Last year when we planned our garden, Miley told me she really wanted to try to grow carrots. I have tried growing them, without luck, once a long time ago and I don’t know why, but I never tried growing them again. So when Miley asked to grow carrots, I said, “Sure, why not!” Along with carrots, we also decided to grow radishes, spinach and lettuce.
I bought several bags each of compost and top soil, hoping that if we made a thick heaped row of it we wouldn’t have so many weeds. She and I worked hard dumping the dirt and forming it into a nice heaped up row. Then we planted our seeds and watered them in. The next day we went out to the garden and discovered our nicely mounded up row leveled and scattered everywhere. The chickens had gotten into the garden and totally ruined the whole thing. Miley was upset and I… well let’s just say those chickens were lucky they could out run me otherwise we would have had lots of chicken stew to eat… and I don’t butcher chickens… but that day I sure would have!
Yeah, that’s when we realized the pallet fence we built around the garden wasn’t chicken proof. We also discovered they had an amazing talent to squeeze through small spaces, especially if they had good motivation. So we went along the fence and patched all the places we thought a chicken might be able to squeeze through. Then we went back over it and patched even smaller areas just to make sure they couldn’t get through anywhere. We bought more seed, raked the dirt back up into a mounded row and planted seeds once more. A week or so later, the seeds sprouted and it all looked great.
Shortly after that, I went out one day to water and found the row flattened AGAIN… with dirt flying and chickens just happily scratching and pecking. And AGAIN, let’s just say they were lucky they could out run me. This time they had figured out how to go over the fence. I had suspected they could possibly do that when we put the fence up, but I was hoping they wouldn’t figure it out. To prevent them from doing that again, I got a narrow roll of chicken wire and ran it around the top of the fence. The garden was finally chicken proof.
After all that, and because it was starting to become late in the planting season, I decided to give up on replanting it all. Miley was very disappointed but I promised her we’d for sure try again next spring. I mounded up the dirt AGAIN but this time I covered it with a thick layer of straw to keep the weeds down. I ended up planting honeydew and cantaloupe plants in that spot, which did well and grew until the end of the season.
This year, when I was cleaning up the garden on that warm weekend we had a few weeks back, I found a neat surprise…
A carrot! It had been growing at the edge of the garden bed under a thick layer of mulch. I have to wonder how many times I pulled the greens off thinking it was a stubborn weed. Luckily it grew anyway! I took it in the house and showed Miley. She was surprised and happy to have a carrot from the garden…
We sliced it up and had it with supper. Crunchy and delicious, fresh from the garden in the middle of winter… it was definitely a fun surprise.