Question: I have a little bit of space in my raised bed for a small vegetable. How do you grow carrots in a raised bed? -Beth T.
Answer: If you have heavy clay based soil in your garden, it’s a good idea to build a raised bed for growing your carrots and other root vegetables, as heavy soils will impede root growth which can lead to deformed tubers. Creating a raised bed for your carrots provides them with the perfect environment they need to thrive and produce strong, healthy tubers for harvesting. Follow these helpful tips for better success when growing carrots in a raised bed:
- While preparing the soil in your raised bed for planting carrots, make sure to remove any rocks, soil clumps and other debris in the bed. The first 12 inches of soil in your carrot bed should be fine and loose, so as not to impede the growing roots of your carrot plants.
- The type of soil medium that you create in your raised bed is very important when it comes to cultivating carrots. The perfect blend is a mix of soil, well-rotted animal manure, and compost. The higher the ratio of humus in your raised beds, the better off your carrots will be, as organic materials improve the soil’s water retention capabilities. This is especially important in raised beds as they tend to have great drainage and the last thing you want is for your soil to dry out completely. Improving the water retention of the soil in your raised beds will help your carrots grow sweeter and less fibrous.
- After your carrot seeds germinate and young seedlings become established, lay out a thick layer of organic material-based mulch around your carrot plants. Mulching will deter weeds from growing in your beds and stealing valuable water and nutrients from your carrot plants. Mulching will also help to improve water retention, further helping to avoid your raised beds drying out between waterings.
- Carrots need space to develop properly, so be sure to space out your carrot plants properly. If carrots are spaced too close together, the root tubers will not be able to grow to their full size. If there is too much space between your carrot plants, you will not be able to produce a sizable harvest. Carrot plants should be sown or thinned down to allow three to four inches of space between each plant depending on their variety.
- Give your young carrot plants a boost by feeding them occasionally with an organic foliar spray. You can purchase foliar sprays at garden centers or make your own using compost tea or diluted vermicomposting liquid.