One of the most educational aspects of learning to garden is learning what the plant part of a vegetable looks like. Unless you grow your own vegetables, you may have NO idea what the leaves of a zucchini plant or a tomato plant or broccoli actually look like.
Now, ideally, you'd plant your veggies in nice neat rows, carefully labeled, so that when things DO start sprouting, you can pretty much figure it out because you have several plants all in a row that look the same. That's how I figured out what broccoli looks like, or the carrots (although carrots are pretty easy, since you can often buy them with the tops still on at the store).
But, let's say you had, oh, chickens. Chickens who, despite your best efforts, get past your barriers and into your garden.
[editor's note: well, "best efforts" is an exaggeration. It was a haphazard effort at best. Just face it, you were outsmarted by a chicken.]
Those said chickens could then scatter your poor seeds all over the place and eat up most of them. Surveying the devastation, you assume its all over; that there's nothing left to sprout. So a few weeks later, when you start to see three or four strong green plants with thick dark green leaves you think, hmm. Did I plant that? Or are they weeds?
You decide to watch it for a few more days, and soon, they look like this:
You stare at the plants for a few minutes. They are sort of haphazardly sprinkled around the raised beds. They are definitely not broccoli. Not any sort of lettuce either..and definitely not carrots.
They have to be a weed. So you give one a good yank. Boy its in there good! But you pull harder, and finally up it comes.
The potato you had shoved into the dirt optimistically several weeks ago, and forgot about. Back then it was in a nice neat row. Drat.
So you shove it back down in the dirt and hope it gives you another chance. Or at least, a couple of baby potatoes before its time to plant the tomatoes.
Assuming, that is, that the chickens don't find it first.