Plant carrots 2″ apart in rows that are 12″ apart. Check the specific variety you’re growing for any special instructions. Large carrots like Envy Hybrid, require 3″ between plants.
Plant carrots at a rate of 2 seeds per inch at a depth of 1/4″. When plants reach about 4″ high thin them down to the desired spacing of 2″ apart.
To thin plants down use garden shears and cut weeny looking or too tightly spaced carrot plants at ground level. Don’t pull them out of the ground by hand to avoid disturbing the roots of the plants you want to leave.
Carrot Plant Density vs. Yields
Here’s a study published as a scientific paper published in ISHS (International Society of Horticulture Science) on the effects of carrot planting density and the effects on yields.
Carrots were planted with different spacings – in-row 2, 3, 4 and 6 cm, and between rows 10, 15, 22, 5, 30 and 45 cm. These spacings equaled out to having carrot plants spaced with a range of plant densities from 37-500 plants per meter squared. 1 meter squared is equal to around 10 square feet. This is what they found.
A population of 111 or 222 plant/m2, gave the highest and most uniform ware yield, and the highest yields of roots suitable for pre-packing (2 – 4 cm).
This is similar to the carrot plant density recommended in square foot gardening practices.
Square Foot Gardening With Carrots
Square foot gardening is an intensive form of gardening that strives to make the best use of garden space. Square footage is often made obvious with wood trim, spaced metal fencing, or irrigation hose that physically divides the bed into square feet.
In square foot gardening row spacing is thrown out and in-row spacing is used to figure out approximately how many of a given vegetable or fruit you should plant in a square foot.
Carrot plants and some other examples are in the table below. This calculator made by the University of Minnesota can be helpful.
|Plant||# of Plants Per Square||Space Between Rows|
|Baby Leaf Spinach||32||N/A|
|Melon||2 squares per plant||N/A|
What I like about square foot gardening is how easily you can see unused spots in the garden and easily you know what you can fill them with.
Plant Density and Yields
Plant density in general works like this. Increased plant density, more plants in the same space, leads to greater overall yields by weight, up to a point.
When plants get too tight the competition for water, nutrients, and sunlight gets too high and it leads to poor plant development. Another general rule of plant density is this. With higher plant density individual plants yield smaller fruits and vegetables. So carrots spaced very tightly together will produce smaller carrots come harvest time.
A good and interesting example is ears of corn on a stalk. Corn is an important crop and farmers have studied plant density and yields on it thoroughly. What’s interesting is corn stalks in fields are spaced so tightly that they typically will develop only one ear of corn per stalk. However, corn plants on the edges of fields will regularly have more than one ear because they have more access to water, nutrients, and sunlight.
Commercial Carrot Plant Spacing
Seminis, a large commercial seed distributor, lists different carrot spacings for different types of carrots.
Farmers will use different carrot plant densities depending on how they want to market the carrots. For example, fresh use carrots or sliced frozen (processed) will be spaced differently.
Farmers will also use different spacings depending on the machinery they have to harvest.
- Processing Carrots (dicing) – 10-15 seeds per 12″, 180-250k plants per acre, 1 lb. of carrot seed per acre
- Early Cello or Jumbo Carrots – 16-18 seeds per 12″, 300-350k plants per acre, 1-1.5 lbs. of carrot seed per acre
- Main Season Cello Carrots – 20-25 seeds per 12″, 350-450k plants per acre, 2-2.5 lbs. of carrot seed per acre
- Slicer carrots – 20-30 seeds per 12″, 450-550k plants per acre, 2.0 lbs. of carrot seed per acre
- Cut-and-Peel- 60-80 seeds per 12″, 1.1-1.3 million plants per acre, , 4-6 lbs. of carrot seed per acre
How Many Carrots To Plant Per Container
To plant carrots, use a container that is at least 12″ deep and give carrots 1.5 gallons of dirt per container. With a 3 gallon container, plant 2 carrot plants, a 5 gallon container 3 carrot plants, and so on.
How Far Apart To Plant Carrots in a Raised Bed
Use a stick or tool to make a straight line about 1/4″ deep in your raised bed where you want the row of carrots. Space rows of carrots 12″ apart. Plant carrot seeds at a rate of about 2 seeds every inch.
Later thin down to carrot plants spaced 2″ apart depending on the variety of carrot. More space between plants will lead to bigger carrots.
How Deep To Plant Carrot Seeds
Carrot seeds should be planted 1/4″ deep. Carrot seeds are tiny and lightweight. Cover them lightly with dirt and water them in gently. The water will help to hold their spacing and provide the moisture they need to germinate. Continue to make sure the soil around the seeds is moist until they sprout.
Please comment below with your own thoughts or experience with spacing carrot plants.