Ask any horticultural enthusiast and they’d agree that the sight of fresh and colorful carrots (yes, they come in colors) is a feast to the eye. What’s more, packed with beta-carotene, vitamin B6, niacin, and calcium, they work wonders to keep us healthy and make an excellent addition to anyone’s daily diet. Fortunately for the gardener, they aren’t very difficult to grow. With little skill, minimal effort, and some expert guidance, you can be guaranteed a delicious harvest in quick time. Better still, growing carrots indoors is also possible, so even those of us without large, outdoor space can enjoy this delicious vegetable.
Choosing the Type of Carrots You Want to Grow
In addition to the commonly seen orange, carrots come in yellow, white, red, and purple colors too. They are equally nutritious and add a splash of vibrant color to your spread of home-grown produce.
Pick a Kaleidoscope mix of carrot seeds if you want a good mix of all colors. You might also want to choose from a spread of Imperator, Chantenay, and Nantes type of carrots. They’re all equally nutritious.
The type of carrot has very little effect on its grow requirements, so this really comes down to personal preference as to which one to grow. Pick the one that looks most appealing to you.
Choosing a Pot
While baby carrots can grow in any size containers, larger varieties require deeper pots. Your best bet is to find a pot that is anywhere between 8 and 12 inches in depth. This ensures that it has enough room to spread out, which will help ensure properly sized carrots.
When the root system is not allowed to grow, this often affects the plant’s size due to lack of nutrients. This in turn leads to stunted growth and smaller yields, so always choose a pot with enough room for your carrots to grow properly.
Choosing the Right Type of Potting Soil
Given that their roots grow relatively long and straight down, carrots are more likely to thrive in loamy and lighter-fitting soil. Digging up existing garden soil can leave you with a dense and rocky mix that’s unfavourable for cultivation. Therefore, it’s best to choose a potting soil mix that’s specifically sold for vegetables; preferably with a pH level that’s between 6.0 and 6.8.
Maintaining the Ideal Temperature & Lighting
Carrots are cool weather crops and thrive during the seasons of spring and fall. The ideal temperature is between 10º C and 18º C. Seedlings are most likely to suffer in temperature higher than 30º C. Also, like most plants, avoid large temperature swings.
Carrots should receive a decent amount of sunlight per day, up to around 6 hours. Keeping them in a sunny window is usually enough, but feel free to add a free grow lights if more is needed. This might be necessary in the winter and is perfectly okay for the plant. Growing carrots indoors gives the advantage of utilizing both natural and artificial light.
Providing Adequate Water & Feeding
Like most other plants, it’s important you provide just the right amount of water to your carrots. While under watering can leave them starved and stunted, over watering can leave them foiled and dead in quick time. The key is to find the right balance.
A good tip is to ensure the top few inches of the soil stays moist and not drenched at all times. Gently touch the top of the soil, and only water when this is dry to the touch. The soil maintain a decent level of moisture at most times without being soaking wet.
Carrots should also be fertilized regularly, most gardeners recommend every two weeks with a liquid houseplant fertilizer. If growing from seeds, wait until the seedlings are roughly 3 inches tall before beginning the feeding routine.
Allowing Ideal Growing Time
Under ideal water and temperature conditions, carrots seeds are likely to start sprouting within 14 to 17 days from planting. Upon sprouting, it can take anywhere between 60 and 75 days for the vegetable to grow and be ready for picking. Resist the urge to harvest them early to get the best quality veggies.
Harvesting Your Carrots
Although you may harvest your carrots any time after they develop a rich and mature color, it’s best to harvest them at full growth. While tiny carrots are equally tasty, they do not bring as much value for effort as a full-grown produce. It’s really up to the individual gardener though and their preferences.
While harvesting, start by extracting the carrots straight out of the soil. Tugging or digging the soil might disturb the growing space of any neighboring carrots. They should come out quite easily.
Growing Carrots Indoors
Carrots are a tasty treat and one of the easier vegetables for gardeners to grow in their homes. Armed with the knowledge of how to, you’ll be growing these wonderful veggies in no time!