Written by Dale Richardson - Updated: June 23, 2023
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Do you want to grow carrots in a pot, but aren't sure what type of container to use? Grow bags are an excellent choice. Here's how to grow carrots in a grow bag.
Once you have chosen the grow bag that suits you best, fill it with soil that is loose, has added compost and is free from rocks. Plant the carrot seeds about 60mm (1/4 inch) deep, and spaced (or thin them) to 8cm (3inches) apart. Keep the soil well watered so it remains damp throughout the growing season and you should harvest about 1kg to 1.5kg (about 3lbs) of carrots from your grow bag.
Grow bags are are slightly different than conventional gardening pots or planters. There are a few things to consider when using them for any plant, but especially if you desire a large harvest of delicious roots. This is a guide on how to grow carrots in grow bags.
Grow bags have a number of advantages over conventional pots and planters. They provide good aeration and drainage for roots and can be either purchased or made at home. At the end of the year, they can be dumped out, dried, and rolled up for compact storage. Grow bags are ideal if you have limited garden space, or if you have no garden space at all.
When growing carrots in a grow bag, here are few particular things to consider:
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There are many different grow bags on the market, and which one you choose is ultimately up to you depending on your gardening needs. One of the most significant differences between grow bags is the material they are made out of. Some are made from cloth and others are a more nylon material. The benefits of cloth bags are that they are usually a more breathable material and are more natural and environmentally friendly to dispose of. Some are rugged and tough and will last for years, while others are more of a one-time use. The nylon grow bags will have better water retention than cloth if this is what you are looking for.
Many grow bags have a flap near the bottom of the bag. This is designed to harvest potatoes, and while it isn't necessary for growing carrots, it might come in handy to check how wet the soil is inside the bag, or it might make it easier to empty the bag at the end of the season.
There are many tutorials online to make your own grow bags if you have sewing skills. Alternatively, you can use any cloth sack, or bag that you have lying around. Old cloth grocery bags make excellent grow bags, and are a great way to use them one last time before retiring the worn, ripped ones.
Make sure the grow bag that you choose is at least 30cm (1 foot) deep so the carrot roots have ample space to grow.
Read Next: How to grow carrots in a greenhouse.
Before filling your grow bag with soil, place it in a location where it will receive lots of sunlight (at least 6 hours each day), and ideally where it will receive some rain. It is best to put your grow bag in a permanent location. They can be moved if necessary, but this is not ideal as picking up the bag can cause the soil to shift and settle and disturb the roots.
Because carrots are a root vegetable, it is important what soil you fill your grow bag with. Using soil from your own garden if you have some works well. It is beneficial to mix the soil with ample compost or other rotting vegetation to add humus, and to feed the carrots as they are growing. Carrots are a light feeder, so you do not need to add excess amounts of supplements or you might end up with woody and hairy carrots.
Being a root vegetable, carrots do not do well in heavy, clay soil as it impedes their growth. Again, adding compost will help by creating a good, loose texture. As you fill the grow bag with soil from your garden, make sure to remove any rocks or other debris as they can deform the roots if they encounter these obstacles.
Buying bags of potting soil will work well, and has the advantage that is it has a nice tilth (or texture), and is free from rocks and weeds.
Lightly spinkle your carrots seeds over the top of the bag. Ideally, you will want your carrots growing about 8cm (3inches) apart so the roots can mature without interferring with each other. If they are growing too close together, you can thin the seedlings right away or you can wait to harvest some as early carrot while letting the others finish maturing.
Alternatively, you can space the seeds out at sowing time. Since carrot seeds are so small, it might be beneficial to purchase pelleted seeds, which are coated in clay so they are easier to handle (this is also a big help if gardening with children). Bear in mind that carrot germination rate is quite low, so if you do space your carrots out at sowing time, you might end up with gaps in your bag and ultimately decrease your harvest.
Most carrot seeds should be planted about 60mm (1/4 inch) deep. In a grow bag, it is usually easiest to put the seeds on top of the soil, and then sprinkle more soil on top. Carrot seeds take about 2 to 3 weeks to germinate so be patient and keep the soil moist. Make sure you water carefully as the water can easily wash around the small seeds.
Carrots germinate best when the soil temperature is between 7-30°C (45-85°F). Like a raised bed, a grow bag will warm up faster than the ground, but it can also cool off faster on a cold night.
Throughout the growing season, it is important to keep your carrots well watered. Carrots are nearly 95% water so it is important to keep the soil damp to help them grow into a succulent snack. You have to pay particular attention to the soil moisture when you grow your carrots in a grow bag.
Grow bags are typically made from breathable fabric. Some of the the main benefits of grow bags over planters is that grow bags' fabric provides superior aeration and drainage. The aeration provides good air circulation for the roots, but this does dry out the soil.
The good drainage means that water will drain out of the grow bag so your plants do not become water logged, but that also means that your soil will dry out quickly. While it is always good to water your garden in the morning, this is particularly beneficial when growing in a grow bag. Watering in the morning means most of the water will be absorbed by the soil before it evaporates, and your carrots will have access to water all through the day. Also, any water on the plants leaves on a hot afternoon can burn the plant.
Applying a layer of mulch, such as straw, around your carrots will help with moisture retention. While this won't help with drainage or aeration, it will stop moisture from being evaporated into the air.
You can also place your grow bag on a plastic tray with a lip. This will catch any excess water that drains out, or you can fill the tray with water that will be absorbed by the soil as needed.
When your carrots mature will depend upon the variety, and should be listed on your seed package. You can read about tips to growing and harvesting your carrots when they are extra sweet here . You can usually harvest about 1kg to 1.5kg (about 3lbs) from each grow bag, but this will greatly depend on the variety, soil quality, and how close the carrots are together.
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