What can you grow in a Grow Bag? As we discovered in our test gardens this summer, almost anything! When we started thinking about all the different vegetable crops that might benefit from the ideal growing conditions in a Grow Bag, carrots were right at the top of the list. All vegetables grow better in good soil, but there are some crops that demand it. Carrots, being a root crop, simply won’t develop properly in heavy clay or stony soils. For best appearance and a sweet flavor, they need soil that’s loose and friable, well drained, neutral to alkaline, and not too rich in nitrogen.
So, in the summer of 2010, we planted several crops of carrots in Grow Bags that were slightly smaller than our Potato Grow Bags. All the bags were filled with pre-moistened Container Mix, to which we added a half cup of All-Purpose Fertilizer and half a bag of Container Booster Mix. A few cups of compost could be substituted for the Booster Mix.
For seeds we used Nantes-type carrot varieties, which have sturdy, sausage-shaped roots. Nantes are known for their crispness and excellent flavor. They have a smooth exterior and are somewhat shorter than traditional carrots varieties with pointy ends.
All carrots are frost hardy, so don’t be afraid to plant them early – as much as a month before your last frost date. For a continuous harvest, you can plant several Grow Bags, one each month until midsummer.
- Fill the bag with potting soil, such as Organic Container Mix.
- Add 1/4 cup granular, Organic All-Purpose Fertilizer, mixing it thoroughly into the soil before planting.
- Scatter seeds on the soil surface so they are about 3″ apart and cover them with about 1/4″ of Container Mix. Water thoroughly. Carrots, like beets, have a very hard seed coat. For good germination and strong early growth, the seeds must be kept consistently moist – not wet – for the first two or three weeks.
- Cover the top of the Grow Bag with a layer of garden fabric to retain moisture or plan on watering the top inch or two of soil almost daily.
- Once the plants get established, keep the soil moist by watering deeply as needed. To get a crop of good-size carrots, thin out seedlings to 3″ apart.
- Add 1/4 cup of granular organic fertilizer every four to six weeks after thinning.
We found our carrots were ready to harvest in about 75 days, exactly what the seed package predicted. The carrots can be harvested all at once, or you can pull them as needed. They’ll usually wait quite patiently until you’re ready for them. We averaged about 3 lbs. of carrots per bag.