How to Transplant Your Carrot Thinnings

Try as you might, it’s difficult to plant just one tiny carrot seed per hole when planting a bed of carrots. Not to mention how time consuming it would be! So, everyone should agree that, at some point in the process, you will have to thin your carrots – one carrot per hole and two to three inches between carrots. But what do you do with the carrots you pulled as you thinned your crop? Did you know you can transplant them?

Why throw away perfectly good carrot seedlings just because they grew in the wrong place? You can transplant them to sections of your bed where no carrots germinated or between rows where there will be at least a couple inches of space per carrot.

I wait until my carrots have grown three or four true leaves before I thin them.

carrots needing thinning

Carrots needing to be thinned

When there is more than one carrot growing together, first carefully separate the leaves of the outermost plant from the other plant leaves. Otherwise, you will pull all the plants up at once.

Carrot on left separated from other carrots

Carrot on left separated from other carrots

Gently grasp the stalk at soil level. Give it a slow, gentle, continuous pull. The entire root should come out of the ground without disturbing the other plant(s).

Pulled carrot

Pulled carrot

Next, make a  deep hole where you want to transplant the carrot. You can use a dowel or pencil, or use your finger (as I do). Be sure to make the hole deep enough to accommodate the length of the root.

Carrot in transplant hole

Carrot in transplant hole

Place the carrot into the hole and gently fill in the hole, lightly firming the soil around the carrot.

Transplanted carrot

Transplanted carrot

Be sure to water your transplanted carrots well immediately after transplanting, even if it is forecast to rain later in the day or evening. If there is no rain in the forecast, you should water the transplants daily for a few days until the they “take.”

Unfortunately, there may be casualties. Not every transplant will grow. However, I’ve had more than half of what I’ve transplanted grow to full maturity. That’s more carrots on my table and less in the compost pile. Always a good thing in my book!

2 comments on “How to Transplant Your Carrot Thinnings

    • About 1/3 to 1/2 of the transplants survived. I had to water them every day for a while, too. I figure, I had to thin the carrots anyway, so any transplants that survived was a total plus!

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