Last Updated on December 27, 2022
Is planting carrots in the fall possible? Yes, it is, but it depends on where you grow your carrots or where you live.
Gardeners in the south have the advantage of sowing carrots in the fall for winter harvest. Northern gardeners always start their carrots planting in midsummer to harvest them in the fall and early winter.
The beauty of growing carrots is that many planting and harvesting windows keep these nutritious roots on our plates throughout the year.
Orange carrots are the most common carrots, but you can try planting yellow, white, crimson, or even purple ones. Besides the carrot color, choosing the right size and shape that suits your soil is critical. Carrots’ size and shape vary by type – ball type Danvers and chantey carrots have a blocky shape that handles heavy or shallow soil. In comparison, slender types like imperator and Nantes carrots require deep loose soil.
Let’s Look At Planting Carrots In The Fall
With the calendar turning to September most gardeners, begin to think of wrapping up the gardening season. However, there is still time to plant several vegetables that can withstand the cold season for the southern gardeners.
Northern gardeners are limited to planting radishes, spinach, lettuce, and arugula in September, while southern and Western gardeners have the luxury of growing a wider variety of vegetables.
Carrots and peas are the two common crops that are planted in warmer areas for fall harvest. Both crops mature in a few months after planting and tolerate a light frost thriving during the cold. Both crops can be harvested while still immature to yield some tasty vegetables in case the temperatures dip earlier than expected.
If you live in a mild winter climate, you can also try overwintering some carrots or peas planted in the fall for harvest in the following spring.
Carrot Varieties For Planting In The Fall
Choose a variety that grows quickly to ensure they are mature before the days grow too short and the temperatures become too cold. Here are some excellent carrot varieties to try:
- Merida – This type produces a 7-inch long Nantes-type carrot. It can be planted in the fall for spring harvest, as it is slow to get bitter in spring.
- Primo – This is a Nantes type of carrot that matures within 60 days from seeding. It colors up early, providing a good harvest is baby carrots.
- Red Cored Chantenay – This type matures in 68 days after seeding, producing 6-inch long blocky carrots. This type is adaptable to many soil types.
- Little Finger – This type produces 3 to 4-inch long carrots that color up quickly and mature only after 65 days.
When To Plant Fall Carrots
The best time to plant carrots in the fall is September in raised beds if you live in the South and West areas. Prepare the bed by removing previous crops and weeds, loosening the soil, and adding at least half an inch thick layer of compost. Work the compost into the ground.
Once the soil is ready, sprinkle the carrot seed on top of the smooth seedbed and cover it with a quarter-inch layer of soil. Because the weather is still warm in September, shade the planting bed using a shade cloth during the 90-degree days and keep the soil evenly moist. If the soil dries out or the weather becomes too hot, the seeds won’t germinate. Water them well and leave them to grow.
Once the carrots have germinated and the tops have grown a few inches tall, the carrots are at least 2 inches apart. 3 weeks later, then again to 3 or 4 inches apart. Fertilize after the first thinning with a quick-acting fertilizer like the 5-10-10. Avoid using high-level nitrogen fertilizers or fresh manure.
You can start harvesting your carrots as soon as they show color. To overwinter them, bulge with a 6 to 8-inch thick layer of hay or straw before the ground freezes. When ready to harvest, pull the straw back to clear the way for harvesting.
When Should Southern Gardeners Sow Their Carrots?
After the hot summer has passed and the fall begins, it is time for Southern gardeners to prepare their gardens and plant carrot seeds. Southern gardeners with a warm or mild winter can sow carrot seed in the early fall, that is, September. If they sow in September, they can harvest throughout the winter and into
Carrots can reliably be sown outside in the fall without protection from the weather patterns. Gardeners across South Carolina, Florida, and Sacramento can grow fall carrots with ease.
If you’re not sure about the region you are leaving and growing carrots in the fall, you can check your weather forecast for advice for gardening.
Carrot Planting Tips For Southern Gardeners
It is possible to sow your carrot seed throughout the fall and winter if you live in the Deep South. You can aim to harvest carrots in the most excellent parts of the winter as they will have the sweetest flavor at this time.
Gardeners in the upper South cancel carrots from late August into September. They are planting window is a bit shorter compared to the deep South. However, they have cooler winter temperatures that make their carrots super sweet.
The best way to store mature carrots is to leave them in the ground and harvest them only when needed. This is great for cold and mild weather. However, if your climate is seriously warming up and you’re expecting hotter days ahead, it is best to pull your mature carrots and store them in the root cellar or any other cool, dark and dry place in your house. Scorching weather makes your roots beta and causes the plants to bolt.
Consider putting a shade cloth on the carrot bed until the plants become established; this will help to conserve moisture and cool the soil temperature until the winter weather sets in.
Find more information about Carrots Planting Spacing – What You Should Know
When Should Northern Gardeners Grow Their Carrots?
Northern gardeners should plant carrot seeds in mid-to-late summer to get a fall or winter harvest.
Over the past many years, the northern governors have perfected extending their current season resulting in a bountiful harvest in early winter.
How Many Carrot Seeds Should You Plant?
There are different methods of sowing carrot seeds that can be used. When planting carrot seeds in the soil in neat rows with carefully made holes, it is okay to put one seed per hole if you trust that your seeds are viable or are fairly new seeds. If your seeds are a bit old and/or you are unsure of their viability, you may put multiple seeds in a single hole to give yourself some guarantee. If multiple seedlings come up, you can always separate them so you have nothing to lose by doing this.
Another way of sowing carrot seeds is to scatter them lightly across a wide surface area of soil. Just make sure that they have sufficient space to grow well, and if they grow in clumps thin them out and event space them otherwise they will not grow to maturity.
Both these sowing methods have been used with success over the years. Choose the one that you think will be best for you, or try both methods in two different areas and see which one works better.
How Deep Should The Soil Be to Grow Carrots?
Generally, carrots require deep, loose soil to grow well. If the soil is a bit hard, the root will not grow well and may get stunted or twisted which is not ideal.
The depth in that you should dig the soil for growing carrots depends on the variety of carrots that you are going to plant. Different carrot varieties have different maximum lengths that they will grow to.
Dig or till the soil deeply to give your carrots the best growth chance. For varieties that have long roots, you will have to dig the soil to depths of between 12 and 16 inches. Otherwise select varieties with shorter roots that will not need much depth.
When to Plant Carrots in Zone 11?
Zone 11 is one of the warmest hardiness zones, and gets no frost throughout the year. Carrot seeds should be planted in the soil at least two to three weeks before the last spring day. The earlier you can plant carrots seedlings in Zone 11 is January, but if you don’t want to take any chances it is best to wait until February.
When Can I Plant Carrots in Zone 7?
In the USDA zone 7, plants such as carrots which prefer cooler temperatures are best planted outdoors in early February. This will give them enough time for the last spring frost days to pass before they germinate, otherwise, they would get frost damage and eventually die.
When Do You Plant Carrots in Pots?
Because pots are easy to move around and position in any area where you want them, you can plant carrots in pots at any time of the year. This is if you can provide them with the right growing conditions such as the right temperature, sufficient light (whether natural or artificial), have a good irrigation schedule, and provide them enough nutrients for growth.
Growing plants in pots work best if you have controlled indoor environments such as greenhouses.
How Much Sun Does a Carrot Plant Need?
Carrots prefer full sun but can also tolerate partial shade. For the best growth and production of your carrot plants, you need to make sure they get between 8-10 hours of direct sunlight per day.
As we have seen, planting carrots in the fall as possible will require some techniques for you to show at the right time and harvest an excellent crop.
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Lory is an avid gardener who loves spending time outdoors. She is passionate about using her green thumb to create beautiful, lush gardens for her friends and family. She finds joy in tending to her garden, trimming plants, and cultivating new species. She loves to share her knowledge and experience with others who have a similar enthusiasm for gardening. Lory is a true nature enthusiast who loves to share her enthusiasm for the outdoors with all who meet her.