Jun 072013

by Avis Licht

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I love carrots fresh from the garden, but I also have had some real problems growing them.  I get the beds beautifully prepared, raked and ready to go.  Sow the seed, water the bed, watch it germinate and bam! the next day the seedlings are all gone. What in the world?!?

Overnight, small and voracious insects come out and devour my delicate seedlings. Earwigs, sow bugs, snails and slugs are all culprits.  After several seasons of failure, I decided to grow my carrots in containers, where the little buggers can’t get them. Sure enough I have had incredible success.  Not only do the seeds germinate, but growing in potting soil, the carrots come out perfectly formed and absolutely delicious.

Purple Cosmic Carrots

Purple Cosmic Carrots

The pots I used are called Smart Pots.  They are made from fabric that is strong, light weight and come in many sizes.  It is perfect for  folks who don’t have place to store containers when not in use.  They fold up, last for years and create excellent growing conditions for your plants. You can buy them here at discounted prices: Smart Pots.

Baby carrots from Smart Pot

Baby carrots from Smart Pot







I tried some different kinds of carrots this year including, Cosmic Purple, which you can see is a lovely purple, Chantenay Red Core and Shin Kiroda, a baby Japanese variety with short 3″ -5″ carrots, just right for a container. I use only organic potting mix which you can get here: Organic Potting Soil.

You can buy organic vegetable seed packets from Seed Savers Exchange here: Organic Vegetable Seeds.

Be sure to give your carrots plenty of sun, at least 6 hours a day.Carrots need constant moisture – don’t let them dry out, but also, don’t drown them.

Children will love to eat these baby carrots, they are sweet and just the right size.


  2 Responses to “Carrots and Container Planting in the Edible Landscape”

  1. This is really a helpful article, as I would like to grow carrots but haven’t had much luck with them. Where I live in Washington State, we also have the carrot rust fly. Do you have that problem? If so, what do you do to protect the carrots? That has been the biggest problem for me. Also, what size smart pot would you recommend for growing carrots? Thanks!

    • Hi Carol, That’s a really good question. The carrot rust fly is attracted to the smell of the carrot or other host plants like celery and parsley. In Washington you could sow seeds in late summer or late winter to avoid the rust fly. Also, since you’ll be sowing in containers you could easily cover the containers with row cover, a light material that allows in light and keeps out the fly which lays the eggs of the maggots that eat your carrots. I bet you’ll have much better success in pots than in the ground.
      The smallest size pot I recommend would be the 3 gallon. 5 gallon would be ideal. If you buy them through my site you’ll get a discount. I recommend putting a plate underneath to catch the water. If they are in a very sunny place you need to make sure they don’t dry out too fast. Sometimes I put a cloth or board in front of the pot to keep it from getting too hot in the summer.
      Let me know how it goes. Good luck, Avis

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