Carrot Growing Guide

5 Steps to Carrot Planting Success

  • Choose a spot in full sun and prepare your soil with organic matter like compost. Carrots like a loose, free-draining, fertile soil.
  • Carrot seeds can be sown in spring, summer and autumn in New Zealand. Seeds should be sown directly in situ, as carrots don't like being transplanted. Always use fresh seed.
  • Add a layer of seed raising mix to sow into. 
  • Feed carrots with a phosphorus rich fertiliser like potato food. 
  • Water carrots regularly and deeply, particularly in dry periods. 

Follow our full guide below to a bumper crop of homegrown carrots.

The taste of sweet, freshly harvested carrots is unbeaten. You’ll probably never buy them from a store again after you grow your own!

Prepare

Carrots are easy to grow once you understand what they do and don’t like. Carrots loathe being transplanted. As seedlings carrots roots are particularly fragile and will not tolerate disturbance, which is why you must always sow seeds in situ to prevent root disturbance. One exception to the rule is the ‘Roly Poly’ variety which can be transplanted.

Carrots get their bright orange colour from beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A once eaten. They are also rich in antioxidants and fibre, making them healthy as well as tasty!

Refer to our Planting Calendar for when to plant and harvest in your region. 

Sow in batches in spring, summer and early autumn. Always use fresh seed. 

Plant

Like building a house a good foundation is the key to success in your garden. The better the soil, the better your plants will grow. Carrots prefer a spot in full sun and free-draining, well dug soil free from any hard material so the roots can easily penetrate into the ground.

If you are starting with an existing garden bed dig in organic matter like Tui Compost to your soil. 

If sowing in rows, make sure each row is 40-50cm apart.

Sowing directly in garden beds

  • Add a layer of Tui Seed Raising Mix to the sowing area.
  • Make shallow furrows in the mix, and water well.
  • Sow the seed as directed on the packet.
  • Lightly cover with Tui Seed Raising Mix.
  • Press soil gently.
  • Water lightly and regularly.

Sowing in pots and containers

Carrots can be grown in pots and containers as long as the soil depth is at least 30cm. Don't sow too much seed as the carrots need enough room for their roots to develop. 

Nourish

Feed your plants and they will feed you. Plants use nutrients from the soil as they grow, so replenishing the nutrients ensures your carrots grow to their full potential.

Select a fertiliser rich in phosphorus like Tui Potato Food for carrots planted in the garden. Feed carrots planted in pots and containers with Tui Performance Naturals Tomato & Vegetable liquid fertiliser.

Well-watered, well-nourished carrots will have a better chance of keeping insect pests and diseases at bay.

While your carrots are growing regularly apply a dose of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic to give them a welcome boost.

Water carrots regularly and deeply, particularly during dry periods. 

Thin out rows of carrots to enable good-sized, even roots to develop. This will help stop the carrots becoming crowded (meaning straighter carrots) and susceptible to disease and rot. After thinning, space long, thin varieties out 2-3cm. For bigger main crop varieties space out 5cm.

Harvest

Most carrot varieties are ready to harvest when the top of the carrots emerge from the soil and are of a size you want them to be. This will depend upon the variety and the length of time from sowing to harvest, but generally approximately 1cm wide. The carrots will be a vibrant colour when they are ready, this also depends upon the variety. 

When should I plant
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  • Harvest in 50-65 days