There’s always a lot to do in your garden when it’s planting season. No matter where you live, no matter what you are planting, it seems like that checklist never ends.
But like any endeavor, nailing the basics is usually the most important thing you can do if you want to ensure success.
If you want to ensure a successful harvest, you’ve got to get planting right… Every planting begins with a seed, and since today we are talking about carrots we need to know one thing: how many carrot seeds should you plant per hole?
You should plant two or three carrot seeds in every hole. Some carrot seeds just won’t germinate, so a couple of extra seeds will ensure a successful planting. You can trim back surplus plants once they sprout.
Carrots are somewhat more involved than many beginning gardeners think, but they aren’t too difficult to grow as long as you plant a couple of extra seeds and ensure they have adequate spacing between them.
But that’s just for starters, there’s a lot more to know about growing carrots. I’ll tell you more about it in the rest of this article…
How Deep Should You Plant Carrot Seeds?
Carrots should be planted pretty shallow, no more than a quarter inch below the surface. Much deeper than that and the first shoots will run out of energy before they can pierce the surface.
How Wide Should the Hole for Carrot Seeds Be?
Only as wide as needed to accommodate the seed. You don’t need a wide hole at all, but you should give the individual plantings some space between them.
Ideally, most cultivars will have at least 12 inches (30 centimeters) between plantings, and some of them need 15 inches (38 centimeters) or more.
When Should You Plant Carrot Seeds?
You should plant carrots in the spring or fall depending on your growing season. Carrots generally depend on cool weather to grow well and produce high-quality roots.
In cooler zones in the springtime, plant as soon as the soil is workable, and perhaps as early as 2 weeks prior to the last spring frost.
After that, carrots can be planted in generations every two to three weeks thereafter.
If you live someplace warmer, you’ll probably be restricted to growing carrots in the fall and through the early weeks of winter.
Does Each Carrot Seed Grow 1 Carrot?
Yes. One carrot seed produces one carrot. If you plant multiple seeds in a single hole, plants will compete with each other if there are multiple germinations.
What Happens if You Plant Too Many Carrot Seeds Together?
If you plant multiple carrot seeds together and there are multiple germinations, the young plants will quickly begin to compete with each other for resources.
Once they start to develop true leaves they will quickly start to shade each other, reducing growth.
For this reason, redundant plans should be pinched off or snipped off at the soil level once they have sprouted.
If you plant multiple carrots close together, remember that you’ll want about 12 inches between each one to allow them plenty of room to thrive.
Are Carrots Easy to Grow?
Fairly easy to grow, yes. Among root vegetables, carrots are not the most difficult but neither are they the easiest.
Carrots have fairly strict requirements concerning the texture and consistency of the soil in addition to nutritional, light and temperature requirements.
If carrots are forced to grow in obstructed, heavy, or compacted soil they will grow more slowly than usual and their roots will become malformed.
Soil and Climate Factors to Consider When Planting Carrot Seeds
Carrots grow best in loose, fluffy and debris-free soil. If the roots of your carrots struggle to grow straight down or encounter obstacles they will become deformed and possibly split, leading to a poor harvest.
The soil should also be slightly acidic, generally between a 6.1 and a 6.8 pH.
Also, carrots need lots of light, but they also need afternoon shade to protect them from the worst of intense sun, particularly in warmer weather. Aim for between 6 and 8 hours of a full sun a day.
Another thing, make sure you leave plenty of room for your carrots. Spacing is paramount to ensure a full and high-quality harvest.
If you don’t have around a foot between each mature plant, they can start to shade each other.
Note that this spacing requirement might depend on the cultivar; some only spread out about 9 inches, others spread out a whole foot. Know your variety, and adjust accordingly.
How Long Until You Can Harvest Carrot When Planting from Seed?
Carrots mature fairly slowly, but if planted from seed they will generally take anywhere from 8 weeks to 11 weeks to fully mature and be ready for harvest.
As always, consult the specific information for your variety to get a better idea of when they’ll be ready assuming all requirements are optimal.
When you think they are close, you can probe gently just beneath the soil to see if your carrots are at the recommended diameter, and don’t be afraid to pull one up and taste it to know for sure.
Can You Plant Carrot Seed Indoors?
Yes, so long as you meet all of the requirements spelled out above. Concerning containers, obviously you’ll need very deep ones to grow nice, sweet and well-formed carrots.
Any carrot that meets resistance from the bottom of a container is going to split or deform, and this will impede growth and reduce sweetness.
This challenge can be overcome, and lead to a much lighter container overall, by choosing finger or round type cultivars.
The good news is that carrots do well in pretty much any kind of container that is deep enough and wide enough. Plastic containers are fine as long as they are well-drained.
Also, carrots do not transplant well at all. Expect to lose a significant fraction of any that you disturb while in the soil.
It is possible to move them outside simply by moving the containers, but if you’re going to do this you must harden them off: two weeks ahead of schedule, start taking them outside and leaving them in a shady spot for at least 30 minutes.
Bring them back in, and then increase the time you leave them outside on successive days by 30 minutes each time.
At the end of 2 weeks, they will be fully acclimated to outdoor conditions and ready to stay outside in their new home.
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.