How to Grow Carrots From Seed


Learn how to grow carrots from seed as well as how to harvest and store them with this simple step-by-step guide and enjoy homegrown carrots in season and year-round! #growcarrots #carrotseedsLearn how to grow carrots from seed as well as how to harvest and store them with this simple step-by-step guide and enjoy homegrown carrots in season and year-round!

Carrots are one of my favourite vegetables to grow from seed. For one, they’re easy to grow just about anywhere, from in-ground garden rows and raised beds to a container on your balcony. 

Second, you can grow a pretty substantial amount of carrots in a fairly compact space, making them a great candidate for urban gardeners and apartment homesteaders as well as traditional homesteaders looking to maximize their harvest out in the country. 

Third, they’re a crowd pleaser when it comes to putting them on our dinner plates and there are so many fun heirloom and hybrid varieties to grow and try in addition to the standard long orange carrot. 

And finally, harvesting them is always so much fun because, unlike vegetables that grow above ground, you never know quite what you’re gonna get when you pull up a carrot root! Sometimes you get nice big, straight carrots. Other times you get some pretty interesting shapes and sizes. And if you grow Rainbow Blend carrots, well then you never know what colour you’re gonna get either! (Purple is my personal favourite).

But carrots definitely weren’t always one of my favourite vegetables to grow. In fact, the first year we tried to grow carrots from seed, we managed to kill every single one! We had no idea what we were doing when it came to starting seeds. We started our carrot seeds indoors when we lived in our condo in the city with no real plan as to where we would move them to later, or the fact that we could have just direct sown the seeds into a pot.

Then we overwatered them to the point of basically drowning some of the seeds and seedlings and then forgot about them in our spare bedroom for long enough that any little seedlings that had survived the flood most definitely did not survive the drought that followed. Oh, and I think we started them in like, June or something. 

My point is, carrots really aren’t that difficult to grow, but if you don’t know what you don’t know, then you could have a similar carrot-growing experience to our first one. And that might make you never want to try growing carrots again. And I just can’t let that happen on my watch!

So if you’re new to gardening or growing carrots from seed (or you just need a refresher on the specs), here’s a step-by-step breakdown of exactly what you need to do to SUCCESSFULLY grow carrots from seed. Because it really isn’t that difficult! Here’s what to do…

A handful of carrots

How to Grow Carrots From Seed

The Basics:

  • Prepare soil by making sure to remove any rocks or hard clumps that could prevent the carrot roots from growing straight down
  • Water the soil deeply before planting to help keep it moist
  • Direct sow carrot seeds starting from about two weeks before your average last frost date right into midsummer for a fall/winter harvest
  • Sow seeds about ¼ of an inch deep, an inch or two apart
  • Sow at three-week intervals for a continual harvest
  • Stop sowing seeds about 10 to 12 weeks before your average first frost date
  • Seeds can take up to three weeks to germinate, so be patient!
  • Keep the top couple inches of soil moist while seeds are germinating
  • Thin seedlings to about 4 or 5 inches apart as they begin to grow

The Details:

Because carrots are root vegetables, they do best in loose, well-worked soil free from rocks and other obstructions that might prevent the roots from growing straight down. If you’re planting in the ground, till the soil to a depth of about 10 to 12 inches and remove any rocks and debris. If you’re planting in containers, be sure to run a hand cultivator or rake through your soil to loosen it up and remove any debris.

Water the soil where you’ll be planting your carrot seeds thoroughly in order to help keep the soil moist. Since carrots can take up to three weeks to germinate, it’s important to keep the soil very moist during the first few days.

Direct sow carrot seeds outdoors any time from about two weeks before your average last frost date until about 10 to 12 weeks before your average first frost date for fall and winter crops. Continue sowing seeds every three weeks or so for a continual harvest all summer and fall. You can succession plant carrots after pulling up your peas, radishes and other spring crops.

Keep the top couple inches of soil moist for for at least the first 10 to 14 days, and continue to monitor moisture levels until carrot tops begin to sprout.

If planting in the summer when it’s hot and dry, you might want to place something on top of your planting area such as a row cover or plastic bag in order to keep the soil moist until seeds begin to sprout.

Once carrot tops are a couple inches tall, start to thin the seedlings to about 4 or 5 inches apart. Thinning can be hard because instinct tells you to keep all of the seedlings for more carrots later on, but if you don’t give the carrots enough space, you’ll end up with spindly, barely edible carrots when it comes time to harvest. Instead, thin seedlings out and give them space to grow and you’ll be rewarded with much bigger carrots in the end, which means more actual food for you and your family!

Bunch of carrots

Harvesting and storing carrots

The Basics:

  • Harvest carrots anywhere from around 60 to 100 days (check individual seed packets for specific instructions)
  • Harvest fall and winter carrots before the ground freezes
  • To store, remove tops and brush dirt off of carrots, but do not wash
  • Store in the fridge or in a cold/root cellar 
  • For optimum longterm storage, bury carrots in sand in a wooden crate or box in a root cellar or garage

The Details:

Carrots can technically be harvested and eaten at any point in time. But you’ll probably want to wait at least 60 or 70 days for most varieties and up to 90 and even 100 days for others. Check the time to maturity on each individual seed packet to get specific information for the particular carrot variety you’re growing.

While carrots are actually biennials (meaning they don’t produce a flower to collect seeds from until the following spring), if you are harvesting them for their roots, you’ll want to remove them from the ground before the ground freezes. A light frost will actually make carrots sweeter, but a hard freeze can affect the quality.

To store carrots, brush off any excess dirt and remove the carrot tops to keep them from rotting. The carrot tops are also edible, in case you didn’t know. You can turn them into a pesto or add them to soups and salads, or feed them to chickens and rabbits.

Store carrots in a cool place. If you only have a relatively small bunch, you can store them in the refrigerator. If you’ve got a more substantial amount, it’s best to store them in a root cellar if you have one. If not, you can store them in the garage. 

If possible, bury them in sand to keep them cool and moist. Put a layer of moist sand in the bottom of a crate, then lay a single layer of carrots on top. Then cover with another layer of sand and another layer of carrots until all of your carrots are buried and top with a final layer of sand. Store in the garage or root cellar. 

You could also store in an outbuilding to keep them cold if you have no other choice, but it should be well protected from rodents and other critters looking for an easy meal in the winter. 

If you’re in an apartment or smaller space but you manage to grow enough carrots to preserve (or even if you just pick some up from your local farmers market), but you don’t have a root cellar or garage and your fridge isn’t large enough, you can also pickle, pressure can, dehydrate, ferment or blanch and freeze carrots. So don’t worry. There are lots of storage options!

Plant carrot seeds now for an abundant harvest this summer and fall!

Carrots are an easy and rewarding vegetable crop to grow from seed. All you need is a little space and a patience while you wait for them to mature. 

If you’re looking for some good and perhaps some different varieties to try this year, here are some of my favourites:

* Just as an aside, the following are not affiliate links, however this is the seed company I purchase from and recommend here in Canada in the Pacific Northwest.

  • Danvers (large heirloom variety, good storage carrot)
  • Nantes (classic carrot, quick maturing heirloom, good for storage)
  • Paris Market (small round heirloom carrots, great for container gardening)
  • Rainbow Blend (multi-coloured hybrid variety, white, yellow, orange and purple, great “novelty” carrots)

For information on how to grow other common vegetables from seed, check out the following guides:

P.S. Don’t forget to download a free copy of my seed-starting starting cheat sheet, with at-a-glance information on how to grow 10 common garden vegetables from seed!

Wishing you homemade, homegrown, homestead happiness 🙂

 

 

 

P.S. Want more help growing your own food at home? Download my free guide, How to Grow Your Own Food in Less Than 15 Minutes A Day and learn how to grow an organic grocery store in your backyard even if you’re limited on time!


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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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Okay, I’m just gonna come out and say it: I’m a total sucker for pumpkin spice.

Call me #basic, but it’s the truth.

In fact, I’m all about everything fall: the colours, the coziness, the sweater weather, and yes, pumpkins and pumpkin spice. There’s just something comforting and nostalgic about it; Like grandma’s kitchen or the warm scent of pumpkin pie that wafts from the table at holiday dinners with family and friends.

What I’m NOT all about are the chemical preservatives and lab-created “natural flavours” in most store-bought and coffee shop pumpkin spice syrups and lattes. Not to mention, I don’t exactly love paying $5.00 or more for a single drink at a cafe.

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You definitely want to try this at home this pumpkin spice season. Er, I mean this fall 😉

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As much as I'm honestly kinda over the garden by this time of year and ready to tuck in indoors and rest for a while, I know that the effort I put into my garden in the fall will pay a huge return come next spring and summer when we're ready to plant and then harvest our next round of crops.

For one, fall is the best time to amend and enrich your soil, so adding compost or manure or some sort of organic matter is pretty crucial this time of year.

Also, you should always cover your soil, especially over the winter months when soil is more likely to erode and nutrients can get washed away. A cover crop or a thick layer of mulch is a good idea to help keep your soil protected and intact.

And of course, garlic should be planted in the fall before your first frost to ensure huge bulbs next summer. Us homesteaders always have to be thinking ahead a few seasons!

I'm taking you into our garden as we're tearing it down and planting out our garlic. I'll show you our fall gardening routine and I'll walk you through planting garlic so you can start growing it at home too! (It's honesty the easiest, most rewarding crop that we grow).

It's time for the grand finale in the garden this year as we tear it down and prep it for next spring. Will you join me for one last hurrah?

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://youtu.be/llNFlxxUV-I
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First batch of homemade candles for the season. It’s a cold, grey day and we’re about to light the woodstove for the first time this season too. Now I have some homemade spice-scented candles to go with the cozy vibe:)

I LOVE candles, but good ones are pretty expensive to buy. However, since I started making candles myself I haven’t bought a single one from the store and I’ve probably saved myself hundreds of dollars.

I make at least a batch or two (or three) of these scented soy wax candles every year around this time. I burn a bunch of them myself over the winter and we gift them for Christmas. I’ve even sold them for upwards of $15 a piece!

If you want an easy and rewarding DIY project to get into as we head into fall and winter, homemade candles is your answer.

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-soy-candles-essential-oils to learn how to make them yourself!
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Sometimes I question why I do what I do. Why do I take on so much? Why do I bother making everything from scratch and growing a garden and preserving food when I could just as well buy it from the store and save myself a ton of time and effort?⁣⁣⁣
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Why am I working hard to build a business out of my passion when I could just as easily go to work for a pay check and just enjoy homesteading as a hobby on the side?⁣⁣⁣
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Why do I choose to do everything the hard way and see against the grain? Why not just go with the flow and hope for the best?⁣⁣⁣
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I can’t say for sure that I would have chosen to follow all the same paths that I’ve gone down over the past few years had I not become a mother, but what I 𝘥𝘰 know for sure is that my beautiful daughter is worth every ounce of hard work; every dollar I’ve invested in our future goals and dreams; every late night work fest and canning session; every seed planted and loaf of bread baked.⁣

She’s worth it because I want to give her the best I can in life. I want her to eat good food and live a long and healthy life. I want to teach her how to be self-sufficient so that she has the skills she needs no matter what kind of world awaits her in the future. And I want to show her that anything is possible and any dream is worth pursuing, even if the work that it takes to achieve it is harder than following the herd and taking the road of least resistance.⁣⁣⁣
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This little human right here: this is my why. This girl and her goofy smile make everything worthwhile ❤️⁣⁣⁣
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What (or who?) is your why?
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This growing season has seriously been the strangest I’ve experienced so far. Summer came so late we thought it wasn’t gonna come at all. Our greens and peas and spring crops produced for weeks longer then they normally do as we waited FOREVER for our tomatoes and peppers and summer crops to grow and ripen.

Now that we’re into October, we’re having a warm spell and the garden is acting like it’s summer! The tomatoes are all just starting to turn red, the cucumbers and zucchini are still givin’er, the pumpkins and squash are having another growth spurt, and now the green beans are starting on round two after about a month of dormancy!

We’re supposed to be going fishing tomorrow, and I’m wondering if the salmon are a little late this year too...

If there’s one thing 2020 has taught us all it’s that nothing is ever certain. So even though I’m sort of ready to be done with the garden already, I’m reminded of how fortunate we are to have such abundance come from our property and our surrounding environment; To have so much when so many have so little; To live in such a beautiful, bountiful corner of the world surrounded by a kind-hearted community that values sustainability and self-sufficiency like we do.

I love making plans for the future, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without some pretty serious planning. But sometimes you’ve just gotta go with the flow and trust that even when things don’t work out exactly as you’d imagined, they work out exactly as they should.

I wasn’t expecting to still be busy with the summer garden in October, but I have to say, this year, no matter how ready to be done with it I might feel some days, I’m more grateful than ever for everything we’ve been blessed with.

What are you feeling grateful for this year? It’s Thanksgiving next weekend here in Canada, so we’ll be talking a lot about gratefulness this week in our house 🙏
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Can you imagine how bland and boring our food (and life) would be without spices??⁣

Seriously! We take them for granted nowadays because they’re so readily available in our pantries and on grocery store shelves. But for thousands of years throughout history, spices were coveted, revered and hard to get. For around 1,500 years, spices travelled overland on camelback and horseback on the Silk Road from China to the west. And then, just over 500 years ago, explorers set out into the unknown to find a maritime trading route, and one of those explorers just so happened to stumble on the Americas along the way, essentially shaping history and the modern world as we know it. ⁣

But besides history and geography, the science behind spices is just as fascinating. Their culinary and medicinal uses have had a huge impact on the world and on the dishes we enjoy on a regular basis today. Oh, and did you know that, scientifically speaking, it’s actually possible to GROW even the most “exotic” spices at home, right here in North America??⁣

I LOVE to geek out on this sort of stuff, so doing the research for the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine was actually so much fun. (If you hadn’t guessed, this issue is all about spices!!)⁣

I’d love to tell you so much more right here, but I’m a bit limited on space! However, you can read more about the fascinating story of spices, their culinary and medicinal uses, how to put them to use in your kitchen and yes, even how to grow them at home in the October issue.⁣

So if you’re already subscribed, be sure to check your inbox for the latest issue (it came out yesterday). And if you’re NOT yet subscribed, then head on over and click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to subscribe for FREE, and get the latest issue delivered straight to your inbox!⁣

Wishing you a rich, flavourful fall season full of spice, pumpkin and otherwise;)
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You’ve probably heard me complaining about our green tomato “problem” all summer. We do, after all, have great fruit set and TONS of tomatoes on our plants. They’re just almost all green!!!

While I do love me some green tomatoes (green tomato relish is my FAVE and fermented green tomatoes and hot peppers are out of this world), I refuse to give up on luscious, red, homemade tomato sauce and salsa just yet. I refuse to accept that they’re all just green and that’s just the way it is! So I’m taking matters into my own hands and ripening them myself.

Luckily the process of ripening green tomatoes indoors is ridiculously easy, so if you’ve got more green tomatoes than you know what to do with too, or you’re just keen to get another batch of sauce on your pantry shelves, I’m sharing this simple trick with you today for ripening green tomatoes that has stood the test of time (for real... my great grandmother used to do this).

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/how-to-ripen-green-tomatoes-indoors/ to learn this simple hack!
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Okay, I MAY have totally messed up a batch of blackberry jam today, but check out this carrot! Thing’s almost as thick as my forearm and as long as my face! (Is that an accurate way to measure things?)🤷🏻‍♀️
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September is such an odd time of year. It’s the time of year when we tend to find ourselves with a foot in two worlds: A transition season, if you will.⁣

In the garden, some plants are dead or dying. There’s brown, crispy stems, dried pea pods bursting with next year’s seeds and a natural layer of mulch in the form of fallen leaves. But at the same time there’s still so much life. So much greenery and colour. So much of summer still left.⁣

Indoors we’re busy putting up the harvest, stocking our shelves with jars of colourful food, baskets of cured onions and garlic, dried herbs hanging everywhere and crocks of fermenting foods on every countertop. But while we’re still dealing with the summer bounty, fall has begun, which means we’re back to schedules and routines and, for those of us with kids, school.⁣

But this year our return to our “normal” fall routines is anything but. For many families, there is no return to school. Not in the traditional sense anyway. Instead, more families than ever before have found themselves educating their children at home for the first time, whether by force or by choice. And trying to balance all of the usual September tasks with navigating full-time homeschooling can feel daunting, to say the least.⁣

I know we can all use as much help and expert advice as we can get at this time, so I’m honoured to have Ginny Aaron, a full-time homeschooling, homesteading mom of three sharing her wisdom on the blog this week. She’s generously shared her best tips for incorporating homeschooling with your existing routine and finding the teachable moments in the every day so that you don’t need to uproot your life or find another 7 hours in your day to recreate a classroom environment at home.⁣

I just love Ginny’s approach to homeschooling and if you’re anything like me, I think you will too. You can check out her full post by clicking the link in my bio or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homeschooling-on-the-homestead/

It’s also Ginny's first time guest posting so be sure to leave a comment while you’re there and let us know what school looks like for your family this year.⁣

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead
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I’ve been feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders lately. Between balancing work and the garden and all of the canning and preserving tasks this time of year, I’ve already got enough on my plate. Add a string of social commitments, back-to-school and extracurricular activities, and I’m definitely feeling the pressure, as I usually do this time of year.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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But lump on a pandemic, worsening political tensions, division and civil unrest, intensifying environmental disasters (we’re currently socked in with smoke from the California wildfires), and it all just becomes too much to bear some days.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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I know I’m far from the only one who’s feeling this way. And yet, we all have to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep going even when we’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed and burnt out. Even when the present is frightening and the future is uncertain.⁣

I’ve developed some strategies over the past few years that have helped me keep moving forward and get things done even when I’m feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, and I want to share them with others who need help coping with stress and overwhelm right now too.⁣⁣
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You can check out my list of 10 tips for managing stress and overwhelm on the homestead (and in life!) by clicking the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead and then clicking the link to the full blog post at the top.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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You can also grab my free time management planner by clicking the link in my bio and then clicking on “Free Resource Library,” (find it under “Homesteading & Self-Sufficiency Resources” in the library).⁣⁣⁣
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No matter what you’re struggling with right now, I hope some of these tips help keep you navigate these extra stressful times and stay focused and moving forward with your to-do list, as well as with your big goals and dreams. But most of all, I hope it reminds you that if you are struggling and feeling overwhelmed right now, you’re not alone.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to read more.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
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I don’t think I have a jar big enough for this pickling cucumber 🥒 ⁣

What do you do with the huge pickling cukes that inevitably get missed in the garden??⁣

Please leave suggestions below! I’ve got two of ‘em! 😂
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#humanswhogrowfood #homesteadersofinstagram #mypickleisbiggerthanyours
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Late summer is truly the time of abundance (and by far the busiest time of year for us).⁣⁣⁣
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We’ve got so much food that’s ripe for the picking in our own garden, plus baskets full of produce that we purchase locally when it’s in season and preserve for the winter.⁣⁣⁣
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Between harvesting and preserving (and trying my best to document it all for you along the way), there’s little time for much else in August.⁣⁣⁣
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We’re busy sweating in the garden and the kitchen, working around the clock to preserve all of the fruits (and vegetables) of summer so that come winter we hunker down and relax knowing we’ve got a pantry full of food to sustain us.⁣⁣⁣
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While there have been more times than I like to admit when I’ve asked myself why we do this when we could be at the beach or floating down the river like everyone else, come winter I am ALWAYS grateful for the time and energy we invested in the spring, summer and fall to grow and preserve all of the food that lines our pantry shelves.⁣⁣⁣
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With everything that 2020 has brought so far (and more uncertainty to come), this year I’m feeling grateful even in the thick of it; Even while I’m sweating and pulling late night canning sessions and constantly scraping dirt out from under my nails. This year it’s more apparent than ever how much growing and preserving our own food is worth the time and effort that it takes.⁣⁣⁣
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If you feel the same way and you’re looking to get even better at gardening, preserving and homesteading in general, or maybe you’re finally ready to start living a more sustainable lifestyle where YOU have control over your food supply, I highly encourage you to check out the Gardening & Sustainable Living Bundle (link in bio @thehouseandhomestead). It’s packed with almost $600 worth of resources designed to help you take control of your food security and live a more self-sufficient life, and it’s on sale today only for just $19.99!⁣

If you ask me, we would all be wise to invest in our own food security as we head into fall and winter 2020, so click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to grab your bundle now. The sale ends tonight at midnight so don’t wait!!
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