Growing Carrots in Containers – Step by Step with Pictures

Carrots is one of those vegetables that is most consumed and always the pricey one in the market. That makes it a very good candidate for a kitchen garden. Daucus Carota, as it is called botanically, is a root vegetable consumed for its swollen tap root. While we are familiar with orange colored ones, there are several colors like Red, White, Yellow and purple. There are also different shapes. In India, the regular orange carrots and the long red carrots are quite popular. In the northern states of India, different varieties of carrots seems to be present.

 

Did you know? Carrots belong to the family Apiaceae that includes Coriander/Cilantro, Cumin(Jeera), DillFennel(Saunf) and Asafetida ( Heeng). Most of them are aromatic in nature.

Growing carrots starts from selecting the variety and the container. Here in India, we don’t get a lot of different varieties of carrots. In Europe and US of A, one can see many different varieties of carrots suitable for different environments. There are round carrots, baby carrots suitable for container growing. 

The varieties available in India, can be grown successfully in container. The duration of carrot crop ranges from 2-3 months.

 

Container selection:

Since carrot is a root vegetable with roots growing up to a feet. Selecting a proper container is essential for a good yield. One can grow carrots in variety of containers as long as they are deep enough for the variety of carrot that will be grown. Choose a container that is at least 1 feet deep. The carrot variety I grew is Early Nantes. Its root length is less than a feet. So I selected a tub/tray. This container pictured below is the one that is commonly found in grocery markets for storing vegetables. I rescued this from a plastic disposal store.  Works like a charm for growing root vegetables.

You can grow them in normal pots or even polythene bags that are easily available . Once you have selected the container, make sure it has a drainage hole in it. Carrot prefers a loose well draining soil. If you can notice, there are drainage holes provided for the tray in the picture provided below.

 

Potting Media:

Potting mix or media is the next important thing to consider while growing carrots. Carrot requires a loose medium for its root to grow down. For growing in soil, a mixture of red soil, well decomposed compost and coco peat/sand. Mixed in equal proportion is good enough. Make sure there are no rocks or debris in the mix. All this particles will hinder root growth of carrot. For soilless mix, coco peat is good. I had used a mix of coco peat and little perlite. Perlite is added to increase the drainage. It is not mandatory though.

As you can see below, the tray is filled with potting media and holes are also dibbled to mark the places where the seeds will be sown.

 

Seeds were sown at the rate of 2-3 per hole. They were spaced at 3 inches between plants.

Day 0 – Seeds were sown.

 

 carrot-tub

A week after the seeds were sown. Some of the seeds have germinated but not all of them.

 

 Carrot seedlings

Two week old seedlings. Almost all of them have germinated. Now my job is to get them thinned to just 1 per hole. It is better to wait and let them grow for some more time. Thinning can be done by just cutting the seedling off using a scissor instead of pulling the seedling or uprooting. Uprooting disturbs the soil and results in root damage of the plant you selected to grow.

two weeks old carrot seedlings

 

A close up of 15 day old seedlings. Carrot grows little slow when compared to Radish..

 

carrot seedlings close up

25 day old carrot seedlings.  This is a good time to thin the plants to just 1 every 3 inches. If the plants are bent, you can add some soil on top of it and compact it.  If the stems are bent, roots wont be forming.

 

carrot seedlings

An example of polythene bag container for growing carrots. This bag is 1.5 feet deep and little less than a foot in diameter. You can also see the drainage holes made in the sides. There are drainage holes in the bottom as well.  These bags are very useful for growing Long carrots.

caroot grown in polythene bag

 

 

One and a  half months from the date of sowing, there is lush growth observed and foliage looked well defined and dark green color.  The fertilizer used was 19-19-19 for the initial one month and I switched to 5-15-30 NPK for the rest of the growing period.

 

45 days old carrot plants - Nantes

 

2 months and 1 week later, this is what I have. Thanks to daily rains, there was a heavy infestation of powdery mildew. Most of the leaves developed a white coloration and slowly started to wither away. After couple of sprays of wettable sulfur, the fungal problem went away. But the frequent rains, caused continuous leaching and there were deficiencies showing up. There was nothing much I could do for the rains..

2 months old

 

Close up shot of carrots forming below. Another important thing to note here is, the green coloration on the shoulders of the carrot. This happens, when they are exposed to sunlight. As gardeners, our job is to cover the roots with soil, whenever it gets exposed.

two and half months old carrots - nantes 

 

At about 2.5 months, I started harvesting the carrots. I didn’t lift all the carrots up and end up flooding the refrigerator with carrots. Instead we decided to pull carrots as and when we needed. So here they are. Some of them were good (size wise) and some of them made me feel I was better off growing radish ;) .

harvested carrots

 

Nevertheless, I wasn’t disappointed with the whole thing.  Everyday I used to take about 4-5 medium sized carrots. I heard the leaf can be eaten as well. I didn’t use the leaf for cooking this time. I simply tossed them off into another pot for composting.  As shown in the picture, I did get some carrots that are cylindrical and some tapering. The taste was good. I wouldn’t say its better than market purchased carrot or anything like that. It was ok.

The carrots posing along with Yellow and green capsicum( the green ones were ripening and hence the dark color).

 

carrots with bell pepper

2nd Harvest. Remember the saying, not all fingers are of same size? This is the proof.

Carrot harvest

Lesson learnt:

Distance between plants. This time it was 3 inches and I think may be that is another reason why the sizes of carrots were reduced. I was just greedy to pack more plants into the tray. May be next time, I will keep it at 5 inches between plants.

So this time, the yield didn’t come out the way I thought it would. Better luck next time.. I guess.

I have the following varieties of carrot available with me for sale.  Use the contact form for buying the seeds.

  • Long Red (Red colored, root length is more than 1 feet).
  • Early Nantes – Improved ( Cylindrical type, Container friendly)
  • Shin Kuroda (Tapering type, Container friendly)

 

With this I will end this post. Hope you all enjoyed.

GG

Related posts:

  1. Growing Spinach in Containers
  2. Growing Okra a.k.a Ladies finger in Container
  3. Growing Zucchini (Summer Squash) in Containers
  4. How to grow Radish in Containers
  5. Growing Watermelon in Containers

32 comments to Growing Carrots in Containers – Step by Step with Pictures

  • Dear Sir,

    I have the following plants on coco peat on roof top of my residence. Okra(40), Brinjal(10), Tomato(15), Cluster bean(20), Bean, bitter, snake, ridge, sponge gourd and cow pea. I have the photographs of them but do not how to send you.
    I have received your mail on HOW TO GROW CARROT ON SOIL FREE MEDIA. Sir, can you send me a few quantity of seeds of the carrot Early Nantes – Improved ( Cylindrical type, Container friendly). Awaiting for your reply.

    regards,

    Saishankar, Chennai. Hp:09789087672

  • Romilla

    Looks like a good crop. I am a new container gardener , was inspired by your blog to start and hope will soon be able to harvest crops as you do.
    Could you give me the address/location of the shops where i can buy the plastic trays.

  • Hi GG,

    Those carrots look lovely!

    Regards,
    Asha

  • Sasi Kanth Vallem

    Hi,

    Thanks for the nice post. Can you help me with the fertilizer. I got NPK 19-19-19 is a shop. How much should I mix with water and how often I should water these plants with this solution? I will be using Coco Peat and Vermi Compost for the soil mix.

    Regards,
    Sasi

  • Shankar

    Hi,

    I believe the brand new plastic pots that you get in shops is expensive. Is that so? OR is it just that I don’t know the right place to purchase?

    I was searching for inexpensive containers like:

    Old Paint buckets.
    Trays similar to the one shown in this blog entry.
    Old milk crates.

    Does anyone know where it can be bought? There should be some place all the old plastic items go for recycling in Bangalore, but don’t know where it is

    Regards,
    Shankar.

  • I accessed this page just now.

    The write up and esp. the pics are very educative. They do pose well ..:-). The last time I tried, they all drowned due to the unseasonal rains in Hyderabad.

  • [...] Carrots can be grown nearly all year round! Did you ever grow carrots in containers? A report: http://j.mp/hQpuYl [...]

  • BRB

    Hi SasiKanth,

    You have a lovely terrace garden. I have a question for you. I’ve been looking for strong staking material in Bangalore -for my tomatos and other plants that tend to fall over. I saw in your video nice strong bamboo – did you get these in the above mentioned Bamboo Bazaar as well? Typically how are these priced?

    thanks
    BRB

    • Sasi Kanth

      Hi BRB,

      Thanks for the compliments. The setup in the video is done by professionals by charging heavy price. 31k for 100 Sq. Ft (includes 8k for 1 yr maintenance). I was able to replicate the setup with some R&D at around 1/3 of the cost and for 150 Sq. Ft. I am aiming at further reducing the price as now I got the hold of items and where I can get them for less. Lets see how it goes :)
      Those bamboo sticks are available in the same Bamboo bazar as mentioned above. I guess a bunch of 10 stick may cost 100 to 150. If you are trying to put a stick for individual plant, you can as well get the sticks cut into 4 slices as you don’t them to be very strong. You can use the sticks as they are if you are trying to make a frame out of them. In bamboo bazar, you get wide variety of sticks in all sizes (length and thickness). Another alternative is to use aluminum pipes of very very less thickness which are flexible, strong and cheap. I don’t have much idea about their cost though.

      • Hi Sasikanth,

        I came across this SFG kinda setup done by an organization a while back. Yes they do charge heavy. You are right. We can easily replicate the model without that much expense.

        I might pick up some bamboo as I have plenty of staking to do in the coming days.

        GG

  • Shankar

    Hi Sasikanth,

    I am unable to view the video. Were other able to view it?
    Not sure if its a problem on my machine.

    Regards,
    Shankar.

  • Sasi Kanth

    Dear All,
    NPK is really boosting the plants growth. But I am worried as its not an organic way of growing vegetables. I don’t mind using this non vegies. Is there any organic equivalent of NPK? I know Bio-farm which is available in SPAR and other places for 90Rs/- 5kg bag is an organic way. But not sure if its result is as good as water soluble NPK. Will Vermicompost which we get at 150 Rs/- per 25kg bag at lalbagh do as good job as NPK?

    • Nanda

      Hi Sasi Kanth,
      Was wondering if you got answer to your query here. I am also struggling with the fertilizer part of gardening these days :) Please let me know if Bio farm is useful/better than NPK??

      Thanks,
      Nanda

  • Arul

    I have just started my kitchen garden. I want to use cocopeat. Could any one know where cocopeat is available in chennai? Thanks for your help.
    Arul

  • Archana

    Hi,
    Awesome blog. Your work is simply superb.Really want to see your garden. Can you tell me are you from chennai. if you dont mind can i meet you?

  • mr geek gardener
    I was reading your blog from long time but i never planted them and i am not getting what you are saying which is 19 19 19 without name.Can you please tell me what those things.I had planted some plants but they always die due to the soil or some reason so i am not interested in that however seeing your blog i will try them.can you prefer some small plants that may grow fast and even fruits etc.ill be waiting for your reply.

  • HI,
    Do you know if the leaves of baby carrots look any different? i bought several pots of what my neighbor called ‘baby carrots’ from him as he was leaving town. the leaves look exactly like those of palak and i am now wondering if they are indeed baby carrots or radish. Also how do i know when they are ready for harvesting? The neighbor when he left told me they would be ready in abt two weeks and i can dig close to the plant and see if they are . is that the right way or should i wait for them to pop up like your pictures.

  • Chhaya

    Hi GG,

    Please let me know how to grow cauliflowers. I have about 5 to 6 of them planted about almost 2 months back. The plants are in good condition with good green foliage. However, not able to view any head yet. I have heard that Cauliflower grow on the ground but my twig is growing with lateral leaves. Please advice.

    Thanks,
    Chhaya

  • kalleravi

    Hello GG,

    As a beginner I am going to enrich my knowledge by growing more vegitables.

    Going to start the carrot crop. Need somemore guidance from you for the below questions.

    1/ watering – how much and what is the interval of watering required for container(5L container) carrot?
    2/ In this artical you have mentioned that, you have used 19-19-19 first one month. Can’t we use normal vermicompost or panchacavya instead of checmical fertilizer?
    3/ For this crop what is the frequency to provide organic support?
    4/ Since I am growing carrot in my balcony, how much sunlight is required? (in bright sunny day I get around 2 to 3hrs direct sunlight in my balcony)

    I appreciate your kind support.

    Regards,

    Ravi

  • Balaji

    Hai Friends

    Nice to be a part of this blog group. I am also fond of gardening and it is my hobby too. Happened to read this blog when I searched for can we grow carrots in Chennai as there is a say that Chennai is a very hot and humid region and carrots can only be grown in cold place. I live in Chennai and have a roof garden. actually I built boxes along the parapet walls and using those boxes to grow Tomatoes, Brinjal, Chillies, radish, Ladies Finger, Mint leaves, Bottle guard, Snake guard (with poleframes), Flat beans, Bitter guard, Ridge guard, cluster beans and now trying bush beans, black eyed peas and carrot. I also got some seeds of beetroot, Knolkholand going to try. I have also purchased shade clothes and trying. I request everyone of you to give your valuable suggestions.

  • sumedha

    Hi

    Can u pls tell me what are these blue crates u r using for potting?

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