Growing carrots hydroponically might sound difficult, but if you put the time and effort into learning how to grow hydroponic carrots the right way, you’ll likely find that you quickly become a master of this gardening art.
Carrots aren’t traditionally thought of when it comes to hydroponic growing - most gardeners think first of vegetables like lettuce and tomatoes.
However, it is very possible to grow carrots in a hydroponic environment. We’ll show you the ropes in this helpful article.
Can You Grow Carrots Hydroponically?
Carrots are pretty versatile vegetables. They can be grown outdoors throughout much of the year in most climates.
In fact, these cold-hardy veggies can survive a hard frost - and are often sweeter-tasting because of it!
However, if you don’t have a lot of outdoor space or are simply interested in experimenting with hydroponic growing, the good news is that you can also grow carrots hydroponically. In fact, it's pretty easy with the right equipment, and of course, this complete guide.
What Are The Benefits Of Growing Carrots Hydroponically?
When you grow carrots hydroponically, you will not only reap the benefits of this cultivation method in general - a system of gardening that requires less water use, faster growth rates, bigger yields, higher quality plants, and much more.
You also get to grow whenever and wherever you like! It doesn’t matter if you live in the country or in the heart of the big city.
Doing so is also more efficient. Nutrients are supplied with precision, lowering the amount of fertilizer needed per plant and supercharging uptake.
You can better control pH, one of the biggest struggle new growers face. It allows you to improve the quality of your overall harvest, too.
How Long Does It Take To Grow Carrots Hydroponically?
Although your time to harvest will vary slightly depending on the variety of carrots you decide to grow, most are ready to be harvested in around 70 days.
Factors affecting this timeline include the variety of carrots you're cultivating, nutrients used, and growing environment.
How To Grow Carrots Hydroponically - Step By Step Guide
Ready to start growing carrots in a hydroponic set-up? This step-by-step guide will tell you all that you need to know.
What System Is Best For Hydroponic Carrots?
When it comes to growing vegetables hydroponically, there are several different types of hydroponics systems that you can choose from.
However, because they are root vegetables, carrots should not be suspended directly in the nutrient solution. This means you need to feed/water your plants from the top, like you would in traditional soil growing.
Therefore, a hydroponic drip system will work best for these kinds of plants.
Hydroponic Drip Systems
The benefit of using a hydroponic drip system for carrots is that you will be able to cover the carrots with a hydroponic grow media and then feed them from the top - something a drip system will allow you to do.
Drip systems continually feed nutrients to the root zone with drippers, avoiding the need to constantly flood and drain the system with water.
These systems are efficient, versatile, and growing more popular as the day progresses. You may also hear them referred to as hydroponic irrigation systems.
As with many other kinds of hydroponic set-ups, they can be automated so you don’t have to constantly check on things.
You will, however, need to flush drip lines on a monthly basis to remove built-up algae and minerals. Our guide on cleaning your hydro system is a great read if you're new to this type of growing.
You can find everything you need to set up your hydroponic drip system at Hydrobuilder. We have a wide selection of systems as well as individual components you need to keep your carrots growing healthy.
How To Start Hydroponic Carrots - Seeds vs Clones
Without a doubt, the easiest way to start hydroponic carrots is from seed. These plants germinate quickly and seeds are extremely affordable, so it makes much more sense to sow seeds when you’re starting out.
We have all the seed starting equipment you need to get started here at Hydrobuilder, too.
Perlite helps draw up moisture and oxygen while the vermiculite holds that moisture in place without allowing it to get too soggy.
Fill the container to about a foot with growing media. The material needs to be much deeper when you are growing carrots or other kinds of root vegetables to allow the roots of these plants to fully develop.
Otherwise, they will become forked and grow sideways. Sprinkle your seeds lightly on the surface of the media, then cover with ¾ of an inch of perlite or vermiculite.
You can thin your carrots later on as the seedlings appear, so don’t worry too much if they seem to be a bit close together now.
While the seeds are germinating, be sure to keep them moist but not excessively wet. Once carrot tops emerge, select the strongest seedlings and remove the rest.
Carrots usually germinate in about 5-10 days as long as they are kept at temperatures of around 85 degrees.
One other note? Whatever you do, don’t take carrots that you started outdoors to use in your hydroponic garden. Doing so can bring unwanted diseases and pests into your grow room.
How Much Light Do Hydroponic Carrots Need?
Carrots should be set up with a grow light that provides 12-16 hours of daily light.
A fluorescent light should work just fine, as carrots don’t need excessive light intensity in order to grow to their full potential.
But if you want to supercharge your harvests and grow bigger carrots, while potentially saving money on your energy bill and using a more optimized spectrum of light, we recommend LED's.
Tips & Tricks For Growing Hydroponic Carrots
Your nutrient mixture should be at a strength of 1150-1350 ppm and with a pH of 6.0-6.5.
When growing hydroponic carrots, you may need to change out the solution about once per week.
This will provide your carrots with fresh, balanced nutrients to help keep them growing strong. Although it can be difficult to space your carrot seeds out when you plant them, do make sure you take the time to thin.
Thinning out weaker plants will give stronger ones more room to grow, something that can help prevent misshapen roots.
Depending on the type of carrot you decide to grow, you will generally be able to harvest in just two or three months after sowing seeds.
How can you tell they're ready for harvest? You should be able to the see the shoulders of the carrots - these should be about 1/2" in diameter. You can also look for the greens starting to tip over, and depending on the variety, they may start turning a paler green as they become more and more ripe.
If you continuously sow seeds via staggered planting intervals, you can expect to harvest 12 months a year in such a system. Learn more about setting up a perpetual harvest in our complete guide to maximizing your garden yields!
Final Thoughts On How To Grow Hydroponic Carrots
Feel like you know everything there is to know about growing carrots hydroponically?
Great! All that’s left now is to pick up all the gear you need to create your ideal hydroponic grow room.
Here at Hydrobuilder, we have everything you need to start growing carrots hydroponically (and all other kinds of vegetables, for that matter).
Shop our large hydroponics selection for all the equipment you need - from growing media to grow lights - and you can get started today.