Sunday, September 4, 2011

Growing Carrots in Kihei

A Winter Carrot Harvest

Carrots are a cool season crop. They'll grow under row covers in the snow and the cooler weather increases their sugar content.

In Kihei, it's best to plant carrot seeds after the night time temps begin to drop in October and they can be planted through December. Germination tends to be low due to our warm climate and they take a while to get growing. Carrots need 3 to 4 months to reach maturity but they can be pulled earlier as baby carrots.

I grow carrots in 15 x 15 x 15 inch plastic containers filled up to 2 to 3 inches from the rim with a natural or organic potting soil. Then amend the soil with green sand, azomite and an organic all-purpose fertilizer. Because of low germination, I plant multiple seeds in a 5 row grid and then thin to the strongest seedling. Carrots usually need daily water and an application of an organic or natural all-purpose fertilizer once a month or fish emulsion twice per month. Grown in containers, the carrots have had no bug problems.

As the carrots grow longer it's important to make sure the water is reaching the deeper soil in the container. Dry soil can cause the carrots to become deformed.

Dragon Purple

So far, Dragon Purple has been the earliest and most heat tolerant of all the varieties I've grown. They're a beautiful fuscia on the outside and orange inside.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Gourmet Seed have large selection of heirloom and open pollinated carrot seeds. Dragon Purple seeds are available from Bountiful Gardens and Seed Savers.

Maple Mustard and Tahini Glazed Carrots
Raw Carrot and Orange Cake
Pickled Carrots
Carrot Coconut Soup


  1. Here in Tampa FL (zone 9) I have had fantastic luck with carrots every year! In fact they are on of my favorite winter things to grow.. this year im planting more then I ever have : )

  2. Hi Jane,

    I've tried planting carrots in my raised beds in Pukalani with poor results. I've experienced the really low germination rates too---sometimes less than 10 percent. I'll have to try planting them in containers and see if my luck is any better.

    I like a good stir fry, and I would love it if I could find a way to grow my own carrots.

    Thanks for the update! By reading through your posts on pests and diseases, I think I've been able to identify a couple of problems that have been a problem in my family's garden in Pukalani including the pickleworms that love our cucumber vines. I've also found the UH publications useful too:

    I can't wait for December when I'll be able to escape Chicago for a couple of weeks and do some gardening.


  3. Hi Brittany! I bet your carrots and radishes are really sweet as you get colder winter temps than we do. That's great that you have room in your garden to plant lots of carrots this fall!

    Hi Chicago Transplant! I'm surprised your carrot germination is low in Pukalani too. I figured the low germination was due to the warm fall/winter weather we have in Kihei.

    Oh those pickleworms are so miserable. They'll finally start to go away at the end of this month. Covering the cucurbits with paper/fabric bags really does help but sometimes they do crawl down the stem and into the bag. Mahalo for the link!

  4. Carrots have been very hit and miss for me Jane. I tried transplanting as a way to get past the erratic germination but the carrots grew a little wonky. And they have to absolutely sprint to maturity or the root knot nematodes get them. Not that i've stoppped trying ; ) The seeds you shared with me still have a pretty good germination rate, thanks again for that.

  5. Hi Julie! Oh that's terrible about the nematodes. I haven't had any problems in the containers but my neighbor had problems with nematodes in her raised beds. Unfortunately I've yet to grow any sweet carrots in Kihei. I'm glad the seeds I sent you are still germinating! I'll send you an email when I find out more about grinding mesquite beans into flour.

  6. here we plant carrots in winter and also in spring. Ididn't know that cool climes makes then sweeter. Im gonna pay attention next time.
    I love the dragon carrots! I imaging a pie with those :)


  7. Hi Carola! Wow a pie or even carrot cake with dragon purple carrots sounds yummy! They're my favorite of all the carrots I've grown.