Grow carrots this year! It is a great kid’s project for two different reasons. I would recommend growing them in a planter or a raised bed to get started. The reason is this, carrots love to grow in loose, crumbly soil as they grow their roots long into the ground. Of course, some carrots are short and stubby like the Chantenay carrot. These would have a better chance at growing well in heavy soil. So I recommend getting started with a planter if you are new to gardening. And I recommend the Chantenay carrot. It is sweet and grows nice and fat! Here is a picture of the carrot leaves so you can see how they look.
Grow Carrots in a Container
My planter is 16 inches square giving a growing area of 1.8 square feet. I have about 12 inches of potting soil in my planter. So the idea is not to grow a ton of carrots but to grow them for the learning experience.
I sprinkled the seeds on the soil and then covered them with a little bit of soil. Carrot seeds are really small so it is easy to plant a lot at a time. Don’t worry though because you can thin them out later. Carrots take a while to germinate 14-21 days. My father has a favorite trick when he plants carrots. He plants them with radishes. He plants both sets of seeds right into the soil in his garden. Radishes germinate and grow very quickly. He feels that the radishes mark where the carrots have been planted because they germinate so quickly. And as the radishes grow they loosen up the soil a little to make way for the carrots to grow. When you pull the radishes they leave space for the carrots to fill up. So try planting radishes in the planter along with the carrots. I worked on a volunteer project at an inner city elementary school. I could see the delight in the children’s faces when they pulled up radishes and got this beautiful red globe that they had planted from seed.
Make Sure You Thin the Carrots
When the carrots are about 4-5 inches high start thinning them out. You have to be brutal for this–rippping out young promising plants. If you don’t do it the carrots won’t grow properly and become fat. They won’t have enough room. You can put the discarded plants into your compost pile! Carrots need room to grow so you have to make sure they have the room. Carrots take a long time to mature–about 3 months. Here is picture of a carrot before I pulled it out. You can see that it looks nice and fat. More on Growing Carrots.
So I mentioned that to grow carrots is good for two different reasons. Check my next post on Carrots and the Black Swallowtail Butterfly to learn about the second reason!
Click on this picture to order seeds!