This is a really simple beginner garden project for kids and adults: grow carrots in jars! You can grow tiny (fairy) carrots like I did here, or larger full-size ones—indoors or outdoors. I’ll show you how it’s done.
If you’re planting carrots in a garden bed, this tip for making carrot seed tapes will help.
Grow Mini Carrots in Jars
This project started with a request for a vegetable garden project for someone without a garden or any garden pots and a young child interested in seed starting. This will work by a sunny window indoors or outdoors.
Growing fairy carrots is a good beginner project. It’s a gardening rule-breaker but can definitely help spark an interest in growing.
Normally you would not grow carrots (or anything else in a jar) because of the lack of drainage holes, but it’s a container most people have and it works for this experiment.
Plus, by growing in a clear glass jar, you get to see the carrots forming in the soil.
Normally, carrots are a vegetable that like loose sandy soil so they can grow their taproots (the part we most commonly eat) without any obstructions.
But you have probably also seen photos of carrots growing in all sorts of funny shapes, with one or more carrot wrapped around another like two little friends hugging. I’ve got a photo below of one of mine like that.
That happens due to crowding, either because the soil is heavier, on the clay side, or there is some sort of obstruction in the ground like stones or rocks, that the taproot had to grow around.
This fairy carrot project encourages that same struggle so the carrots are a bit crowded in the jar, either stunting their growth or creating funny shapes.
You can use any carrot seeds although rainbow carrots (orange, red, yellow, purple) add some wow factor.
Carrot | Daucus carota subsp. sativus
Carrot Growing Tips
Biennial plant producing taproot in first year and flowers in year two.
Carrot forms: Nantes, Danvers, Chantenay, Imperator
• Seed sowing soil temperature 45-85°F (7-30°C)
• Germination: 10-15 days
• Seeds average 60% germination rate and stay viable approximately 3 years.
• Full sun
• Soil: well-draining and fertile, consistent moisture.
• Cool weather crop
• Harvest: 2-4 months (varies by variety)
• Taproot and tops are edible
• Fun Project: grow fairy carrots in jars
Online Shop: Buy Rainbow Carrots Seeds at Botanical Interests (US Shipping)
Fairy Carrot Supplies
- Carrot seeds (any type will do) – I love rainbow carrots (see them here at Botanical Interests)
Rainbow Carrot Seeds | Botanical Interests
- Tall mason jar or food jar (1 litre / 30 ounce size)
A small flower pot with drainage holes works too, of course.
- Organic container soil made for growing vegetables
- Sunny location (inside or outside)
Sow the Seeds
- Moisten container soil so it’s damp enough to form a ball when squeezed but not dripping wet.
I put some in a bowl and gradually combine with water using my hands.
- Fill jar with moistened soil. Leave an inch at the top for watering (so it won’t overflow).
- Sow carrot seeds as directed on seed packet.
- FOR FAIRY CARROTS: sow approximately 10 seeds per jar.
- FOR REGULAR CARROTS: sow approximately 3 seeds per jar. Do your best to spread them apart – and yes, they’re tiny and hard to manage!
- Place jar in a sunny location (but not too hot or the soil will dry out).
After a week or two your seeds will start to sprout:
- At this point, if you’re growing regular-size carrots and all 3 seeds germinated (sprouted), remove 1, leaving 2 seedlings on either side of the jar.
- For fairy carrots, leave all of the seedlings to continue growing. Crowding carrots like this stunts their growth, forms funny shapes, and no matter what they are all still edible.
More Ideas for Kids
35 Playful & Practical Garden Ideas for Kids
Sow, grow, garden art & crafts, and outdoor imaginary play.
- Water soil as needed. Don’t let it dry out but don’t soak it either. There’s no drainage in the jar so you have to be careful not to over or under water.
- It’s pretty cool to watch the roots spread through the soil over time. Sometimes a carrot grows right next to the glass so you can really monitor it’s growth. That’s what we call garden geek fun.
- It varies by type of carrot but many are ready to harvest after 3 months (90 days). Check your seed packet for specifics.
You can also pick them sooner: they will just be smaller than if you waited longer.
Here’s how they look:
To give you and idea of the size, here they are next to the 3″ leaf fairy.
Wash the carrots and eat them fresh from the garden or share them with a veggie-loving pet.
But don’t be surprised if your carrots want to hug good-bye first:
- To grow tiny “fairy” carrots, sow 10 carrot seeds in a large mason jar.
Use moistened organic container soil made for veggie growing.
Grow in warm, sunny location (not hot).
Do not thin the seedlings.
Do not over-water.
Check your seed packet. Most are ready in 2-3 months.
- To grow regular size carrots, sow 3 seeds and thin to 2 when sprouted. Otherwise, same steps as listed above.
Have fun with your mini carrot growing!
The instructions for growing full-size carrots indoors are here.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛
How to Grow Tiny Fairy Carrots in Jars
- Mason jar
- Fill mason jar with potting mix.
- Sow 10 carrot seeds as directed on seed packet.
- Gently moisten potting mix enough to keep top few inches moist.
- Grow in warm, sunny location and water as needed to keep potting mix evenly moist.
- For funny carrots, do not thin seedlings: let them grow around each other.
- Harvest after number days indicated on seed packet.