How to Grow Carrots in Raised Beds & 4 Varieties to Try

how to grow carrots in raised beds

Carrots are an indicator of early summer, and growing them for the first time can be daunting as they require optimal conditions in which to flourish.

Raised beds have become an increasingly popular garden feature, and if you are thinking about purchasing or building them yourself, chances are you have questions about their depth for carrot cultivation. How to grow carrots in raised beds? We’ll focus on soil depth considerations as well as potential varieties to try in your own garden.

As someone who has exclusively grown carrots in raised beds, I can offer insight into what makes my harvest such an overwhelming success. So let’s dive right in!

Can carrots be grown in raised beds?

Absolutely! In fact, I prefer raising beds as a method for growing carrots because they allow me to create loose and fluffy soil that’s much better suited for growing them than my native soil.

My home is situated in an extremely rainy mountain area. Though summers tend to be dry, most other seasons the soil becomes very saturated. Raised beds don’t work for everyone; for me however they work exceptionally well due to how efficiently they drain away any standing water that might arise.

Avoid hard, compacted soil in raised beds by regularly amending it with organic matter – at least once annually – in order to improve it over time and act like a moisture reservoir when necessary. Doing this will keep moisture at an ideal level and create the optimal conditions for growth in raised beds.

Homemade compost and aged manure are the go-to options when it comes to applying aged compost to raised beds, especially carrots which require plenty of nutrients and moisture. I typically apply 2-3 inches of homemade or aged compost or manure twice each year in my raised beds and enjoy watching its magic work its magic!

how to grow carrots in raised beds is of critical importance when starting a brand-new garden. Do your research – for instance if the soil in your native location contains heavy clay content you might consider adding some builders sand as carrots flourish in light, well-draining soil conditions – we offer great resources on using builders sand for gardening here!

Stony soils can present another challenge to carrot roots. I have native soil in my garden that’s quite stony, yet once carrot roots reach a sufficient size they’ve managed to penetrate the harder native soil beneath my raised bed.

How deep do your raised beds need to be

The average recommended height for raised beds is 8 to 12 inches. This depth will accommodate most vegetables, including carrots. My raised beds are 10 inches tall, so they sit right in the middle, and I’ve never had a problem growing long pointy carrots.

There are some specific situations that can affect growing long carrots, though, so let’s go over them quickly:

  • Some people decide to use chicken wire underneath their raised beds to gopher-proof their crops. If you decide to do this, your raised beds should be taller – at least 12 inches – for obvious reasons.
  • If you’re building your raised beds in a greenhouse, or in an urban garden on top of concrete or other hard structures, your carrots won’t be able to penetrate into the native soil. You’ll need your raised beds to be at least 14 inches tall, but taller is better.
  • If you’re building a Hugelkultur-type bed, with straw, decaying wood, and old branches laid on the bottom to lock in moisture, make sure your raised beds are tall enough to avoid interfering with your carrot roots.

As an alternative, you can always choose shorter, stubbier carrot varieties. These can be particularly lovely to harvest if you keep having issues with carrots forking. How to grow carrots in raised beds We’ll get to varieties in a minute, as I still want to touch on a few things to ensure you get plenty of carrots in your raised beds.

The trickiest parts of getting carrots to grow and thrive are germination & thinning. So here are the key things to consider:

  • Sow carrot seeds THICKLY. That’s right, you can throw the sowing recommendations out the window. Sowing them thickly means you’ll have a lot of thinning to do, but at least you’ll get excellent germination.
  • Water carrot seeds overhead until they sprout, or lock in moisture using a plank. Check this article on how to get carrots to germinate in the heat, it applies to pretty much every situation.
  • Thin seedlings repeatedly. Yes, you may, unfortunately, attract root fly, but if it’s not a big issue in your area, thinning carrots aggressively to get bigger roots will ensure you’ll get those big, long carrots you’ve been craving to grow.
  • Wait until it’s the right time to harvest. We have this article to teach you exactly how to know when that is.
How deep do your raised beds need to be

The 4 carrot varieties I grow and recommend

When I plan my crops in late winter, I always assign room in my garden for both summer and winter carrots. What do I mean by summer and winter? It’s simple, really. I sow one generous crop of carrots in early April and a second large crop in mid-July.

Now, sowing dates are approximate, you may want to tailor your dates according to your climate, but this sowing calendar might come in handy.

Summer carrots are fantastic because I can eat them raw, straight from the ground, as they grow and mature. I love to enjoy raw baby carrots in my summer salads. When it gets hot outside, I’ll harvest them and store them in the root cellar to last me until late autumn.

Winter carrots are a staple in our diet, and I grow them exclusively for storage. This means I have to sow them in the summertime and then harvest them once they’ve fattened up in October. I prefer to let the first frosts do a little magic and sweeten up my winter carrots, and then I harvest them before the ground gets too hard

I grow one variety for summer, and one for winter, as well as some fun carrot seeds to bring some color and shape to our plates. Here are the most reliable varieties I can recommend:

1. Nantes Carrots

Nantes carrots are an extraordinary variety with a fascinating history and distinct features that set it apart. Originating in France’s city of Nantes during the late 1800s, these delicate yet delectable roots quickly became a favorite choice of home gardeners and small farmers alike due to their delicate nature and unique taste.

Nantes carrots stand out for several reasons, starting with their distinctive cylindrical form and blunt ends on both sides. This makes harvesting easier while giving them an uniform look; their skin has an orange to red hue while their flesh has fine grains for maximum juiciness.

Nantes carrots stand out due to their delicious texture; crispy yet tender with crunchy, juicy pieces ideal for snacking or adding crunch and crunch to salads. Furthermore, their fine-grained flesh ensures even easier roasting thanks to no core.

Nantes carrots have long been a favorite among home gardeners and small farmers due to their delicate nature – which makes them susceptible to rot in damp soil environments. While home gardeners and small farmers enjoy these tasty root veggies, commercial farming of them remains rare.

There are over 40 carrot varieties with rounded edges classified under the Nantes name, such as Scarlet Nantes, Coreless Nantes, Half Long Nantes and Early Nantes carrots.

2. Autumn King Carrots

For optimal winter storage carrots, look no further than Autumn King carrots! Home gardeners alike often favor them due to their consistent deep red hue and conical roots which can reach 12 inches long!

As long as it’s an inch deep, make sure your raised beds are on the deeper side or have no obstructions such as chicken wire, weed barrier or rocks at their bases.

Autumn King stands out from other varieties due to its exceptional resistance against greening and splitting, meaning it can remain in the ground for extended periods without losing flavor or texture.

Autumn King carrot varieties are well known as being large in size and producing high yielding crops with excellent health and yield characteristics.

Autumn King stands out as an exceptional late main crop variety, meaning it can be planted as early as June or July and harvested starting October/November – perfect for gardeners who want fresh homegrown produce well into winter!

Be sure to plant early enough so the carrots can reach maturity before winter arrives and enjoy delicious carrots all winter long and well into spring!

3. Purple Elite Carrots

I love the Purple Elite carrot variety because it’s not only delicious but also visually stunning, and makes a great addition to my garden. This hybrid carrot is unique because of its vibrant purple exterior with yellow striations and bright yellow interior.

Purple Elite carrots are imperator-type, meaning they’re longer and more slender than other carrot varieties, with a sharp taper from top to bottom. When fully mature, these carrots can reach up to 9 inches in length, making them perfect for growing in a raised bed that’s 10 inches tall. 

While the yield of Purple Elite carrots isn’t as predictable as regular Nantes, Berlikum, and Autumn King varieties, I still love to have at least one unusual carrot variety in the garden. After all, we should also have some fun with our crops!

4. Chantenay Red Core Carrots

The popular Chantenay Red Core carrots are not only easy to grow, but they’re also high-yielding. How to grow carrots in raised beds this short and compact variety has a sweet orange flesh with a red-orange core that gives it its name.

Chantenay carrots grow thick short roots with wide shoulders that are easy to harvest and ideal to plant in containers and raised beds. If you have shallow raised beds, or the soil underneath is heavy clay or rocky, this carrot variety will work particularly well because of its size.

Growing short stubby carrots like Thumbelina or Parisian carrots may be fun, but the Chantenay carrots will offer more flesh while still not exceeding 6 inches in length.For best results, sow this second early carrot in spring, to harvest it along with your other summer carrots.


How to grow carrots in raised beds for new and seasoned gardeners alike, trying new carrot seed varieties can be very tempting, and it’s best to strike a balance between reliable varieties and fun colorful carrot varieties that bring some novelty to our plates. I love to be adventurous, but I’d much rather prefer my root cellar to be full, so I stick with the carrots I mentioned. But who knows, that may change next year!