Chervil stole 40 or so hours from us this Spring and the last two as well. We give it time rather than acreage. Central Vermont is an epicenter for the invasive Wild Chervil
which has a root shaped like a carrot. It has aggressively spread along roadsides and into valuable hay land and pastures. You can see its advances this week with its white flowers getting ready to set seed.
As if that isn’t bad enough, it also serves as a host for the parsnip yellow fleck virus that infects carrots, celery, and parsnips. Thus, we take on digging it out. Imagine if it was a salable crop! Instead, into the hot compost it goes. That is expensive compost.
Other invasive species trouble us, but for some like gout weed, mowing is the more effective solution. And then there are invasive buckthorns, honeysuckles and others. Even the dandelion brought here for all its medicinal powers.
Beyond pulling weeds, we are aggressively locking up real estate in plants we want here! Andrew has been making sure crop field areas not in current veggie successions are planted in cover crops. Where he isn’t experimenting with thick hay mulch, he is using densely planted rye to hold ground ready, keeping it clean from prostrate pigweed, quackgrass and others who trouble us. Gorgeous stuff. A sacrifice to the soil gods!
And Liva has headed up our effort to select and plant out a perennial understory for the new orchard areas. Plants have been selected for properties like soil-building, harboring beneficial insects, attracting and satisfying pollinators, as well as useful herbs and cut flowers. When you shop on Thursday evenings or are here on a tour, we encourage you to walk the farm road adjacent to Loop Road and watch the area grow into the vibrant and generative polyculture which will undoubtedly make the apples, and hazelnuts as well as all of us, very happy.
It was fun to show Mrs. Morvan’s elementary school class all these pieces of farming today when they came on a field trip. Thanks for NOFA-VT for grants and a program to connect farms and schoolkids.