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How to grow carrots

The best place to grow carrots is in the ground, but you can also grow them in a container.

  • Dig a sunny patch of soil to about 20cm deep until it’s loose and crumbly. Remove any stones or lumpy bits. Smooth it out to make an even surface to sow your seeds.
  • Mix some seed with a handful of sand (or used coffee grounds) and then sprinkle it over the top of the soil. The sand helps to spread and separate the tiny seeds. Sprinkle a thin layer of seed raising mix to just cover the seeds.
  • Water gently with a watering can, every day if the soil is dry. You will need to keep it damp, but not soaking wet. After a week or two you should see the first green leaves. Be patient! Carrot seeds don’t always start growing all at the same time.
  • As your carrots grow, take some out to make space for the others to grow bigger. This is called thinning.
  • Keep watering to keep the soil just moist as your carrots grow, in warmer weather. But slow down watering when carrots are almost mature, so that they dont grow too quickly and crack.

Count the days!

Your seed packet tells you roughly how long it will take for your carrots to germinate and grow. Depending on the weather, it might take 100 days or more for your carrots to reach full size but you can always start eating them before that.

Growing carrots in containers

If you don’t have a patch of good garden soil, you can sow your carrot seed in containers filled with container mix from the garden centre. Any container will do but it should be at least 30cm deep with holes for drainage in the bottom. Place your container in the sun and keep up with watering so the potting mix never dries out. Feed with liquid fertiliser every week once the seedlings reach about 5cm tall.

Easy as

For straight rows of carrots that won’t need much thinning, try Yates Seed Tape. The seed comes already spaced inside the tape so all you need to do is cut it to length, lay it on in your damp, well prepared soil and lightly cover with soil or seed raising mix. You can also use seed tape for growing carrots in containers. You can also use Yates Seed Tape to grow broccoli, radish, beetroot or spring onions.

Eat a rainbow!

Colourful fruits and vegetables are nutritional heroes. The plant pigments that give them their lovely bright colours also contain important nutrients for healthy brains and bodies. Scientists say it’s a really good idea to eat as many colours of vegetables and fruits as you can.
Interesting: Orange carrots get their lovely bright colour from beta-carotene. Our bodies turn it into Vitamin A, which we need for healthy eyes, bones, teeth and skin. No other vegetable or fruit contains as much carotene as carrots do.

Carrot tips

  • Add seaweed tonic at watering time for extra strong healthy roots.
  • For a continuous supply sow carrots every 3-4 weeks.
  • Sow radishes between carrots rows. Radishes grow super-fast
  • and are ready to harvest before the carrots, so they make great row
  • markers.
  • Cover the soil with a fine layer of pea straw to help keep the soil from drying out. A crusty soil surface can make it harder for seeds to germinate.
  • Keep your carrot seedlings free of weeds. To make this easy, choose a
  • potting mix that is guaranteed weed-free.
  • Keep root tops covered with soil so they don’t turn green in the sun (which taste bitter) and help keep carrot rust fly out.

Crazy crooked carrots!

How come carrots sometimes grow into crazy shapes?  This is because something in the soil (a stone or a stick or a piece of bark or a lump of fertiliser) causes the young roots to fork instead of growing straight.

Shoo fly!

In summer, pesky carrot rust flies lay eggs in the soil next to carrots. When the larvae hatch out they eat tunnels in the carrots. Gardeners outsmart these pests by planting carrots in a different place each year, and planting early and eating carrots small. Also, planting lots of chives or onions around the carrots makes it harder for the flies to find them. Some gardeners keep them out with special insect mesh.

Look for these products, tips and advice at an Go Gardening garden centre near you.



A row of carrot seedlings ready to thin

Freshly pulled carrots grown in a raised garden

Yates Rainbow Team Power Carrots seed packet