How to Grow Carrots That Are Actually Juicy: Home Growing Carrots in 7 Steps

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | February 16, 2024

Woman harvesting carrots in a garden of dirt pleased that she knows how to grow carrots, how to plant carrots, and how to care for growing carrots.

Learning how to grow carrots that are healthy and tasty can be a challenge, even for experienced home gardeners.

But, don’t get discouraged. As a root vegetable, carrots are an awesome addition to any home garden. And when you grow them at home, you eliminate the emissions generated by transportation.

Carrots are nutritious and add flavor and color to your cakes and casseroles. Plus, they’re perfect for snacking!

Growing carrots doesn’t have to be a challenge, you just need to know the steps and how to grow carrots right, from the start.

How To Plant Carrots in Simple Steps

The hardest part about planting carrots is ensuring they germinate, but following the steps below will help you get tasty and crunchy harvests.

Graphics showing four steps on how to grow carrots.

With detailed steps, you’ll be growing carrots deliciously this spring!

Step 1: Preparing the Soil

As with any other vegetable you plant, carrots need clear grounds to grow. You can start by weeding your garden and loosening and tilling the soil to at least 10 inches deep to accommodate the root growth.

You can also try solarization if your space is not too big.6

Carrots thrive under well-aerated and properly-draining soil without lumps and stones. You can also add compost and add airy sandy soil at the top.

Step 2: Selecting the Seeds

There are various types of carrots, each with a unique color and flavor. The kind you will harvest depends on the type of seed you choose.

The best way is to plant them directly on-site instead of transplanting because carrots prefer intact roots.

Step 3: Planting the Seeds

Proper seed spacing is the trick to growing the best carrots. Since they are tiny, gardeners often crowd them leading to the roots growing together.

You can plant them ¼ an inch deep, 2-3 inches away from each other, and a foot apart in rows.

Step 4: Keeping the Soil Moist

Another tricky part about watering carrots is that they are delicate; using a high-pressure hose can wash the soil away and shift the light seeds.

Ideally, you may need a light spray that leaves the soil and its content intact.5 Watering is essential because the spoil can form a crust, preventing germination.

Step 5: Growing Companions Like Radishes

Planting radishes and carrots side by side helps prevent soil crusting since they germinate faster, and you can harvest them before the carrots start growing fully. Having companion plants can also serve as markers to remind you where you planted your carrots.

Step 6: Thinning the Carrots

Patience is critical when growing carrots because they need 2-3 weeks to start popping off the ground. When they do, you can use the thinning strategy to increase your yield, where you trim them and pick the baby varieties, leaving behind the others to grow fully.7

Step 7: Harvesting the Carrots

The right time to harvest your carrots depends on which variety you planted, but to be sure, you can check your seed packet for directions. Some will be ready in 58 days, while others can go up to 120 days.

You can also tell when to harvest by checking if the carrots’ diameter is ¾-an inch round. Some planters leave some in the soil to maintain a steady carrot supply, but they have the best flavor when they are mature and have a richer color.

How To Grow Carrots in Containers

Beginners find it easier to grow carrots in containers as they do with types of bonsai trees indoors; it is convenient and helps keep common diseases at bay.

The first step when learning how to grow carrots in containers is achieving the ideal depth. The roots can grow to 6-15 inches, meaning shallow buckets or bags won’t work.

Your pot should be a minimum of 12 inches high, 18 inches is best, depending on the carrot variety, and wide enough to allow at least 2 cm of seed spacing.3 First, add wet soil mixed with compost to the container and create well-spaced holes.

Next, thinly sow your seeds and cover them with soil and water but avoid sogginess, and your carrots should be ready in 14-21 days to transplant outdoors, or to harvest in about 75-80 days.

Remember to place the container in a sunny spot and thin the plants when they start sprouting.

How Long It Takes To Grow Carrots

Carrots require patience. Unlike other crops which germinate in no time, they need 2-3 weeks before the seedling starts showing above the ground.

While waiting, it helps to check that the soil doesn’t dry up; otherwise, the process will take longer or completely fail.

If all goes well and your carrots germinate and you provide the most suitable conditions, they will be ready for harvesting in 58-100 days from the planting date. However, this timeframe depends on the carrot variety, but you can check the seed packet for more information.


(Daucus carota)

Carrots in oval frame on green background.
  • Order: Apiales
  • Family: Apiaceae
  • USDA Growing Zones: 3-10
  • Plant Type: Biennial plant

Fun Facts About Growing Carrots

  • Carrots are native to Central Asia and have been planted worldwide for centuries as a nutritious root vegetable, rich in Vitamin A.
  • The roots (the edible part) are usually orange at the base of 1-2 feet high crops.
  • Carrots were originally purple, red, white, yellow, and black, not the signature orange everyone knows today. Rainbow colors are slowly returning and gaining popularity fast among consumers.8
  • They take a long time to grow, lasting at least two weeks, and reach maturity later at 3-4 months.
  • Carrots don’t need much space to grow; you can plant them in your tiny backyard garden or deep container with rows two inches wide.

When To Plant Carrots for the Best Yield

It is one thing to get your carrots to grow and another to ensure that you have a bumper and juicy harvest. You should know when is the right time to plant, coupled with proper care and maintenance, to increase your chances of a good yield.

Carrots need the most conducive weather for impressive germination rates and generally high yields. They prefer cool temperatures and seasons and tend to thrive when planted in early spring under 50 °F.

It is a cold-season plant, evidenced by how well the seeds germinate under 55-75 °F.

Growing Zones for Carrots: Where To Grow

Carrots grow in a wide range of hardiness zones, thriving under zones 3-10. However, they need loose, aerated, well-draining soil, sunshine, and frequent watering.

Interestingly, over 90% of United States America carrot production comes from seven states.

The largest carrot producers in the country include Texas, Washington, Michigan, Colorado, Florida, Wisconsin, and California (the highest producer on the list and home to various types of palm trees in California).

What Are the Companion Plants for Growing Carrots?

Carrots need symbiotic plants with strong scents to help repel insects and rodents.

As a gardener, you must account for the spacing, timing, plant height, and other needs like soil and fertility requirements.

Wide shot of garden plant box with carrots and other vegetables showing what are the companion plants for growing carrots.

(Image: René Bittner17)

The best companion plants that work with carrots include onions, sage, rosemary, scallions, tomatoes, lettuce, marigolds, daffodils, borage, radish, beets, cabbage, turnips, spinach, bush beans, and leeks.

Marigolds also help keep pests like mosquitoes away.

Tips for Growing Carrots From a Seed

You are safer growing carrots from seeds instead of transplanting them. You can buy the best seed varieties and find ample space outdoors if you want better and crunchier yields.

You can place them at least a quarter inch deep and give them sufficient spacing to avoid overcrowding.

You want to be cautious with the lightweight seeds that can quickly uncover when you heavily water the soil. If they fail to sprout in three weeks, you can plant more again, checking that you do it correctly.

Some gardeners mix varieties and mark each row to avoid confusion during harvesting.

What To Know About Growing a Carrot From a Cutting

You can chop off the carrot top and grow it, but it will not form a new root below.

The taproot cannot regrow once detached, but the foliage can develop new fibrous roots that will grow flowers and seeds. You can then use these seeds to grow more carrots.

Top shot of carrots and carrot cuttings.

(Image: Louis Hansel13)

You only have to wait until the crop matures before you can save the seeds for the next season. The seeds from the current year will be viable for the next year since carrots are biennial plants and will only flower in the next season.4

Saving the seed is quite simple, remove the stalks and place them in a bag and let the content dry for some weeks before shaking to detach the seeds.9 You then store them in a jar or brown paper and keep them in the fridge until it is time to plant.

How To Grow Carrots From Seedlings: Tips for Growing a Carrot From a Seedling

You need to thin your carrots to create more room for the crops to grow larger and healthier roots. Without doing this, your harvest will be stunted, or the carrots will look misshapen.

A common question is whether the roots can grow from the thinned seedlings, and the answer is yes. However, transplanting is never as successful as growing crops from seeds, and gardeners would instead not do it.

Besides, this planting form has a high chance of forming twisted or out-of-shape roots. If you want to plant the seedlings, you should ensure that you place them straight into the soil and water them correctly, observing the other general rules of carrot planting.

How Far Apart To Plant Carrots

Carrots are root vegetables that need sufficient room to expand. Restricting them causes them to scramble for the available resources, leading to stunted growth.

Carrots situated on the ground showing how far apart to plant carrots to avoid over crowding.

(Image: Andreas Göllner14)

The best way is to plant your seeds at least an inch apart in each column and up to 24 inches away row-wise.

They should also be ¼ inches deep, meaning that you need a large pot if planting them in a container. It also helps to check that they are well-spaced as they grow by thinning them to avoid overcrowding.

What Are the Best Growing Conditions for Carrots?

Here is the breakdown of the best growing conditions for carrots.


Carrots grow best under 6-10 hours of direct sunlight despite the roots growing underground.

Natural light is critical for the crop to develop the classic sugary taste.


Carrots tend to be picky with the soil type and grow best when loose and well-draining, with a pH of 6-6.8. otherwise, locks and lumps will hinder root growth and deform them; interestingly, it won’t grow deep if the soil is too rich.


Your crops should always grow in wet but not soggy soil for the best yields. You can water them at least an inch every week and mulch to preserve moisture and prevent the ground from drying.


Unless your soil is rich in minerals or organic matter, you can add more fertilizer every two weeks immediately after the tops sprout.

High-quality organic fertilizers are ideal, but not those rich in nitrogen fertilizer, which only emphasizes foliage growth.


Various types of carrots grow tastiest when the temperatures range between 55- 75 °F, but generally, it thrives in all other climates.10

People living in warm regions prefer planting it towards the end of fall and as winter crops because hotter temperatures lead to stunted growth and interfere with the sweet juicy taste.

How To Meet the Watering Needs for Carrots Plants

Carrots need adequate watering like any other vegetable, but they are fine, provided the soil doesn’t dry up for extended periods. Water scarcity can cause the carrots to grow out of shape or ruin their natural taste.

You can water yours an inch a week by irrigating or from rainfall but be careful that the soil doesn’t stay waterlogged. Remember to water lightly immediately after planting the seeds, or else you will remove them from the earth, given their light weight.

Planting Tips for Carrots Based on Seasons

If you are concerned about when do carrots grow based on the time of the year, you will be glad to know that they work across all climates and seasons. If you want a steady supply throughout the year, the goal is to plant them every three weeks from mid-March to mid-September.

Here, you can have 4-5 rows, sowing one row at a time and harvesting every three or four months. Gardeners start planting in mid-March when spring farming, mid-September for fall, mid-June for summer, and mid-December for winter.2

How Much Sunlight Does Carrot Need Each Day?

Carrot growers understand how much their crops love the full sun, explaining why they prefer planting them in wide open fields away from obstructions like buildings that can cast shadows. The vegetables need 6-10 hours of direct sunlight to grow healthy and strong.

While they can also tolerate partial shades, natural light is necessary to create massive, well-shaped, sugary roots. Otherwise, lacking sunlight will give them an unwanted odd taste.

How To Grow Carrots vs Parsnips: What Is the Difference?

Many confuse carrots and parsnips because they come in similar shapes and colors. The two are from the same plant family and have the same care and maintenance needs, from the loose soil to planting in early spring.

A number of harvested parsnips with their leaves removed.

(Image: Wolfgang Eckert15)

The significant difference is that they have distinct tastes; carrots are sweeter, while parsnips are spicier. Their fantastic flavors make them critical components in various recipes.

How Do You Store Fresh Carrots?

Carrots are fresh produce that needs proper care. Their lifespan entirely relies on how well you preserve them and whether they are peeled or raw.11

While fresh, intact carrots can last up to four weeks in the fridge, peeled carrots will be viable for 2-3 weeks. However, the most volatile state for carrots is when they are cooked because they can only last a few days under refrigeration.

Fresh unwashed vegetables are less likely to lose moisture than cut or peeled ones; therefore, your carrots will last longer if you wait to wash them until they are ready for use. You can also twist or remove the foliage to prevent them from drying out the roots.

Next, cover the vegetables in a towel in a closed container and keep them in the fridge, preferably in the coldest part. Remember to avoid placing them near fruits like apples that emit ethylene gas which speeds up rotting.

Diseases and Common Pests of the Carrots

Carrot rust flies are the most infamous pests that attack the crop’s foliage. The insect lays eggs, and the hatched larvae reach the roots and bore rust-colored tunnels inside, affecting the plant’s growth.1

The carrot can also suffer from a bacterial or fungal disease like the Aster Yellow disease and Black Canker, which discolor the roots. It is also prudent to watch out for pests like flea beetles, wireworms, and leafhoppers, which feed on the carrots and leaves.

How To Stop Carrots Disease

Farmers regularly rotate their carrots annually to prevent diseases. You can also adopt this by changing your planting spot every growing season and using pesticides when necessary.

Solarization or heating the ground can also destroy nematodes, but unfortunately, some bacteria and fungi are impossible to prevent or heal. If you notice any plant infected with discoloration or rotting, the best you can do is to remove it to avoid infection of the rest immediately.

What Are the Natural Pest Control for Carrots?

Pest prevention starts by planting early and adding mulch to hinder beetle attacks.

You can also use organic natural pesticides that contain garlic and neem oil, whose strong scent repels pests. Garlic is known to eliminate ants, wireworms, and caterpillars.

Close up of Garlic bulbs that are natural pest control for carrots.

(Image: congerdesign16)

Alternatively, you can use biological pest control, introducing pest predators like lacewings and ladybugs, which will keep other insects away.12

Carrots are part of every kitchen. You use them on pastries and casseroles to add color and flavor to meals.

Planting them in your home guarantees a steady supply all year round, especially if you have ample garden space.

These vegetables only need loose, properly-draining, and well-irrigated soil and six sunlight hours daily to grow healthy and strong. Otherwise, lacking the necessary conditions can lead to poor growth and misshaped roots.

They take 2-3 weeks to germinate and 50- 120 days to harvest, considering the variety.

Learning all the tricks of how to grow carrots dispels the notion that the crop is challenging to plant, and you can enjoy your deep-colored, tasty carrots all year round.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Grow Carrots

How Long Do Carrots Take To Grow?

Carrots usually take 2-3 weeks to germinate and require 58-120 days to reach maturity, depending on the variety in question. Therefore, planting them requires patience and attention to all its needs; otherwise, germination will fail, or the resulting harvest will be bland and stunted.

Do Carrots Need Full Sun?

Carrots can survive partial shade but need full uninterrupted sunlight for at least 6 hours to ensure that it grows strong and healthy to maturity. Lack of sun can misshape them and give them an odd taste.

Can You Grow Carrots in Water?

A carrot cannot grow back after cutting since it is a taproot. However, you can place it in water as a fun activity to watch how the stump develops roots; otherwise, a carrot cannot entirely rely on water to grow into a healthy mature crop.

Are Carrots Easy To Grow?

Skilled gardeners will attest that growing carrots can be tricky since they take a while to germinate and have specific requirements. It is common to grow misshapen, tasteless, and rigid carrots unless you grow them in the perfect soil, provide enough water, and grow them under full sunlight.

What Are the Steps To Learn How To Grow Potatoes?

Potatoes have similar needs to carrots since they are both root tubers which means they also need at least six hours of direct sunlight and thrive better under loose, properly-drained soils.

They need room underground to grow, explaining why lumpy and stony soils can affect their shape, grow in slightly acidic soils, and prefer 45-55 °F weather.

What Are the Steps To Learn How To Grow Brussel Sprouts?

Contrary to how to grow carrots and potatoes, Brussels sprouts don’t grow in the same place you plant them. Instead, you sow them in a different seedbed and later transplant them in the summer at 13 mm apart in shallow holes at ½ inches deep and 15 cm apart row-wise.

What Are the Steps To Learn How To Grow Green Onions?

You first plant the onions or scallion seeds in a separate location indoors and wait for them to grow before transporting them to the garden. You can dig the seeds ¼ inches into the soil in grid patterns or ¼ inches apart, and you can consume the thinnings once the crop starts showing.

What Are the Steps To Learn How To Grow Celery?

Celery needs nutrient-rich loose soil with a pH of 5.8-6.8, at least six hours of sunlight daily, and boggy ground, meaning it needs frequent watering. You can use a tiller to loosen the dirt to 15 inches deep and add compost.

What Are the Steps To Learn How To Grow Rice?

If you are growing rice for the first time and need the best results, you can start with the seeds and avoid the highly processed rice bags from stores. You can scatter them around the soil, add compost, and water them as much as possible since they are water hungry; the leaves should develop in 50-85 days, depending on the variety.

Read More About How To Grow Carrots


1Yankee Publishing, Inc. (2023, February 2). How to Plant, Grow, and Harvest Carrots. Almanac. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from <>

2Amy. (2023, January 27). Growing Carrots Year-Round: A Strategy for Success. Tenth Acre Farm. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from <>

3Envii. (2022, March 21). Tips for Growing Carrots in Pots . Envii. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from <>

4Rhoades, J. (2021, April 7). Learn About Saving Carrot Seeds. Gardening Know How. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from <>

5Thomas, J. (2021, June 5). How to Plant Carrot Seeds (for Maximum Germination). Homesteading Family. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from <>

6Stapleton, J. J., Wilen, C. A., & Molinar, R. H. (2005, May 20). Soil Solarization for Gardens & Landscapes. UC IPM. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from <>

7Jameson, M. (2021, August 18). Thinning Carrots for the Greater Good. UF | IFAS Extension. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from <>

8Parker, M. M. (2022, November 11). What Are Rainbow Carrots? Mississippi State University Extension. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from <>

9Kalb, T., Sukprakarn, S., Juntakool, S., & Huang, R. (2006, April). Saving Seeds of Carrot. e-Pak Ag | UC Davis. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from <>

10Pothour, G. (2023). Carrot Demonstration. UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from <>

11McGarry, J. (2014, December 8). Using, Storing, and Preserving Carrots. Michigan State University | MSU Extension. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from <>

12Wikipedia. (2023, January 19). Biological Pest Control. Wikipedia. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from <>

13Photo by Louis Hansel. Unsplash. Retrieved from <>

14Photo by Andreas Göllner. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

15Photo by Wolfgang Eckert. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

16Photo by congerdesign. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

17Photo by René Bittner. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

18Species Information Image: Freshly harvested nantes carrots on rustic dark wood. Photo by Quin Engle. (2020, January 23) / Unsplash License. Cropped and added text, shape, and background elements. Unsplash. Retrieved January 17, 2024, from <>