Harvest Monday, February, 22, 2016 – Carrots Transplant Update

Harvest for the week was my container grown transplanted carrots.

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Container grown transplanted carrots

Have been experimenting with transplanting carrots and the end results were crooked or short stubby carrots. See 7/28/14 (click and scroll down) and 11/10/14 posts.

Thinking: Why did the carrots  thinnings I transplanted at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden grow into good size straight carrots?

After giving the matter some thought concluded this had to do with the size of the seedlings roots.

cosmic purple carrot seedling (06523)

I was growing carrot seedlings in 2-inch deep cell packs (above photo from 2014) and when transplanted out the seedlings were still very tiny and the roots were tangled which made it difficult to keep the roots straight resulting in crooked carrots or part of the roots were broken off resulting in short stubby carrots.

The carrot thinnings at LGHVG were growing in the ground and had formed long skinny carrots (about pencil-size and rigid) making them easy to transplant (just make a deep hole and put the seedling root in straight).

Solution: Grow seedlings in larger and deeper container and transplant when roots have formed skinny carrots (about pencil-size). That’s the theory, will it work? Read on …..

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Carrot seedlings ready for transplant

Sowed the carrot seeds in a 6-inch deep straight-sided container (taken 2015 in the above photo a plastic milk container) and transplanted the seedlings when they formed long skinny carrots (about pencil-size and rigid).

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Left: Untrimmed carrot seedling. Right: Trimmed carrot seedling.

Also decided to trim some of the seedlings roots to see if there is any differences. It was much easier to transplant the trimmed seedlings, but what will the carrots look like?

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Left: Result from untrimmed carrot seedling. Right: Result from trimmed carrot seedling.

Some of the untrimmed roots were nice and straight while some were crooked like the one in the above photo. I am guessing that the crooked ones were the ones where the root got bent when transplanting.

All the trimmed roots resulted in straight carrots but they were shorter and had blunt ends instead of long tapered ends.

Conclusion: Carrots can be successfully transplanted.

Is it worthwhile? For me it is.

I can get a jump start on spring carrots planting. My garden sits at the bottom of a slope and takes forever to dry out in the spring, now I can start a portion of my carrots in container under grow light and transplant out as soon as the soil is workable.

It also allows me to start my fall carrots in a timely manner and transplant into the garden as soon as garden space becomes available.

Transplanting carrot seedlings should not be anymore tedious than transplanting leeks or onions and this year I may trim all the roots to make the task easier.

Carrots seedlings can be transplanted into the garden or into container. I have tried both. The carrots in the first photo were grown in container.

I believe this would be a wonderful project for children.

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Do visit Dave at Our Happy Acres for more Harvest Mondays


About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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42 Responses to Harvest Monday, February, 22, 2016 – Carrots Transplant Update

  1. Wow those carrots are stunning. Im looking forward to getting back into growing vegetables again this spring here in surrey. Best wishes. Emma.

  2. Such an interesting experiment, Norma. I would have expected the smallest seedlings to make straight carrots. It makes sense though that the cell paks were causing the root problems early on.

  3. Very, very interesting. It would not have occurred to me that a bigger size is better but it makes a lot of sense. I’ve transplants buckets of onions, and I know how difficult it is to get the roots in the ground. At least with onions it doesn’t matter. Perhaps leaving another inch of root on the carrot would leave it less stumpy but still easy to transplant.

    How long were the carrots growing under lights to reach that bigger size?

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Mary,
      Thanks for the great idea, I will leave another inch of root on the carrot. I cannot remember how long the seedlings took to reach that size, I am starting some this week and will make sure I keep better record.

  4. Margaret says:

    What a great experiment – like Dave, I would have thought the immature carrots would fare better than those that were older. I have it in my mind that I would love to get a fall sowing of carrots, but each year my trial is thwarted by one thing or another. If they end up not working out in the end, I’ll likely give your transplant method a try.

  5. Martha Stack says:

    On Monday, February 22, 2016, Garden to Wok wrote:

    > Norma Chang posted: “Harvest for the week was my container grown > transplanted carrots. Have been experimenting with transplanting carrots > and the end results were crooked or short stubby carrots. See 7/28/14 > (click and scroll down) and 11/10/14 posts. Thinking: Why did th” >

  6. Angie@Angie's Recipes says:

    I have never had success growing carrots..these look great, Norma.

  7. Phuong says:

    Looks like a great experiment with transplanting carrots. Our soil is super heavy clay so carrots stay stubby, growing in containers would certainly solve that problem.

  8. Interesting. I’ve never tried transplanting carrots, but it’s good to know that it can work. I’ve had a good winter with fall planted carrots this year. They are the longest and prettiest carrots I’ve ever grown.

  9. Wow, what a interesting post! I love seeing and learning more about your experiments in the garden. I like the thick stumpy carrots and I know they’re delicious!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Sandra,
      Thanks, I love to experiment, the only issue is one cannot rush the plants, they are going to grow at their own pace reason it took 2 years for me to write the final update.

  10. Balvinder says:

    Its fascinating to know that you can actually transplant carrots.

  11. chnse says:

    Thank you for sharing us your experiment Norma:) That is a valuable knowledge! I will try this as I have so many carrots all bunched up from seed sowing.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Chnse,
      Thanks for visiting and taking the time to leave a comment. Glad you found my experiment useful, I dislike thinning carrots and will be doing more transplanting in the future.

  12. sue marquis bishop says:

    You have a scientist’s mentality. Loved your post. Womenkivingkifeafter5o.com

  13. You have found out the mystery!! Good for you. I am certain your short stubby carrots are still deliciously sweet and just waiting to be thrown in a good stirfry dish!

  14. Kristy says:

    A great project for kids! I have been thinking of you lots Norma. We are in Poland now and have a lovely window that gets a lot of light. Since we don’t have cats here to worry about poisoning or eating our plants, we bought a few containers for herbs. I am successfully growing basil, thyme and sage in our window. Granted it’s only been 9 days, but the basil is still alive! A record for me. 🙂

  15. I had no idea that having the roots straight would influence the shape of a carrot. Where have I been? It makes sense, though. 🙂

  16. Your carrots are the BEST! Love all their weird nobs. 🙂 I got 1 round ball of a carrot all season. So my carrot gardening skills are not great. Lol! Although now I know the roots need to be straight and not all squished into the hole like I did. Thanks for sharing. Fingers crossed for a better crop my end next time.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Anna,
      I am sure you will have a better crop next time just remember to start thinning when the seedlings are 4 inches tall, you may need to do additional thinnings depending on how thickly you sowed the seeds.

  17. wok with ray says:

    This is really interesting, Norma. I learned something new. Thank you.

  18. Karen says:

    Your experiments are always interesting. I was fairly successful transplanting carrost that I thinned out of my garden. A pencil did make it easy to get the right size hole so that the roots would be straight.

  19. ChgoJohn says:

    You’re a marvel, Norma. So glad your experimentation was a success. That is one way to counter a garden that has a less than favorable location for at least part of the year. Above everything else, the test carrots were all flavorful and crisp. I doubt you could have hoped for better results. Congratulations!

  20. Pingback: Harvest Monday, February 29, 2016 – Container Ginger + Seeds Starting | Garden to Wok

  21. Sophie33 says:

    Thanks for the experiments! now, we can do that too! xxxx

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