How to plant carrots: from choosing seeds to harvesting

In this article we will talk about choosing the right time to plant carrots, consider the process of preparing seeds and ways to achieve the best harvest of this healthy and tasty root vegetable.

Carrot roots contain a lot of sugar and vitamins (B1, B2, PP, C), carotene, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and other mineral elements. Carrots are eaten all year round, fresh, stewed and as a seasoning for salads, vinaigrettes, and many first and second courses. It is recommended by medicine as a highly dietary product.

When to plant carrots

Carrots are a cold-resistant plant. Seeds begin to germinate already at soil temperatures of 4–5°C and even at 3°C. This process is slow and lasts up to 20 days. At higher temperatures (15–20°C) and good soil moisture, the germination period is reduced to 8–10 days. In cold and dry weather, seedlings appear on the 30th day. There are three periods for planting carrots.

Pre-winter planting of carrots

To obtain a harvest in June, carrots of early ripening varieties (vitamin, Losinoostrovskaya, etc.) are sown in the fall before the onset of soil frosts, so that the seeds do not begin to germinate in the fall (in this case, ripening is accelerated by two weeks). Given the sharp temperature fluctuations, this planting time is rarely used to avoid seed loss. With warming, the seeds have time to germinate and with the onset of constant sub-zero temperatures, the plants die.

Planting carrots in early spring

Most people prefer to plant carrots in the spring. Carrot seedlings can withstand short-term sub-zero temperatures (-3°C, -4°C), so the seeds can be sown as soon as the snow melts and the ground thaws.

An even earlier harvest is obtained by sowing seeds at the end of winter - early spring (February - March) in greenhouses and greenhouses or in simple film shelters. Carrots ripen in two and a half to three months.

In order to speed up the emergence of seedlings, create a temperature of up to 20°C. With the emergence of seedlings, maintain a temperature of 12–14°C and air humidity of 80%. Then, when the root vegetables begin to thicken, the temperature is increased to 16–18°C. Then all activities are carried out as in open ground.

Spring planting carrots

The optimal temperature for growing carrots is 20–25°C. The approximate time for sowing seeds is the last days of April - the beginning and middle of May. It is carried out exclusively in moist and prepared soil. Spring planting is optimal for producing reserves for the winter.

What is the difference between spring and winter sowing?

The differences between planting carrot seeds in spring and late autumn are as follows:

  • Autumn planting will allow you to harvest the first harvest earlier than usual.
    Root crops will be healthier looking, less susceptible to pests, and larger than the spring harvest. Many gardeners do not like this method, because they have to additionally protect the seeds from bad weather. However, the result is worth it. One peculiarity: the fruits of such a harvest are not stored for a long time. They are intended for quick consumption. The beds for sowing are prepared in small sizes.
  • Pre-winter sowing will save a lot of time in the spring: you will not need to prepare beds and seeds, etc. In the fall, planting can be done when the main garden work is done. And you won’t have to bother with the seeds: they will have time to be saturated with the moisture of the autumn soil, and will be hardened during the winter, which will ensure early, friendly shoots.
  • In the fall you will have to carefully select a site for sowing. A quiet, windless place where the snow melts early is recommended. The site should be horizontal so that when the snow melts in the spring, the seeds are not washed out of the soil.

In other respects, there is no difference between spring sowing and winter sowing. The emerging shoots need to be cared for equally.

How to prepare the soil for planting carrots

The best soils for carrots are structural sandy and loamy soils, with a deep fertile layer, loose, and with a neutral reaction. To avoid infection by diseases and pests, carrots should not be grown in the same place every year. It is best to alternate it with other crops, returning it to its old place after 3 years or more.

Only with good plant lighting can you grow a good crop of carrots. A place is selected for it that is well lit throughout the daylight hours. In the absence of light, plants stretch out.

Carrots are demanding in terms of the presence of microelements necessary for nutrition. In soils that are poor in nutrition or not sufficiently fertilized for previous crops, it is necessary to add decomposed humus or compost (5 kg per 1 m²) during autumn tillage. New manure should not be used for carrots, because after application it does not affect the yield, and the root crops are deformed.

The plant responds well to fertilizing the soil before sowing with wood ash (150 g per 1 m²). Ash should be added in two stages, most of it when digging up the soil, and less when loosening it with a rake before sowing. Also effective is the application of mineral fertilizers (optimal combination: 20 g of ammonium nitrate and 30 g of superphosphate and potassium chloride per square meter) mixed with peat and humus.

Preparing the bed

A properly prepared ridge is half the success. There is no point in saving time on preparation. Choose a place in the fall. Where carrots grew in summer, don’t grow them. When the garden is small, it is difficult to adhere to the rules of crop rotation.

In this case, green manure seeds (mustard, rye) help. Sow them immediately after harvest. Mustard stems can be planted in the ground in the fall, it grows quickly, and rye can be left until spring. The best predecessors of carrots are:

  • cucumbers;
  • cabbage;
  • greenery;
  • radish;
  • zucchini.

For better germination of granulated carrots, the soil must be constantly moist, so the location of the bed relative to the wind rose is important. A draft dries out the top layer of soil and impairs germination. A comfortable place out of the wind, but in the sun. Usually this is the southern or southwestern part of the garden.

Advice! Buy early ripening radish seeds and plant them as a beacon crop in the same furrow with carrots. Radishes will sprout faster and highlight the planted rows. The spaces between the rows of radishes can be loosened, getting rid of weeds.

Carry out the main soil preparation in the fall:

  • remove remaining plant debris;
  • add well-rotted humus;
  • spread superphosphate and potassium nitrate (25 g and 10-15 g, respectively) evenly over the entire area of ​​the ridge;
  • dig up a bed using a spade;
  • harrow.

In the spring, all that remains is to loosen the soil and at the same time add urea or ammonium nitrate to it.

What carrots to plant

Carrot seeds should be selected according to sowing time. For sowing in pre-winter and early spring, you should choose early and mid-ripening varieties (Vitaminnaya, Nantes, etc.).

And for sowing in spring - late-ripening varieties that are most suitable for storage (Moscow winter, Chantanay).

For pre-winter sowing, the seeds are not processed. They should be dry and not sprouted. To obtain an earlier harvest during spring sowing, the seeds are soaked for 24 hours in a solution of baking soda (8 g of soda per liter of water), or in a solution of boric acid (0.2 g per liter of water). After this, they are kept moist for a week on cloth or cotton wool until germination.

Protection from diseases and pests

By following the technology for growing carrots, you can protect the vegetable crop from diseases and pest invasions. Agronomists say that the use of organic fertilizers makes it possible to increase the resistance of seedlings to insects, rodents and diseases. This increases plant immunity.

When planting seeds in early spring, it is worth covering the beds with non-woven fabric, which will protect against pests and frost.

How to plant carrots in open ground correctly

When sowing, the norm should be strictly maintained - 0.5 g per m². To comply with the norm, carrot seeds are added to the sand in a ratio of 1/5. Most summer residents add radish seeds to carrot seeds. Radishes emerge before carrots and indicate their location for subsequent processing.

Carrots should be planted with seeds in the ground to a depth of 2 cm, and on light soils - 3 cm. It should be taken into account that during pre-winter sowing, the seed planting depth is reduced by 1 cm. If there is a lack of moisture in the spring, the seed planting depth should be increased by 1.5 centimeters. The distance between rows when planting early-ripening varieties should be at least 15 cm, and for late-ripening varieties at least 25 cm.

Tape and toilet paper planting method

Planting tapes with seeds already attached have long been common in gardening stores.
But to save money, it’s better to prepare the tape yourself. Besides, it's not difficult at all. A wheat flour paste is first applied to the paper. The seeds are glued in the middle at a distance of 5 centimeters from each other. The finished tapes are placed in open ground with the seeds facing down. This method eliminates the need to first thin out the carrots. Ribbons can be prepared at any time of the year. Carrots should be planted on tape with the same planting depth as for normal planting in open ground; the distance between planting tapes also depends on the carrot variety (15–25 cm).

Seed selection

First you need to get good quality seeds before sowing carrot granules in the spring. How can you avoid making a mistake with your choice? The bags contain useful information - the expiration date of the seeds. It is very good if, in addition to the expiration date, there is a packaging date. The germination of carrot seeds lasts no more than 2 years. If they are old, then it doesn’t matter how you plant carrots in granules correctly or incorrectly. They simply won’t sprout for you.

The topic of carrots in helium granules is very popular on the Internet; everyone wants to be overwhelmed with the harvest at a minimum cost. The quality of carrot seeds in granules from the “Lazyman’s Bed” series is especially often discussed. Some criticize the seeds for poor germination, others praise them for their stable harvest. Apparently, the problem is that not everyone knows how to plant granulated carrots.

For those who prefer to plant carrots with seeds, but want to save time on thinning, the idea of ​​​​making seed pellets with your own hands will be useful. To implement the idea, you will need fresh seeds of your favorite carrot variety, a roll of toilet paper and some free time. Watch the video on how to make carrots in granules with your own hands; you need to plant them in the same way as store-bought seeds:

How to thin carrots

After the first shoots appear during the period of leaf formation, the carrots are thinned out, leaving 2 cm between shoots. After the formation of small root crops, thinning is repeated, leaving 4 cm between them (for large-fruited varieties, 5 cm).

It is extremely undesirable to be late with thinning, as the growth and development of plants deteriorates. A delay of 2 weeks reduces the yield by about 15–20 percent, and a month by 60 percent. After thinning, carrots need to be watered well.

What happens if the parameters are not met?

Violation of the scheme adversely affects the cultivation process, namely:

  1. Dense plantings shade each other, hampering the development of vegetables, and reducing fertility. Due to lack of lighting, seedlings may not appear for a long time, and the soil will not be well heated.
  2. Disruption of air circulation as a result of very closely spaced seedlings increases the likelihood of seedlings becoming infected with diseases, fungus, and rot.
  3. Planting too close together is the reason why crops do not receive the necessary nutrients. The powerful root systems of some seedlings will suppress weaker ones and take more moisture, macro- and microelements from the soil layers.
  4. As a result of lack of space, vegetables’ stems, tops, and roots develop incorrectly. Carrots grow much smaller in size.
  5. Caring for seedlings becomes more difficult. Due to the thickening of the plantings, frequent thinning will be required, therefore, it will be necessary to transplant the sprouts to a new place.
  6. Watering and fertilizing crops becomes difficult.
  7. Incorrect sowing patterns lead to rapid soil depletion and increased costs for its restoration.


The planting scheme is used both for growing in open ground and for greenhouse areas. Crops need distance specifically for the growth of root systems, since the lack of nutrients from the soil after seedling growth is practically impossible or very difficult even with the help of the most expensive fertilizers.

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