefer them sweeter.
For growing carrots outdoors please see our video tutorial above.