Yes, you can transplant carrots!...

07 May, 2015

One of many gardening falsehoods I remember disbunking in the early days of my gardening adventures was that you cannot transplant carrots.

Carrots were one of the first things I grew from seed. I planted the seeds much too thickly, so when they all came up I realised I would need to give them some space. But it seemed such a waste to just chuck those little plants in the compost. So I unknowingly replanted them. They grew just fine. It was only later that I read you should never transplant carrots. Apparently they dont like it. I wonder if anyone asked the carrots, as the ones I was growing didn't seem to mind in the least.

Ever since then I've always replanted my carrot thinnings.

(On another note, I've also ever since always questioned the gardening 'rules'. But that is another story.)

This is my tried and tested method.

Take your overplanted carrots.

These were from an early feb sowing of carrots and radishes. Rocket self sows with gusto in this bed.

Firstly I set about pulling out all the mostly overgrown radishes, rocket and weeds. Luckily there were still some crop worthy radishes in the bunch.

This gave a nice harvest of radishes and rocket, with a whole bunch of radish greens and weeds for the chooks.

I was left with purely carrots. Look at how close those carrots are.

I then thinned the carrots to around 10cms apart, trying to leave the strongest growing carrots and pulling up the rest while disturbing the remaining carrots the least.

This gave me quite a few carrot seedlings. I find the best size for replanting is not too small and not too big. Under half a centimetre at the widest and less than 10cms long.

Carrot on left is perfect size. Others are too big, sadly.

Take your nicely thinned carrots and find a space.

I use the long bid of a broken handle-less hoi mi to poke my carrot hole in the soil, but a dibber would work just fine.

You need to create a nice deep hole for the carrot seedling to slide into, so make it at least 10cms deep, ideally a bit more.

I wiggle the hoi mi back and forth to make a hole.

Remove hoi mi, trying not to let soil fall in and fill the hole.

Get your carrot seedling and gently slide it into the hole.

Make sure the carrot goes in smoothly and the long root goes in nice and straight.

Pat down the soil around the carrot.

 Voila! Tis done. Repeat until you have no more space, or no more carrot seedlings. Water in well.

The transplanted carrots will look a bit droopy for a day or two, but will recover. I promise. 

Yay for neat plantings and not wasting a thing.


  1. Its great the way you give the chooks the weeds and greentops,
    and transplant the carrot seedlings.
    I will try this on my next carrot crop.
    I was also thinking of trying some carrot seeds in tube pots, that I would make to split open, to allow minimal root disturbance when transplanted in the ground.

    1. Cheers George. The tube pot idea sounds like it would work. Nice thinking!

  2. We transplanted garlic last year and it grew just fine. I was always under the impression you shouldn't but goes to show its always worth having a go!

    1. Nice work! Plants just want to grow, so it makes sense that transplanting, as long as they then get a little coddling to recover from the shock, isn't too much if an issue.

  3. Interesting. I've seen other bloggers try to transplant carrots and the carrots are awful twisty roots that weren't really worth it. But they always try earlier than you do.

    1. I find I do need to be careful that the root foes into the hole nice and straight. Otherwise they do no good at all.

  4. wow! I had heard that about carrots too, but yes, had anyone asked the carrots? what a great trick to learn.

    1. I hope it helps :) dysbunk the gardening myths I say!

  5. So wise to question gardening "rules" - every garden and gardener is different, after all. I think Daphne makes a good point as I've also noticed that many gardeners that try to transplant carrots end up with very odd shapes - transplanting them once the root has started to thicken seems to be the key to getting straight carrots.

  6. Thanks. Going to thin and transplant this weekend. That's awesome!!
    Canadian mom

  7. I just lost 2 sets of carrot to slugs. They grow great in my sandy soil once they get going, but the last few years they don't want to get started. I have a lovely greenhouse and will try to prestart some. I use the stick from an old mop as a dibber for leeks. That makes a nice straight hole a d should work as well for carrots. We have nothing to lose but some seeds!

  8. My carrots (Bangor and Danvers)are growing indoors under lights and are getting up to about 3-4". This is my first time growing them. It seems that I better get them outside as quickly as I can. If I harden them up, can I plant them in soil that is below the recommended 64 degrees?

    1. Sorry but I know nothing about soil temperatures as I've never measured it in my soil :) I go by the rule where if the soil is warm enough to sit comfortably on (ie not cold and wet) its warm enough to plant into