Root vegetables are enjoyable to grow because you never quite know what you’re going to get—some carrots can create some pretty unique shapes as they mature!
Carrots represent almost every color of the rainbow. Also, if you let their lovely, airy, leafy tops flower, you won’t believe the display!
We’ll cover the best carrot companion plants, and explain how they work together.
5 Best Carrot Companion Plants
An explanation of why these plants grow well with carrots is below.
Working Together to Avoid Carrot Pests
Cutworms can completely destroy carrot seedlings in a single night. The thyme you plant in your carrot bed a few weeks before you plant the carrot seeds will draw damsel bugs, which eat carrot fly larvae and cutworms.
Carrot flies can severely harm your crop of carrots. They use their sense of smell to locate carrots, but you can prevent them from doing so by surrounding your carrot patch with a chive hedge.
The strong chive aroma will confuse them and turn their attention elsewhere.
Lacewing larvae ferociously devour aphids. You can entice adult lacewings to your carrot patch by planting carrots alongside cosmos.
By planting radishes a short distance apart, you can also use them as a trap crop. Then, to draw a variety of other beneficial insects to your garden, let the radishes bloom.
Carrots and lettuce grow well together and take up less room.
What You Should Avoid When Planting Carrots
When planting carrots, remember to keep some space between them and other root crops. If you were to plant them too close, they would compete with each other for phosphorous. Which will lead to poor growth. So, avoid these plants with carrots:
- Dill: It is the wrong companion plant with carrots because it could lead to a poor-tasting hybrid by cross-pollinating.
Getting Started & Planting Carrots
Carrot seeds can be sown in the fall in regions with mild winters. Carrot seeds can be sown outside three to five weeks before the last frost date in areas with colder winters.
You must plant the seeds directly into the garden soil because carrots don’t like to be transplanted.
While they can grow with as little as four hours of direct sunlight, carrots prefer full sun. They like a light, airy root run that is moist and low in nitrogen. (Carrots will twist and fork if manure or other high-nitrogen materials are added to the soil.)
Carrot seeds need to be kept moist at all times, but they are notoriously tricky to germinate. They can take some time and prefer not to be covered in soil.
One tactic you can employ is to sow the seed and then cover it with a thin piece of wood or a piece of cardboard weighted with a rock to prevent wind from carrying it away.
Once or twice a day after a few days, check on your seeds to ensure the soil is always moist. And to see if they are germinating.
Remove the wood or cardboard and let the sun in as soon as you notice that half of the seeds have germinated (they might only show a root at this point instead of leaves).
They will quickly grow if you continue to keep them moist.
Growing Carrots & Harvesting
Carrot seedlings should be thinned so that there are at least 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) between each seedling.
At ground level, remove the remaining seedlings. The thinnings taste surprisingly like carrots and can be added to salads.
Carrots will grow quickly if you keep them moist throughout the growing season.
Brush the soil off the plant’s base to reveal the carrot root’s top to determine whether a carrot is truly ready to be harvested. Then, it’s time to pull it if it appears to be the proper diameter (each variety varies slightly from the norm).
Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.