UCCE Orange County Master Gardeners
University of California
UCCE Orange County Master Gardeners

Edible Plants


Carrots, growing

carrots
Carrots are good for a small garden if compact varieties are grown.

How to grow

Plant carrot seeds directly in the garden where they are intended to grow. Carrots should not be transplanted, as it does too much damage to the root.  Carrot seeds are very small. Seeds germinate best under cool, moist conditions in the spring, but may be started in slightly warmer weather if the soil is kept moist. Use or prepare soil that is deep and loose to avoid misshapen roots. Do not plant in areas where young plants may be subject to long periods of cold temperatures.

Plant seeds about an inch apart in the row with the rows being about 12 to 16 inches apart. Plant more seeds than necessary to make up for any losses from insects such as cutworms. Plant shallowly, less than one-quarter inch deep. Keep the soil surface moist, and don't allow it to crust while seeds are sprouting. Read more about soil crusting.

Seedlings are weak and if disturbed, don't recover well. It’s best to use drip systems to water to avoid disturbing the roots. Once emerged, carefully thin seedlings so that plant roots are 1 to 2 inches apart in the row. You may need to thin successively, over a period of several weeks, until your row has evenly spaced plants.

When to plant

Carrots are hardy and can tolerate light frost. Because of that, they can be sown several weeks prior to the last frost date if the soil is warm enough. The ideal soil temperature is around 72°F with germination in 6 to 14 days. Avoid planting where young plants are exposed to long periods of cold temperatures. In a suitable climate, carrots can be planted more than once a year for a continuous harvest.

Read more about when to plant carrots.

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