Carrots come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, including orange, yellow, red, and pink. They’re rich in vitamin A and essential for all home cooks. As one of the most used vegetables for cooking, most households always have them in stock.
But can you grow carrots indoors? The answer is yes, you can! Growing carrots in containers or pots is actually easier than growing them in the garden because they thrive better on a steady supply of moisture, and that’s hard to provide outdoors in the summer heat.
If you live in an apartment without a garden but still want to grow your own carrots, this is the perfect time to start. Don’t worry; if you don’t have any gardening experience, carrots are one of the easiest vegetables to grow indoors.
Check out our step-by-step guide on how to grow carrots indoors below.
Why Is Growing Carrots Indoors Better?
As we mentioned above, growing carrots indoors using containers or pots is much easier than growing them outdoors. Here are our top three reasons why it’s better to grow them indoors:
- They can grow indoors all year round, which isn’t possible in most areas if you’re growing them outside.
- You can control the temperature and keep an eye on the moisture of the soil, especially in the summer. Carrots will turn bitter if the soil is too hot; they prefer that the soil’s temperature stays under 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This, however, isn’t possible in all U.S. hardiness zones, as summer temperatures in zone 10, for example, can reach well over 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- It’s also better to grow them indoors if you live in cold climates, such as Zones 3 and below.
Growing Carrots Indoors: The Ultimate Guide
First, you need to decide how much space you have for growing carrots indoors. This will determine two things: The size of containers or pots and the variety of carrots you want to plant.
Finding the Best Location
Carrots need lots of sunlight, so you need to consider this when finding the best location in your house to grow them. You’ll need to find a space in your home, maybe on a sunny windowsill or balcony, that provides at least 9 to 12 hours of sunlight per day.
Carrots grow best in temperatures between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. So if you’re from a colder area and the temperatures are below the recommended, you shouldn’t grow them on the balcony but rather move them inside to your windowsill.
Choosing Suitable Pots
If you grow carrots at home, you’ll need to choose suitable pots first. You should opt for pots or containers that drain well and can hold at least 8 to 12 inches of soil with an additional 3 inches of headroom so they can grow and mature undisturbed. The base should be at least 4 inches wide.
Prepare the Potting Soil Mix
Garden soil is too heavy to use in pots. Use a light, well-draining, preferably sandy potting soil mix and add a moderate amount of organic fertilizer, such as worm compost.
Plant the Carrots
Carrots can be sown directly into the pots if they’re adequately tall enough to accommodate carrot roots.
Make an eighth to a quarter-inch-deep hole two inches apart. It’s best to check the seed package for recommended depth, as each variety has different needs for space and growth.
You can use your fingers to make holes inside the soil and put three or four carrot seeds into each hole. Cover them lightly with soil and spray with water. Keep the soil moist until the carrot seeds germinate.
The germination process for carrot seeds takes around 6 to 10 days, though some can take up to 21 days, depending on the carrot variety. When you’re done, cover the pot with plastic wrap until the first sprouts appear.
Place the pots in a sunny location; pick a windowsill that gets the most sunlight as carrots do best with plenty of light; if you don’t find suitable space around your apartment or there’s not much daily sunlight in your area, you can use grow lights instead.
Check out this video on how to grow carrots on a sunny windowsill:
Caring for Carrots
When you’re finished planting the carrots, it’s time to properly take care of them to have a good harvest.
Temperature and Light
Carrots grow best with plenty of sunlight. If you’re growing them under natural sunlight, 6–8 hours per day is recommended. If you’re using grow lights, make sure they get at least 10–12 hours of light per day.
Although they can stand temperatures as low as 45 degrees Fahrenheit, the recommended temperature for growing carrots is between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
You always need to keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate. It’s best if you gently spray water on the soil daily. Once the seedlings begin to grow, water the pots only when you notice the soil getting dry.
Carrots need a minimum of 1 inch of water per week, so watering them two or three times per week should be enough. When you water the carrots, make sure that you soak the soil completely because if you soak the soil only on the top, the roots won’t grow as deep. But be careful not to give them too much water as this can lead to a rotten root.
Fertilizing and Cutting
Once you notice that the tops are at least 3 inches tall, you should start with fertilizing. Start feeding the seedlings with liquid houseplant fertilizer every two weeks to give them enough nutrients to grow.
Thin out the carrots when you see that the sprouts reach a height of 5–6 inches, pinch off the top inch of the growing tips with your fingers. Keep an eye on the roots; you want them to remain under the soil and not become exposed. If this happens, gently push them down or cover them with more soil.
Pests and Diseases
Since you’re growing your carrots indoors, you shouldn’t need to worry too much about pests and diseases. The only danger that you need to think about is a potential fungal infection, which is also called “damping off.”
Here are a few things you can do to prevent this from happening:
- Space the seeds at least two inches apart and thin them immediately after germination.
- Remove the plastic bag cover as soon as germination occurs to prevent it from getting too moist in there.
- Make sure that the soil is well-drained and not too soggy at all times.
Harvesting Your Carrots
After approximately 70–75 days from planting the seeds, your carrots are ready to harvest. Don’t harvest them too early; you want to get good quality veggies. It’s also important to know that different varieties have different growing times, so check the seed package for how much time is needed to reach harvest.
Simply pull the carrots out of the soil when harvesting. They should normally come out quite easily without any tugging or digging of the soil.
If you prefer to eat baby carrots, the time from planting to harvest is a bit shorter. Baby carrots are usually ready for harvest in 50 to 60 days. Pull them out of the pots when they’re about 1/2 inches in diameter. You can also take one out to check if they’re the correct size.
Storage and Preservation
If harvested carrots aren’t kept in cold temperatures, they will become soft and limp. So unless you’re planning to use them immediately, don’t forget to store them properly.
You can store fresh carrots in the refrigerator for up to a month. To stop condensation, wrap them in a paper towel and put them into a bag, or you can use a perforated plastic bag instead.
For longer preservation, you can also freeze the carrots. Just make sure to trim them down and bleach them beforehand to kill any potentially harmful bacteria before placing them in the freezer.
5 Health Benefits of Carrots
Here are just a few of the health benefits of carrots.
- Carrots boost your eye health: Carrots are rich in lutein and lycopene, which help maintain good eyesight and night vision. The high amount of vitamin A also helps with promoting good eyesight.
- They’re a great source of folate, which is essential for the healthy development of an unborn baby in the early stages of pregnancy.
- They boost your skin and nail health: Apart from being full of beta carotene, lutein, and lycopene, the high silicon content of the root helps to promote healthy skin and nails.
- Carrots are also a great source of dietary fiber, essential for bowel health.
- They fight cholesterol and heart disease: Carrots boost your heart health by getting rid of excess LDL cholesterol from the walls of blood vessels and arteries.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Do Carrots Take To Grow Indoors?
With the ideal temperature, light, and water conditions, seeds are likely to start sprouting within 14 to 17 days. Once they start sprouting, it can take anywhere from 60 to 80 days to reach maturity and be ready for harvest.
If you prefer eating baby carrots, they’ll be ready to harvest in about 50 to 60 days after sprouting.
Can You Grow a Carrot From a Carrot Top?
You cannot grow a carrot by planting the top of the vegetable leftovers from your kitchen. However, the carrot plant, or the “carrot top,” can be regrown from the carrot tops you’ve just harvested.
Growing a carrot plant from carrot tops is a brilliant idea for children’s gardens; it produces clear results in just a few short days and is incredibly easy to do.
How Do You Start Carrots Indoors?
If you want to speed the germination process, you can soak carrot seeds in water for around an hour and then dry them with a paper towel and put the seeds into an airtight container. You can do this four or five days before you plan to sow them.
After that, follow our guide on growing carrots indoors and how to care for them properly, and in approximately 60 to 75 days, you can enjoy your first harvest.
How Can I Make My Carrots Grow Better?
The most important thing for growing carrots faster and better is the soil mix. Make sure you use mixed, well-drained soil. It’s also important to add a 2-inch layer of compost before planting, as this will aid drainage and provide vital nutrients.
Don’t forget to fertilize your carrots after the tops have reached 3 inches. Choose a fertilizer that has less nitrogen and more potassium and phosphate. Use it every 2 weeks until harvest.
Growing carrots indoors is very easy and doesn’t take much of your time. You don’t need to be a gardening expert to grow them in pots.
Carrots are essential in all kitchens; a lot of dishes are made with carrots. They’re also extremely beneficial for your health if you eat them regularly. Why not save yourself some time; no need to always be going to the store because you just discovered you’re out of carrots?
You can pick from different varieties of carrots depending on what kind you want. It’s easy to take care of them. After planting, all you’ll need to do is keep an eye on the soil, don’t let it dry out, and water it frequently so it stays moist. Harvesting is also simple to do; you just pull the carrots out of the soil once they’re ready.
So don’t worry, if you follow our guide on how to grow carrots indoors correctly, you’ll enjoy your first harvest of carrots after about 60 to 75 days.