I didn’t harvest half of last year’s carrots. It was probably a combination of going on a special trip in the fall for our 30th anniversary and interplanting the carrots too closely under the tomatoes. The trip just cut into the gardening activity in general. The interplanting of the carrots too closely with the tomatoes left the carrots looking a bit on the small side. Thus, harvesting them became a low priority.
By this spring, having been out from under the tomatoes for several months in our initially mild early winter, they grew a lot. Unfortunately, I didn’t really notice this until it was too late. When I looked at them in March, they were hairy and cracked. And it looked like some white larva had made their homes in them. I had no immediate plans for the raised bed and I felt guilty about the lack of harvest, so I just let them grow.
Finally, the time came to deal with it. For while, every time I looked at a carrot I had dug, I would examine it. I found two that looked passable, but people said they didn’t taste so good. I decided to bite the bullet and give the chickens a treat.
In the 14 or so years that we have had chickens, we have always given them garden and kitchen scraps. The chickens think it is candy. The older chickens may scurry away from me almost any other time (they have never quite emotionally recovered from the multiple fox and hawk attacks), but when I show up with fresh vegetables from the garden, I am their best friend. The oldest hen among them sets the example and gets right to work on the veggie buffet.
My 2 month old chickens got some, too. They still think I’m their mother, so when I showed up to check on their progress with the carrots, they all ran to the fence to say hello. Okay, to say “what do you have to eat now?” I’m sure they smiled. Either way, you can see in the photo below how even they were able to clean up the carrots and eat the greens in a matter of a couple of hours.
Now, I feel better about the loss of the carrots. The root part of the carrot is not their favorite part, but that will get pecked at or scratched into the soil over time. I shouldn’t be getting orange yolks in my eggs. 🙂