While researching on growing edibles, many times the most ideal location for crops tend to be in ground (including raised beds) than containers and pots. So when coming across a vegetable where many (self-sufficient) farmers claim to be better/easier grown in containers, there seem to be no reason not to plant it.
And that vegetable is carrots!
Of course, planting in containers may not work for higher commercial yield, but for self-use, it should be plenty. This is my first experience with root vegetables, and it will be different not having the opportunity to see your harvest grow, and not seeing your crop until pulling it out from the ground.
Supposedly a relatively easy-to-upkeep crop, the main points to remember are:
- Temperature: Prefers cooler weather
- Sunlight: Like sun, but can tolerate shade (since summer is coming up, I will place it in partial shade, especially when the heat gets too intense)
- Soil: Slightly acidic soil, but more importantly loose obstacle-free soil (lumps, rocks, obstacles in soil will cause deformity to the carrots)
- Container size: Larger the better, at least 20cm deep
- Watering: Water when soil is on the dryer side, but don’t let the soil dry out and crack which may result in stunted growth or crack in carrots
- Pest: Fairly pest free when growing in containers (YAY YAY YAY!)
My carrot seeds are of Shin Kuroda 5 inch 日本進口黑田五吋 red-orange carrots from Japan. Sweet, tender, and suitable to be eaten fresh. Yum.
Carrot seeds are tiny! (top left)
I sowed the carrot seeds into a 12-inch container on March 29th.
Sowing seeds in rows. I used a chopstick to dent the lines in a peat-based soil mix with perlite and vermiculite.
Cover seeds with thin layer of soil, wet soil thoroughly.
Next, get some patience, and wait.
The store where I bought my seeds suggested covering up the pot with newspaper before sprouting for better moisture retention. I used a plastic cover instead and checked daily on the soil moisture.
Just 7 days later, sprouts were showing up. I then removed the plastic cover to improve air circulation. I’m guessing the humidity cover helped sped up the sprouting process.
April 4: Sprouts pushing out of soil
April 5: More sprouts just one day later!
April 6: Sprouts, sprouts, sprouts! The rows are almost visible.
April 8: Happy carrot seedlings!
April 11: With seedlings around 3cm high, it’s time for the phase-1 thinning.
Un-thinned left row vs. the other two thinned rows
The seedlings were easily pulled by hand. The whole time I was thinking: what to do with them? I tasted the leaves to find a citrusy crisp flavor, which I think will work in a salad, or as a garnish.
April 12: The seedlings have much more space now post-thinning.
April 15: True leaves are showing!
Close-up of true leaves
April 16: Found an alien seedling at the rim of the pot… how did that happen? Is it a weed?
April 17: More seedlings sporting true leaves!
April 18: Their true leaves remind me of Christmas…
April 18: Close-up of the weed seedling… I plan to dig it up soon and plant it in a mini-planter. Mysterious plant…
April 20: Grow carrots grow!
Some possible challenges/things to think about down the road:
- Low Nitrogen Fertilizer
Since we want to focus growth in the roots instead of the leaves, fertilizer lower in nitrogen should be used. I plan to use a organic fertilizer for flowering plants, which has a lower N (nitrogen) number and a higher P (Phosphorous) and K (Potassium) number.
- Granular Fertilizer vs. Liquid Fertilizer
So far my 1.5 month experience with fertilizing has been limited to granular organic fertilizers, where I would bury them in soil. With carrots, minimum root disruption is advised and so I think liquid fertilizer would be a better choice. When the time comes, I will be following North Coast Gardening’s guide on How to Make Liquid Fertilizer from a Granular Organic.
- Green Shoulder
Supposedly, sometimes carrots develop green shoulders, which is when the upper part of the root rises above soil and turn green from being exposed to sunlight. Online experts assure though that there’s an easy fix. Just cover the shoulder up with soil, while making sure not to cover the crown (where the leaves are growing).
The expected harvest time is around 100 days. 23 days down, 77 more to go. Can’t wait!
Favorite how-to guide on growing carrots in containers
The Vege Girl Project: Day 47