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Can I grow carrots in a container?

Now I swore I wasn’t going to grow any winter veg and here I am mucking about with carrots. So here’s the thing, a while ago I planted two lots of carrots. The first lot I planted directly into the raised beds. The second lot I planted in the root trainers in the greenhouse. To be honest, it was a bit of an experiment to see if they would both take and if they did, how would they fair over winter, would it give me an early crop in spring? Thing is, I was looking at the little seedlings in the raised beds the other day and they are tiny. Whereas the ones in the root trainer in the greenhouse are a good 3 or 4 times the size. So I was a bit loath to put those ones out into the cold of the raised beds. I know – I’m a big sap.

so small you can barely see them
Look at the difference

So how about instead of planting out the carrot seedlings into the raised beds, instead I kept them in the greenhouse? What if I planted them into pots and kept them safely tucked up over winter, away from the frosts? Would it work? Can I grow carrots in a pot?

So here we go. I’ve got a pile of spare pots at the minute because I’m not growing much, and I figured the quadgrow pots would be tall enough for carrots and wide enough that I can probably get 9 good carrots in there. So it was just a case of transferring the little seedlings from the roots trainers into the big pots. Luckily because I grow carrots every year and because I’ve been working with the root trainers this past 3 years, I’m pretty confident now about doing this. I also know how important loose soil is for carrots. The looser the better. You ever wondered why some people get lovely straight carrots and you always get the weird wonky ones?

Well, it could be down to your soil. Carrots are lazy buggers. if the wee root is growing and it comes across any kind of resistance, like a stone, or a bit of wood etc. It won’t go through it, instead, it goes around. Hence wonky carrots. So nice loose soil is a must. In fact, I know people who grow carrots in sand for exactly this reason. So one of the things I did, was before I filled the pots, I made sure to break up the soil, got it nice and loose, no lumps.

So there we go, pots filled with soil, leaving a good inch or so at the top for watering and it’s time to get those little seedlings over. The brilliant thing with the root trainer is that you can transfer the entire plug with very little disruption to the seedling itself.

I’ve been doing this the past 3 years for carrots and beetroot because it can give me that little headstart in spring. I get the seedlings going n the greenhouse when it’s not warm enough to sow outside yet, then I transfer them once they are a bit bigger and can cope.

I was right, I got 9 in each pot, a nice bit of space, so if they do like it there, they have room to grow big.

At this point I decided – what the hell. In for a penny, in for a pound. I’ve got two lovely pots of carrot seedlings in the greenhouse, and a bed of seedlings out in the garden. Let’s really go full in for the test. How about a couple of pots where I’ve sown seeds and we can see if they take at this time of year? What’s the harm, it’s not like I was expecting a massive carrot harvest in January, so if it doesn’t work then nothing is lost.

So I’ve now got two pots of seedlings, two pots of freshly sown seeds (1 of which is purple carrots) and I’ve got the original seedlings in the bed and the spares from the root trainer. So all in all I’ve got 4 individual experimental batches of carrots going. Two outside and 2 in the greenhouse.

I will of course keep you updated on the fun.

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