Carrots grown in raised beds and containers develop far better than others that are grown in open soil. This is because, with containers, you get crumbly compost which is a more ideal cultivation medium for carrots. Growing your carrots in raised beds and containers makes it so you can have the container packed without affecting cropping.
This way also, you get better control of the watering and weeding process.
To grow carrots in smaller containers, you only have to consider the depth of the containers and not necessarily the width of the container since the width only affects how many carrots you can have growing in the container at a time. A container that is about 8in / 20cm in depth is the smallest container needed to grow carrots.
The type of container used doesn’t matter much, it could be clay or plastic, square or round or oblong. It doesn’t affect how your carrots grow in any way.
Sowing Carrot Seeds
Just like it is required for many other vegetables, growing carrots in raised beds or containers requires light soil that is good at retaining moisture.
Early variety carrot seeds should be sown during the first and second weeks of April and main crop carrot seeds should be sown during the first and second weeks of May.
The first step when sowing carrots in raised beds or containers is to draw a line in the soil, using a plant marker to form a shallow groove that is only less than an inch deep. Then place a few seeds in your palms, let them sit in the crease of the palm. To make sure that very little seeds are sown, tilt your hand slightly downward and tap. Next, cover the seeds with the soil around them and gently water the soil.
Instead of covering with the soil around as explained above, you can also cover with a thin layer of horticultural vermiculite and then gently water the surface. When sowing multiple rows, make sure the rows are around 3in / 7cm apart.
Due to how fine the carrot seeds are, if care is not taken to constrain the number of seeds sown, it will be a bigger hassle to thin the seedlings out when the carrot starts to develop.
Care Of Carrots In Raised Beds / Containers
The major need of developing carrots especially if they are grown in raised beds is water. If the containers are in the sun and the weather is warm, you might need to water them twice a day. Placing the containers under a shade would benefit the carrots if a long warm spell is expected.
To encourage better root growth, tomato fertilizer should be applied once a week. If you’re unable to get tomato fertilizer, general-purpose fertiliser is a sufficient substitute.
Around ten days after sowing, as the carrots start to develop and seedlings start to shoot out, thin the seedlings to be around 1in / 3cm away from each other. Do this in the evening so you do not attract carrot flies. This would be the only thinning needed, when the carrots become too closely packed, just harvest them as young plants.
Recommended Varieties Of Carrots Raised Beds / Containers
Just in case you are unsure what variety of carrot to grow, here’s a brief comparison of the different types of carrots that are available.
First, you have the option of growing early carrots which typically mature in 12 weeks and maincrop carrots which take longer to mature. Early carrots are generally sweeter and smaller than maincrop carrots but they don’t last as long as maincrop carrots when stored.
Some early varieties of carrots you can choose to grow are;
This variety can be grown in most raised beds and containers. It grows to about 4in / 10cm long. It is sweet and crunchy. It matures very early and has an RHS Award of Garden Merit.
This early variety carrot has a very sweet flavour, a very appealing appearance and texture. It grows to about 5in /12cm long and does well in containers.
Parmex does well in more shallow sips because it only grows to about 2in / 5cm long. It has an RHS award (1) for garden merit and can be planted as a filler between other vegetables.
This variety grows to about 4in / 12cm long. It tastes good and has an appealing colour. It also has an RHS Award of Garden Merit.
Finally, we will look at some words used to refer to various shapes and types of carrots.
- Nantes type carrots are carrots that cope well with clay and store fairly well. They are earliest with medium thickness and length.
- Chantenay carrots are preferred by chefs because of their top quality flavour. They are medium size and shaped like a cone.
- Amsterdam carrots do not store well but are great for eating raw because of their sweet taste. They are small and slim and they mature fast.
If you’re looking to store your carrots for long and possibly over the winter, look for autumn king carrots. They are maincrop carrots and take time to mature about 16 to 20 weeks.
- BBC Gardening – Link