Consideration for all life — even Carrots!

It’s not about drawing a line

Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
5 min readApr 11, 2022
Carrots, grown and harvested by the author

I posted an article on social media about a scientists who believe that mushrooms “talk” to each other. Fascinating stuff. In response, someone made this comment to my post:

“my son and I were talking about this today… so now that plants, trees, fungi, animals, and so forth all talk to one another, what do we eat? The carrots are screaming when we pull them, the shrooms lose a huge part of their network. Cows love music. I’m really confused now.”

In response, I wrote:

I’ve been giving those subjects a lot of thought, more than I can put down in an FB comment. (I’m actually working on a book on these topics.) But, briefly, I would mention a few things:

First, there’s the fact that many vegetables and nearly all fruit can be harvested without harming the plant. In fact, many berry seeds, for example, germinate better once they’ve fermented in a digestive tract. Some plants respond positively to having their leaves picked. Any of the mints, for example, come back doubled after your pinch back their tips, which makes twice as many flowers, and hence seeds, on that stem. Such pinching back can be done multiple times per season. So there’s that — the plants that want us to eat from them.

With other greens, like Chard, Kale, Lettuce, etc., you pick the larger lower leaves as the plants grow — leaves that would eventually senesce, and stop photosynthesizing for the plant anyway. Such domestics have been bred to be picked without harming them.

As for roots, most are simply eaten and that’s the end of their lifecycle, though if you want, you can sprout and replant the tops of Carrots, Beets and a few others. Leeks you can cut off just above the soil line, and they will grow back for you to harvest again.

Another approach is to let some root veggies from each patch complete their lifecycle and go to flower and seed. That way, you are contributing to their continuation, and additionally are getting seeds to replant that are a step closer to being well-adapted (and thus, “happier”?) in your region. So that’s some “give” to balance out the “take.”