When to plant carrot seeds for a healthy harvest – so you can start making carrot cake in no time

Is it a good time to plant carrots? Gardening experts advise when you can start sowing

Freshly harvested carrots
(Image credit: Getty Images/Bill Sykes)

If you’re looking to grow your own veggies to get your five a day straight from the garden, then carrots are the perfect candidates to make it into your vegetable patch. But to make sure you’re graced with a healthy and abundant harvest, you need to know when to plant carrots.

As spring is finally starting to spring this year (slowly but surely), we’re all looking for what to plant in March. Could carrots - filled with beneficial vitamins and minerals like biotin, potassium, and vitamin A - be one  of the things we could sow in the garden this month?

To be sure, we asked our gardening experts to tell us what is the best time to plant and start growing carrots, if this is a good time or whether we need to exercise patience.

Baskets of carrots and beetroots

(Image credit: Future PLC/Richard Gadsby)

When to plant carrots

Unlike growing carrots in containers, which can be done almost anytime of the year, planting them outside in the garden needs to be well-timed. 

‘In the UK, the best time to plant the majority of carrot varieties is between April and June,’ says Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench. ‘Some earlier varieties can be planted in February or March.’

So it largely depends on your chosen variety - and when purchasing your seeds, the product usually includes information on the best planting and harvesting time.

Steve Chilton portrait
Steve Chilton

Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field. As the director of LeisureBench, an industry-leading garden furniture company, Steve has developed strong expertise for all things nature and plants. 

Vegetable garden with a carrot patch

(Image credit: Getty Images/gerdtromm)

However, you can plant your seeds earlier than this as long as you provide your carrots with protection.

‘If planted earlier, carrots would need to be placed in a greenhouse,’ Steve advises.

Petar Ivanov, gardening expert at Fantastic Gardeners, adds, ‘Seeds that are sown early can be covered with fleece or cloches.’

Unless you’re testing how to grow carrots from carrot tops, you’ll need some carrot seeds to plant – and this is where you can get them:

Petar Ivanov portrait
Petar Ivanov

Petar Ivanov is one of the company's top-performing experts and manages over six teams of gardeners, delivering stunning landscape results and fostering a deep connection with nature through his work.

Freshly harvested carrots

(Image credit: Future PLC/Alun Callender)


Do carrots like sun or shade?

When choosing the planting spot for your carrots, it’s important to know whether it’s a sunny or a shaded area of the garden to provide the best necessary conditions for your crop.

‘Typically, carrots prefer full sun. However, if they have to survive in partial shade, then they can. They'll also need some well-draining soil and enough room to grow their roots effectively,’ Steve recommends.

A bunch of carrots on a kitchen worktop

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

How long do carrots take to grow?

‘Harvesting carrots should usually take place 70 to 80 days after planting,’ Petar reveals. ‘Whenever the roots reach a diameter of 2.5 to 4 centimetres, pull them out of the soil. Use a spade to loosen the soil around the carrot before pulling it.’

So if you get to planting now, you’ll have your first harvest in a couple of months. How exciting is that?!

Content Editor

Sara Hesikova has been a Content Editor at Ideal Home since June 2024, starting at the title as a News Writer in July 2023. Sara brings the Ideal Home’s readership features and news stories from the world of homes and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more, focusing on all things room decor, specialising in living rooms, bedrooms, hallways, home offices and dining rooms. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.