QUESTION: Can you grow a carrot from a carrot? Is it possible to grow carrots from my kitchen scraps? -Teddy W.
ANSWER: If you have a whole carrot in your kitchen that’s starting to grow new leaves and you don’t plan to use it just yet, you can go ahead and plant the carrot so it can keep growing while it waits for you to be ready to put it to use. You can also grow a carrot from the sprouting top left over as scraps when you’ve consumed a carrot.
To plant a whole carrot so you can use it farther down the line, find a spot in your garden for it where it will get six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day. For best results, the soil where you plant your carrot should have been amended with four inches of organic compost worked into the top eight inches of soil. If compost is not available, you can use fertilizer as a substitute.
Plant your carrot with the pointed end down so that the sprouting leaves are above the level of the soil. Provide your carrot with at least one inch of water per week, taking rainfall into account. If the weather is extremely hot or dry where you live, your carrot may need more water than that—just keep an eye on the condition of the greens for a window into the carrot’s hydration level. If you’re planting more than one carrot, space them six to eight inches apart.
To plant just the sprouting top of a carrot from your kitchen scraps, make sure to reserve a slice off the top for the leaves to sprout from. This piece will eventually grow into a carrot. Place the top slice into a container of water, and find a sunny spot for it like a south-facing window. You will notice sprouts of green foliage beginning to appear as quickly as a couple of days.
Keep the carrot indoors until it’s large enough to transplant outdoors into your garden. Your plant will need to be introduced to the outdoor climate and direct sun gradually in a process called hardening off. You can read about how to do it in our article Hardening Off Plants: Common Reader Questions and Answers.