When to Plant Carrots Outdoor? Should I Start Planting Seed Indoors? - Beginner's Guide to Farming and Growing Your Own Food (2023)

Carrots are a popular and nutritious vegetable that can be grown in a variety of climates. Planting at the right time is critical for a successful harvest and high-quality roots.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, planting carrots outdoors is a great way to add to your garden. But when should you start planting carrots, and should you begin with seeds indoors?

In this article, we will explain why and when you need to plant carrots, as well as the solutions available. Whether it be indoors or outdoors, find out what solution best fits your needs. We will give advice on when to start planting carrot seeds indoors and when to move them outside.

Get ready to dive into the world of carrot planting as we explore the answers to these questions and more in this blog post.

Brief Overview of Growing Carrots

Carrots are root vegetables that belong to the Apiaceae family and are native to Europe. They are easy to grow and require well-drained soil with a neutral pH and full sun exposure.

When growing carrots, it is important to choose a sunny spot in the garden with well-draining soil. Carrots need to be planted in a shallow trench, with seeds spaced about 1 inch apart. The soil should be kept moist but not too wet, as too much moisture can cause the carrots to become misshapen.

As the seedlings grow, they should be thinned out to allow enough space for the roots to develop properly.

Carrots can be grown from seeds, and it takes around 65 to 80 days for the seeds to mature. The plants are hardy and can handle a little bit of frost, but if they are out in low temperatures for a long time, it can slow down their growth and change how they grow overall.

So, planting at the right time is very important if you want your roots to grow and develop well and be ready to harvest when they are sweet, tender, and tasty.

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Whent to Plant Carrots Outdoor?

In colder climates, it is recommended to plant carrots in the spring when the soil has warmed up enough, while in warmer climates, they can be planted in the fall or early winter.

In areas with a mild climate, carrots can be planted in the fall or winter. In colder climates, it is recommended to plant carrots in early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked.

It is important to plant carrots before the temperatures get too high, as this will negatively impact the growth of the plants. Carrots prefer cool weather and a soil temperature between 50 and 85 °F. If the soil temperature is too high, the seeds will not germinate properly.

Best Time to Plant Carrots Outdoor: Spring Planting

Ideal Soil Temperature Range for Spring Planting

Carrot seeds need a soil temperature of around 45–85 °F (7–29 °C) for proper germination. The ideal soil temperature range for spring planting of carrots is around 50–65 °F (10–18 °C).

Average Last Frost Date

The average last frost date varies depending on the location, but it usually falls between late April and early May in most regions. Before planting carrots, it is essential to check the average last frost date for the area to avoid any damage to the seedlings.

If you plant carrots too early in the spring, they might not sprout and grow quickly because the soil is still cold. If you plant carrots too late in the spring, they might not grow as much because the summer is so hot.

Therefore, it is recommended to plant carrots in the spring when the soil temperature has reached the ideal range, and the risk of frost has passed.

Best Time to Plant Carrots Outdoor: Fall Planting

Ideal Soil Temperature Range for Fall Planting

Carrot seeds need a soil temperature of around 45–85 °F (7–29 °C) for proper germination. Carrots grow best at soil temperatures ranging from 50 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 18 degrees Celsius).

Average First Frost Date

The average first frost date varies depending on the location, but it usually falls between late September and early October in most regions. Before planting carrots, it’s important to find out when the average first frost is for the area. This will help you figure out the best time to plant.

Planting carrots too early in the fall can result in poor germination and slow growth due to hot soil temperatures, while planting too late in the fall can result in frost damage to the seedlings.

Therefore, it is recommended to plant carrots in the fall when the soil temperature has reached the ideal range, and there is still sufficient time for the seedlings to mature before the first frost date. Carrots planted in the fall will mature and be ready to harvest as the weather cools in the late fall and early winter.

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Should I Start Planting Carrots Seed Indoors?

When to Plant Carrots Outdoor? Should I Start Planting Seed Indoors? - Beginner's Guide to Farming and Growing Your Own Food (1)

Carrots are a popular root vegetable that can be grown indoors or outdoors. Starting carrots from seed indoors is a great way to extend the growing season or get a head start on the planting season.

When planting carrot seeds indoors, it is important to use high-quality potting soil and a seed tray that is at least two inches deep. The seeds can get enough water and food at this depth for germination to happen.

Seed priming is another technique that can help speed up germination. Before planting the seeds, they need to be soaked in water for a few hours. This helps soften the seed coat and makes it easier for water to get into the seed, which speeds up and improves germination.

It is not a good idea to transplant carrots because their roots are fragile and easily upset. This can lead to stunted growth and poor yields. To avoid transplant shock, it is best to sow two seeds per cell and thin to one if both seedlings emerge. This lets the plants grow and get their roots established before they are moved to their final growing spot.

Indoor carrot plants need plenty of light to grow and develop properly. Put the seed trays near a sunny window, or if that’s not possible, use fluorescent or LED lights to give them light. Regular watering is also important for optimal growth. In order to prevent root rot, keep the soil moist but not soggy.

How to Plant Carrots Seeds Indoors

Carrots are a popular root vegetable that can be easily grown indoors. If you have limited outdoor space or prefer to have control over the growing conditions, planting carrot seeds indoors is a great option.

By starting your carrots indoors, you can extend your growing season, speed up the process, and make sure the seedlings are healthy and strong before you move them outside.

To start your carrots indoors, you’ll need some seed-starting soil, pots or trays, and of course, carrot seeds. Use a seed starter mix or potting soil to fill the starter tray. Seed-starting mixes are a mixture of organic materials that are very light and loose and provide a texture that allows easy root growth. Potting soil will also work fine.

Fill your pots or trays with soil, and make shallow furrows or holes in the soil, about a quarter of an inch deep.

Place 2–3 seeds in each furrow or hole, then gently cover with soil and water. Make sure to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.

Carrot seeds are very small and slow to germinate, so it’s best to plant them in a sunny location with temperatures between 50 and 85 °F. A heat mat or warm area can also help with germination.

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After seeds sprout, they need light. If you have a large south-facing window, that should do fine. If the seedlings do not receive enough light, the stem will become spindly from stretching for light, and the plant will fall over on itself.

To water starter trays from the bottom, fill a tray with about 1/4 inch of water and set starter pots in the water. Check the starter pots by feeling the top of the soil every 20 minutes. When the soil on top feels moist, the water has worked its way up through the containers, and you can dump out any remaining water.

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After about 2-3 weeks, you can transplant the seedlings into your outdoor garden bed. Make sure to leave the seedlings about 2-3 inches apart when transplanting. Keep the soil moist and put mulch on the bed to keep the moisture in and stop weeds from growing.

How To Plant Carrot Seeds & Transplants Outdoors

Carrot seeds are tiny and need to be planted shallowly, about 1/4 inch deep. Before planting, water the ground where you want to plant the carrots to help the carrot seeds stick where you place them. Next, use a stick or skinny pole to make a line where you want the row of carrots. Put the skinny pole in rows that should be 12 inches apart.

Space the carrot seeds along the row at 2–3 seeds per inch. Don’t worry too much about spacing, as you’ll be thinning the carrot plants down to every 2′′ after they sprout and grow to about 4 inches tall. Sprinkle dirt over the seeds and water them in gently.

Carrot transplants should be planted every 2 inches in rows 12 inches apart. Cover the root ball of transplants with about 1/2″ inch of soil and water them in.

Bigger varieties of carrots may need more spacing between them, and if top growth is also known to be high, rows may need to be spaced further apart as well. Remember to water the rows of seeds with room-temperature water before they sprout to help germination.


Is it better to start seeds indoors or outdoors? ›

The Good: Indoor seed starting gives you the most control over your seedlings. You can easily track the germination rate of your seeds, and give them more moisture or more warmth as needed. In a contained environment, seedlings are less prone to pests and diseases.

When should I start growing seeds indoors? ›

In general, you should start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the average last frost date in your area.

What month should you plant carrot seeds? ›

The seeds can be sown from early spring right through late summer for a harvest that will last nearly year round, so they form an essential part of nearly every vegetable garden. The first main trick with carrot seeds is to sow them shallowly and then maintain moisture in that top layer of soil until they germinate.

How do you grow carrots for beginners? ›

We recommend sowing seeds directly in the garden (or wherever you plan to grow them) rather than transplanting. Carrots do not like to have their roots disturbed. Sow 1/4 inch deep, 2 to 3 inches apart in rows 1 foot apart. Tip: Try to distribute seed in an even fashion so that seeds don't grow together.

What happens if you start seeds indoors too early? ›

Seeds sown too early will result in bigger plants which then need to be potted up into bigger containers which quickly take over your seed starting area/house and cost you more money is potting soil, organic fertilizer and pots.

What seeds should I start first indoors? ›

Know Where to Start

Almost every seed can be started indoors, but people typically start long season crops, like eggplants, okra, tomatoes, broccoli and kale, indoors. Some plants do not fare well as transplanted or need to be transplanted at the right stage of growth so they aren't stunted by stressors.

What is the easiest way to start seeds indoors? ›

How to Start Seeds Indoors in 4 Easy Steps
  1. Fill a large bowl with seed-starting mix and mix in a little water to evenly moisten the soil. ...
  2. Place your seed tray inside the drip tray and fill each cell to just below the top with soil.
  3. Sow your seeds. ...
  4. Cover the tray and place it under your lights on the heat mat.
Mar 1, 2021

What is the easiest seed to grow indoors? ›

Easiest Flower Seeds To Start Indoors
  • Marigold. One of my all-time favorite flowers, marigolds are super easy seeds to grow indoors. ...
  • Castor Bean. Castor bean seeds can be a bit fussy, so it's much easier to start them indoors. ...
  • Coleus. ...
  • Zinnia. ...
  • Cauliflower. ...
  • Brussels Sprouts. ...
  • Radicchio. ...
  • Tomatoes.

Can you put seeds straight into soil indoors? ›

Seed germination (or seed starting) is the process of growing plants directly from seeds instead of buying ready-grown plants. Sprouting seeds indoors is an effective way to increase the germination rate versus germinating seeds outdoors directly in the soil.

Should I start carrot seeds indoors? ›

Carrot seeds are naturally slow germinators, but you can speed things up a bit by priming the seeds indoors. Starting three to four days before you plan to sow them, soak carrot seeds in water for an hour, and then transfer them to a damp paper towel. Fold to enclose the seeds, then put inside an airtight container.

How long does it take carrots to fully grow from seed? ›

Carrots should be ready for harvest about 60-80 days after sowing seeds, depending on the variety. The tops of the carrot roots will be about 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter and likely starting to pop out of the soil, though not necessarily. They will also be vibrant in color.

Do you need to soak carrot seeds before planting? ›

While it's not necessary to soak carrot seeds before planting, doing so can help to speed up and increase germination rates.

What is the secret to growing good carrots? ›

When you grow carrots, soil should be a sandy loam; make sure it is well drained. Heavy soils cause the carrots to mature slower and the roots will end up unattractive and rough. Remember that when you grow carrots, soil should never be rocky because it leads to poor quality roots.

How long do carrots take to grow indoors? ›

Carrots are slower to grow indoors than outdoors and general take about 30% longer if conditions are right. The growing time will vary depending on the variety. For example, a 3-inch fingerling carrot can be ready to harvest in approximately two months outdoors and 3 months indoors.

Is it worth starting seeds indoors? ›

Starting seeds indoors allows you to gain a few precious weeks of growing time, which can really make a difference. In warmer regions, starting seeds indoors can allow you to get in an extra round of crops (especially cool-weather crops) before summer heat stifles growth.

At what temperature do seeds grow indoors? ›

Most seeds germinate best when the temperature is between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but check the information on the seed packet for specifics. The top of a refrigerator is an ideal spot, or you could consider purchasing heating mats specially made for germinating the seeds.

Should you soak seeds before planting indoors? ›

Soaking can accelerate germination and increase the proportion of seeds that successfully germinate. Seeds have evolved a protective coating around the embryo so the embryo can survive being dispersed by some means. The coating protects the seeds until they find themselves in a suitable place to grow into a new plant.

What is the cheapest way to start seeds indoors? ›

From eggshells to pots to paper towels, you can start your seasonal veggies, herbs and flowers in containers you have lying around the house.
  1. Newspaper Seed-Starter Pots. ...
  2. Reuse Seed Trays. ...
  3. Use Small Pots. ...
  4. Try Cardboard Tubes. ...
  5. Start Seeds in Old Food Containers. ...
  6. Reuse Your Lunch Container as a Seed Tray. ...
  7. A Milk Jug Living Wall.

What is the best growing medium for starting seeds indoors? ›

Commercial seed-starting mixes, usually composed of vermiculite and peat, without any true soil, are recommended for starting seeds. They're sterile, lightweight and free from weed seeds, with a texture and porosity especially suited to the needs of germinating seeds and tiny seedlings.

What seeds grow the fastest and easiest? ›

It's official: beans, peas, and pumpkins are among the top ten easiest plants to grow from seed, according to a list created by the Home Garden Seed Association. Also on the list: cucumbers, zinnias, cosmos, sunflowers, lettuce, radishes, and squash.

What is the fastest growing food crop? ›

Radish. Radishes are probably the fastest growing vegetable in your garden, being ready to pick in as little as 30 days from planting the seeds. Their peppery flavor is a hit on the vegetable tray or added to a fresh lettuce salad.

What is the hardest seed to germinate? ›

Some seeds like Allium 'Purple Sensation' and Eryngium giganteum need a long period of cold-moist stratification with alternating temperatures. These are the most difficult seeds to germinate.

What does the Bible say about planting seeds? ›

He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches."

Is it better to germinate seeds in paper towel or soil? ›

Many seeds germinate much quicker in paper towels (versus seeds that are started in soil). The heat, moisture, and controlled conditions inside a plastic baggie help them germinate in only a few days (or less, depending on the seed).

What happens if you don't soak seeds before planting? ›

As a general rule of thumb, your seeds will sprout even if you don't soak your seeds before planting, but with soaking the germination time decreases, and the germination rate increases. Seeds that have a continual flow of moisture to uptake have much higher chances of success.

Should I start carrots indoors or outdoors? ›

ANSWER: Carrot seeds are naturally slow to germinate, but you can speed up the process by priming them indoors.

Are carrots easy to grow indoors? ›

Can Carrots Grow Indoors? Carrots are among the easiest vegetables to grow indoors, and your indoor carrot garden will be attractive as well as functional. Potted carrots fill their container with dark green, lacy foliage that you'll be proud to display in any room of your home.

Can you just scatter carrot seeds? ›

There are a couple of ways you can go about sowing your carrot seeds. You can either sow them in neat rows, or lightly scatter seed across a wider surface area of soil. We have done both methods over the years with success.!

How many carrots grow from one seed? ›

Does one carrot seed produce one carrot? Yes, one carrot seed produces one plant, and as carrots are the edible root of the plant, one seed produces one carrot.

How long can carrots stay in the ground? ›

Carrots may be left in the garden as long as the ground does not freeze. In warmer climates, this can mean staying in the ground well into fall and even into winter.

How deep do carrots need for growth? ›

Dig or till deeply to give these root crops room to develop. For varieties with long roots, work the soil 12 to 16 inches deep or choose shorter, stubbier types. All carrots need soil that is free of weeds, grass, rocks, sticks and other debris.

What do you add to soil before planting carrots? ›

Plant carrots in loose, well-drained soil that has a good mixture of clay and sand. Improve soil nutrition and drainage by adding Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® All Purpose In-Ground Soil (in-ground) or Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® All Purpose Container Mix (containers).

What carrots grow quickest? ›

Nantes is a quick-growing carrot that matures faster than the other types. There are estimated to be over 40 different varieties of carrots that fall into this type. Preferred varieties include 'Napoli', 'Touchon', 'Napa' and 'White Satin. '

How often should you water newly planted carrot seeds? ›

Carrots need loamy, loose soil for best root development. Water immediately after planting, then give plants 1 inch of water per week. When roots start to mature, increase the amount of water to 2 inches per week.

Can I use Miracle Grow on carrots? ›

To help your carrots flourish, give them the 1-2 power punch of Miracle-Gro® soil and plant food, which work in harmony to encourage strong growth. A month after planting, begin feeding them weekly with water-soluble Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® Edibles Plant Nutrition to keep the nourishment coming.

Is Epsom salt good for growing carrots? ›

Gardeners also use Epsom salts to improve the growth of roses, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and grapefruits. Epsom salts have neutral pH levels which means it will not affect your garden soil's pH.

What are the tastiest carrots to grow? ›

Favorite Flavorful Carrot Varieties
  • 'Danvers'
  • 'Purple Haze'
  • 'Cosmic Purple'
  • 'Dragon'
  • 'Scarlet Nantes'
  • 'Paris Market'

Should you put manure on carrots? ›

It is absolutely fine to sow carrots, parsnips etc into composted manures. The problem of forking occurs when the manures are dug in, not gently and naturally incorporated into the soil by the worms and other soil life. These root veg were sown into composted manures, they are lovely and straight.

What fertilizer is best for carrots? ›

It would be best to choose a fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in potassium and phosphate. A 0-10-10 or 5-15-15 fertilizer will work well with your carrot plant. It is because potassium and phosphate promote root development and since carrots are root crops these nutrients will help them grow better.

At what temperature do carrots stop growing? ›

Seeds germinate best at 55-65°F and require 14-21 days to emerge. Temperatures above 80°F reduce seed germination. Carrots grow best when temperatures do not exceed 75°F. Temperatures down to 32°F do not seriously damage plants.

How late is too late to plant carrots? ›

Carrot seeds can be sown any time from spring through early autumn, as long as you get them in the ground by 10–12 weeks before the first fall frost.

Where is the best place to start seeds? ›

Place the seeds in a warm location.

Check the seed packets to understand the ideal soil temperature for each plant. Then place the seed tray in front of a windowsill that receives partial sun, or place the seed kits on a heating mat to maintain an even temperature and light. South-facing windows generally work well.

Where do seeds germinate best? ›

During germination, seeds need to be in a dark, warm, moist climate. Aim for a seed germination temperature between 74 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. It's also a good idea to only germinate a few of your seeds at a time, especially if you're a beginner.

Is it OK to start seeds outside? ›

Growing from seeds indoors is one way of starting your garden. Another option is to tuck seeds directly into soil outdoors. Planting seeds this way is called direct sowing, and it is an easy process that yields great results.

Which seeds should not be started indoors? ›

6 Plants You Should NEVER Start Indoors
  • Root Crops. Root crops simply don't transplant well. ...
  • Squashes. Squashes (squash, zucchini, pumpkins) and cucumbers grow extremely fast and large. ...
  • Corn. Corn typically doesn't transplant well. ...
  • Beans. Beans grow quickly as well. ...
  • Peas. Peas are similar to beans. ...
  • Cucumbers. ...
  • Lettuce.
Jul 21, 2020

Are egg cartons good for starting seeds? ›

You can use egg cartons as a seed-starting tray! Depending on the type of carton you have, you can even cut apart the individual sections and plant them, as the carton will biodegrade. Be sure to poke small holes for drainage, and put the cartons on a tray or in a shallow pan to catch any residual water.

What are the 3 factors needed for successful germination of seeds? ›

Seeds Need the Right Environment to Germinate

Temperature, moisture, air, and light conditions must be correct for seeds to germinate.

What are the 3 requirements for a seed to germinate? ›

Seeds need the proper temperature, moisture, air, and light conditions to germinate.

What is the fastest germinating seed? ›

The fastest germinating seeds include everything in the cabbage family – bok choi, broccoli, kale, cauliflower etc, and lettuce. The slowest seeds to germinate are pepper, eggplant, fennel, celery, which may take 5+ days. The rest such as tomato, beets, chard, squash, onions, will take about 3 days.

Should I water soil before or after planting seeds? ›

If you're planning to put in new plantings, be sure to water garden soil first. Of course, if you've had rain, your soil may already be sufficiently moist. Or, if you have an irrigation system, you may not need to water garden soil again before planting.

Do I need to soak seeds before planting? ›

It is traditional to soak some seeds before planting them. Soaking can accelerate germination and increase the proportion of seeds that successfully germinate. Seeds have evolved a protective coating around the embryo so the embryo can survive being dispersed by some means.

Should you water seeds right after planting outdoors? ›

You won't have to water after they are planted, preventing seed movement. Create a mini greenhouse by covering the seed tray with a plastic tray or plastic wrap. This will keep the moisture and warmth inside, and you shouldn't have to water again till after the seeds have germinated.


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