Many gardeners don’t like to see any part of the vegetable go to waste, which leads them to wonder whether certain crops, such as carrots, can be grown from the green tops that are typically discarded. How long does it take to grow carrot tops to the point where you can harvest from them?
Carrot tops can be re-grown, but you will not get carrots to re-grow from the tops. The carrot greens will be the part of the carrot that continues to grow when the carrot top is planted. It will take 2 to 3 days for the greens to start growing and between 7 to 14 days until you can harvest them.
Carrot tops can be used to re-grow the carrot plant, but what you will get from the plant is not another carrot root but other useful parts of the plant that can be used in your daily cooking. We will look at how you can put your carrot tops to use and how long it takes to get a useful crop from them.
Can Carrots Be Grown From Carrot Tops?
Carrot tops are often considered a waste product and simply tossed in the garbage once they have been cut off the carrot.
Most curious gardeners look at this waste of a perfectly good carrot top and wonder if a carrot can be re-grown from the normally discarded top.
Carrot tops can be re-planted, but you may not get the kind of harvest that you would expect from re-growing the carrot tops.
Many gardeners expect to get a carrot root out of re-growing carrot tops, but this will not happen. When the carrot top is cut off the carrot, the growth point of the root is cut off, and the root will not re-grow.
The root of the carrot, the part we typically eat, is the main tap root of the plant. The tip of the carrot is the growth point of the root, and when this is cut off, the remaining root on the carrot top no longer has a growth point to grow another tap root.
Even though carrot roots cannot be re-grown from carrot tops, growing carrot tops is still worthwhile for the greens.
The carrot greens will grow well from the carrot tops and are useful and tasty to add to salads as fresh green, used to make pesto, and used as a garnish for grilled or roasted meat. The carrot greens can also be added to soups or sauteed as part of a stir-fry meal.
The carrot greens have an earthy carrot flavor which adds a pleasant taste that goes well with many dishes.
How Long To Grow Carrots From Carrot Tops?
Carrot tops can be planted to re-grow the leafy greens, which can provide an unusual and tasty ingredient to your fresh salads or cooked meals.
The carrot greens do not take as long to grow as the carrot root, which means you can get a harvest of carrot top greens fairly quickly from these scraps.
How long does it take to get a harvest of carrot top greens after planting the carrot tops? It will take a few days, typically between 2 and 3 days, before you will notice new green growth on the carrot tops.
At this time, fine hair roots will be growing on the remaining root to feed the growing leaves above ground, but a new tap root will not grow under the soil.
From the time you see the new green leaves begin to emerge at the top of the carrot, it can take a further 7 to 14 days for the leaves to grow to the size that they can be harvested to use in your kitchen.
You can wait until the green leafy growth gets as tall as you like before you harvest them for use. If you do not cut the leaves too short, the cut leaves will re-grow, allowing you to harvest the greens multiple times from the same plant.
If you leave the carrot tops to grow, they will eventually flower and produce beautiful delicate lacy white flowers.
How Big Do Carrots Get When Grown From Carrot Tops?
As we have already discovered, the carrot root will not re-grow from the carrot top, but the leafy greens will continue to grow on the carrot top.
The carrot tops do not grow very tall, especially if you trim them off regularly to harvest the greens for your cooking.
If left to grow, the carrot tops will reach a height of about 12-inches or 30cm before they begin to flower.
This means that you can grow many carrot tops in a small space, which looks spectacular, provides you with many greens to harvest and helps to support the greens as they grow and keep them from falling over.
How To Grow Carrots From Carrot Tops
Growing carrot tops is an easy activity, and there are several methods you can use, depending on your available space and the volume of greens you want to grow.
We will start with the most basic method for growing one or two carrot tops and move on to the more complex methods.
Basic Method For Growing Carrot Tops
The most basic method for growing carrot tops is the method typically used by school children for their science and biology projects.
For this method, you must leave about 1-inch or 2.5cm of the carrot root attached to the carrot top. The other materials needed are basic and can be found in most households.
You will need the following items.
- 1 Glass jar per carrot top
- 3 Toothpicks per carrot top
- Some dark paper (optional)
- Tape (optional)
Press 3 toothpicks into the top part of the carrot top so that the lower part of the carrot will protrude below the top edge of the glass jar.
Arrange the toothpicks in a triangular configuration to provide 3 contact points on the edge of the jar. The mouth of the glass jar must be wide enough to allow the carrot top with the attached toothpicks to rest easily on the rim of the jar without falling inside the jar.
Balance the carrot top on the rim of the jar and fill the jar with water. The water must be high enough to cover the bottom of the carrot root.
An optional task is to cover the outside of the jar with dark-colored paper and tape it in place. This limits the light accessing the water in the jar and prevents the development of unsightly algae in the water.
Position the jar in a warm location where it will receive a good amount of light, but not direct sunlight. A window sill that does not receive a lot of direct sunlight is a good location.
After a few days, you will notice the green leaves begin growing on the carrot top. Monitor the water level in the jar and always keep the water in contact with the bottom of the carrot.
The Marble Method For Growing Carrot Tops
The second method for growing carrot tops uses a similar principle to the jar method but can be used to grow multiple carrot tops in the same container.
A shallow, square container is the best growing tray for this method. In addition to the growing tray, you need enough marbles to create a single layer at the bottom of the dish or grow tray.
The carrot can be cut shorter, about a ¼ inch or 0.5cm from the carrot top for this method. You can place as many carrot tops as you can fit in the container, placing them directly against each other, or you can spread them out a little if you have more space than carrot tops.
Place the marbles in the bottom of the tray and position the carrot tops on top of the marbles. Fill the tray or dish with enough water to cover the marbles and the bottom part of the carrots.
Place the tray in a warm location where it receives plenty of non-direct sunlight. Once the hair roots have begun to grow on the carrot root and the leaves have begun to sprout, you can transplant the carrots to the soil.
You can also leave them to grow in the container and keep topping up the water to maintain the level above the marbles.
Growing Carrot Tops In Soil
Carrot tops can also be grown directly in the soil, either out in your garden or in a container, which can be positioned indoors or outdoors.
The carrot should be cut, leaving about an inch or 2.5cm of the carrot on the carrot top. This will leave enough carrot root to support the carrot top as it grows.
The carrots can be rooted using either of the previous growing methods and once the roots have begun to develop, the carrots can be transplanted to the ground or a container with potting soil.
You can also plant the carrot tops directly in the soil, allow the roots to develop in the growing medium, and skip the other methods as a rooting step.
Plant the carrot tops in the soil about an inch or 2.5cm apart to prevent overcrowding and fungal disease on the leaves.
Bury the carrot tops in the soil or potting soil till only the shoulder of the carrot is protruding above the soil.
Keep the soil moist to prevent the carrot from drying out, but do not overwater either. Overwatering will cause the remaining carrot root below the surface to rot, and the carrot plant will die.
The planted carrot tops should be in a warm location and can receive some direct sun for a portion of the day. Direct sun all day will cause the carrots to dry out and die since they no longer have the resources of the tap root to supply moisture.
Planting in the ground or a container is ideal if you want to grow larger quantities of carrot greens or if you have the available space.
The time taken to grow carrot top greens from carrot tops will be about the same, whether the carrot tops are grown directly in water or in soil.
Growing carrot roots from carrot tops is impossible since the root’s growth point has been cut off. It is, however, possible to grow edible carrot greens from carrot tops.
It will take about 7 to 14 days to grow usable carrot greens from the carrot tops, and you can harvest greens multiple times from the plants.
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