Planting your own vegetable garden can be a rewarding experience and a convenient, economical way to add fresh produce to your meals. At times, however, the garden can become a source of annoyance and frustration as urban wildlife wander in and help themselves to your backyard bounty. Carrot tops are particularly susceptible to wildlife foragers. Knowing what may be nibbling at your carrot crop is the first step in the development of strategic defensive measures.
According to the World Carrot Museum, carrot greens are edible, highly nutritious and rich in protein, minerals and vitamins. Carrot tops are a good source of vitamin K and an outstanding source of chlorophyll. Carrot greens may be mixed with honey and added to mouthwashes to disinfect mouth sores and used as a diuretic to increase urine flow and guard against edema and kidney disease, according to the World Carrot Museum. Carrot greens are worth saving and using.
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Groundhogs, otherwise known as woodchucks, are herbivorous animals that breed between March and April and produce four to six offspring born a month after mating. Both adults and their offspring are plant eaters, feeding in midsummer when carrots are emerging and the greens are a ready source of food. Groundhogs can fit through 3- by 4-inch holes and may burrow beneath porches and decks to hide den entrances.
Wild rabbits enjoy dandelions, clover, vegetables such as carrots, spinach and peas and vegetable greens such as radish tops, turnip tops, beet greens and carrot tops. One 5 to 6 lb. rabbit may consume 1 1/4 cups of chopped, loosely packed greens per day. Imagine the destruction several rabbits could do to your carrot patch. Rabbits can squeeze through tinier holes than groundhogs and love to nest under garden sheds, close to a prime food source.
Deer can be difficult to keep out of a backyard garden. Deer will jump fences and barriers to feed on your garden greens -- carrot tops included. An 8-foot fence is required to keep foraging deer at bay. Animals that have been hand fed by well-meaning neighbors will be less hesitant to approach humans or feed in their gardens. If your carrot tops are smoothly cut on the diagonal, you probably have a rabbit or a groundhog problem. Deer biting carrot tops leave ragged edges behind.