I anticipated some issues when I started to grow my first tray of carrot microgreens for some strange reason.
So much so that when problems didn't occur, I had to grow another tray to see if I was just lucky the first.
Maybe my misconceptions come from growing carrots in the garden. I have good luck growing nicely shaped long carrots, but getting good germination over the whole row is more of the problem.
However, I found that growing carrot microgreens indoors, on a great potting mix, is very easy under controlled conditions.
How to Grow Carrot Microgreens
Before we get into the specifics, let's discuss the general procedure of growing carrot microgreens.
We use soil to grow carrot microgreens. In fact, we prefer soil for all microgreens. That aside, we aren't sure that carrots will grow too well on a grow mat. If anyone has had success growing carrots on a fiber grow mat, please let us know in the comment section.
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Equipment & Supplies Needed to Grow Carrot Microgreens
Below is a list of the equipment and supplies needed for these microgreens.
Equipment & Supply Chart
Planting and Watering Tray with lid (Small & larger)
Good Potting Mix
Seed (more on this later)
something over a pound to place on the lid. We used 2.5-pounds for a small tray.
Any old towel will work
Growing Method for Carrot Microgreens
The best method to grow carrot microgreens is the weighted method. If you aren't sure what that method is, we will go over it later in the article.
We believe the weighted method is the best because it will make for better seed to soil contact for the longer germination time of carrot seeds.
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What Variety of Carrots Grows the Best Microgreens
Any variety will grow into carrot microgreens.
But because we use quite a bit of seed for microgreens and the fact that we will only eat the young green sprouts, it's best to use an orange heirloom variety as the seed will be less expensive.
We use Danver 126 carrot seed. We also grow these in the garden for our orange field carrot.
But any carrot variety will grow great carrot microgreens.
How Much Carrot Seed to Use for Microgreens
Of course, this depends on the size of the tray you are using.
Since carrots don't have large cotyledons or leaves, we use more seeds than we usually plant.
Generally, Home Microgreens recommends using less seed than that recommended by other growers. Because we believe that crowded microgreens grow more stem than leaves.
The nutrients are in the leaves.
Stems are great for growers selling microgreens by weight.
We are growing microgreens for nutrients and quality.
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In the example below, we spread 2.3-grams of carrot microgreen seed onto a Home Microgreens Tray.
At that seed density, a 1010 tray would require 6.1-grams and a 1020 tray 12 to 13 grams. Neither of those values is tested only calculated based on the following example results.
If you have trays of different dimensions, you can use the Home Microgreens Calculator to estimate the amount of seed you need for your tray.
Preparing the Planting Tray for Carrot Seed
Place approximately 1.5-inches of good potting soil in the planting tray and tamp the soil level and smooth.
Use a spray bottle to wet the soil surface 3 or 4 times.
It is not necessary to wet the soil profile to the bottom of the tray. This is because seeds do not need that much moisture.
Only the upper 1/3 of the soil profile needs to be moist. Therefore, extra water in the system can only cause issues.
Spread the seed evenly across the top of the soil. It should look similar to the tray in the photo below.
Use the spray bottle and gently mist the seeds a couple of more times to wet the seeds and to help settle them into the soil.
Click any photo in this article to expand it for better viewing.
Preparing the Carrot Microgreen Tray for Blackout
If you are unfamiliar with the blackout period, the following link will take you to an article that explains the blackout period and its purpose.
If you haven't already done so, place the planting tray into the watering tray and move it to where they will germinate.
Next, put a tray lid or something waterproof, flat, and rigid on top of the tray. Again, it's best if the object rests mainly on the seeds pushing them tight to the soil surface.
Then place a weight on top of the lid. We use a 2-1/2 pound weight on the Home Microgreens Tray in the example. For 1010 trays, we use a 5-pound weight and 10 to 15 pounds for 1020 trays.
But a heavy book, a rock, anything heavy will work as long as it will keep the lid on the tray and not fall off.
If you are planting more than one tray, stack them up like those in the photo above.
Once the weight is on the trays, we recommend placing a tea towel over the trays to make it darker.
Black Out Period for Carrot Microgreens
Usually, we recommend waiting for 48-hours before even looking at the microgreens in a weighted blackout.
But with carrots, you can extend that to 4- or 5-days. If you are worried about moisture, you can look sooner but try not to disturb the seeds by lifting the lid off unless you are sure they need to be misted.
Usually, unless the humidity in the house is very dry, they need to be misted.
This is one reason we like the opaque tops that come with the Home Microgreens Trays. You can see what is going on with the seeds without disturbing them.
Carrot microgreen seeds will germinate in 5- to 7-days.
The carrot seeds in the photo above are germinating but are not ready to come out of the blackout.
Putting Carrot Microgreens Under the Lights
In our example, the carrot microgreens are ready to come out of the blackout in 8-days.
The carrot microgreens are in the tray on the left. The right tray is Chervil.
Again, you can see why we like the opaque lids. You can see the young microgreens without disturbing them. Below is a close-up of the carrot microgreens after 8-days.
How Much Light Do Carrot Microgreens Need?
The answer to that question is as much as you can give them. We recommend that carrot microgreens be placed under LED lighting. They do not need to be placed under grow lights.
However, in our example, we did use low-wattage Barrina LED full spectrum grow lights. Each light strip is 24-watts.
But we also grow them with no problem under Barrina's 20-watt shop lights.
We recommend using LED lighting for microgreens because we do not know where any reader lives. Here in the northeast U.S., most people will need to supplement with lighting during most of the year to produce good microgreens.
But by no means do you need expensive grow lights to grow carrot microgreens.
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When to Water Carrot Microgreens?
Now is the time to give the carrot microgreens a drink. They are growing roots and looking for more moisture.
We water all microgreens when they come out of the blackout period. For the Home Microgreens Tray, we place 2/3 cups of water in the watering tray and float the planting tray on top of the water.
The tray quickly uptakes the water and settles back down into the watering tray.
Remember the weight, or more accurately, the feel of the weight of the dry tray. When you lift a tray later in the process, and it feels light, it is time to water again.
That is the best way to think about watering.
Most trouble with microgreens comes from overwatering them.
How Fast Do Carrot Microgreens Grow?
The carrots in the photo above have been under lights for 2-days. They have greened up and are starting to shed seed husks.
Carrot microgreens are not the fastest-growing greens. So you need some patience to grow them.
In the photo below, the carrot microgreens are 16-days old. The tray is 1-1/2 inches tall, so the greens are that or maybe 2-inches tall. Not quite ready to harvest.
When Are Carrot Microgreens Ready to Harvest?
We start harvesting carrot microgreens when the first true leaves form.
The first true leaves form around day 25 or so.
At this growth stage, the carrot microgreens will be 3 or more inches tall. You can allow them to grow longer if you wish. However, the lower stems of the microgreens will become tougher to eat and will need to be chopped to consume.
How to Harvest Carrot Microgreens?
The nice thing about slower-growing microgreens is that you have a longer window for harvesting. There is no need to harvest them all at once. So there is no need to harvest them all at once. Instead, they will continue to slowly grow and not get to the point where they need to be cut and preserved.
To harvest carrot microgreens, tip the tray at a 45-degree angle over a cutting board or plant and use a pair of stainless steel scissors to cut the microgreens and let them fall onto the plate.
Cut them 1/2-inch or so above the soil surface.
You can also grab a bunch of carrot microgreens in your fingertips and carefully use a harvest knife to cut a few off the tray. We like to use this harvest knife as it is very thin and sharp out of the box, and it also sharpens easily.
Can You Regrow Carrot Microgreens?
We aren't quite sure yet. We are currently testing this by cutting the stems slightly higher, leaving some leafy greens on the stem to see if they will grow back.
We will update this article when we know for sure.
What Do Carrot Microgreens Taste Like?
We think they taste like a mild carrot. A bit earthy, too.
I know, surprise! But that's their flavor profile.
How Do You Use Carrot Microgreens?
As with almost all microgreens, they can be added to a salad or garnish.
The lower part of the stem can become fibrous with age, so they may need to be chopped before adding them to a salad.
The leaves are tender and can be placed on or added to mashed potatoes. We also chop up the leaves and float them on soup. Especially tomato soup!
They are also an excellent addition to macaroni or potato salad.
In the colder months, we make quite a bit of scalloped potatoes, and carrot microgreens are good sprinkled on top of the dish after serving the casserole on the plate.
Are You Looking For Microgreen Seeds and Supplies?
Home Microgreens online store sells reasonably priced microgreen seed packets with the perfect amount of seed for 5-by-5, 1010, and Home Microgreens trays plus ounce, 1/4-pound, and pound bags.
We also carry our own microgreen soil and fiber mats for the home microgreen grower!
Carrot Microgreen Nutrition
Like all microgreens, carrot microgreens are healthy.
Carrot microgreens are rich in Vitamin A, and they contain vitamins B1 (thiamin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folate), C, and K. Also, they're a source of potassium and manganese.
Carrot microgreens, of course, have anti-oxidants such as beta-carotene even in the greens.
Tips for Growing Carrot Microgreens
Carrot microgreens are slow to germinate and grow even slower. So expect a month before you enjoy these wonderful microgreens.
Mist the seeds well after seeding. Not to the point where the soil is saturated, but make sure the seeds themselves are wet. Because they take so long to germinate, they need a bit more misting than other varieties.
That way, you will not have to disturb them before they are ready to come out of the blackout.
Don't be afraid to put extra weight on them during the blackout period. The extra weight will help keep moisture on the seeds. They are strong microgreens.
Don't overwater them. The microgreens will tell you when they need water. Even if they wilt a little, they will come back quickly when you give them water.
Remember, no microgreens should be watered over the top. Bottom water only.
Grow Carrot Microgreens
You can get carrot microgreen seeds and all the supplies you need to grow microgreens in the Home Microgreen Store.