The hills are alive…with weeds! But we call them “wildflowers.”
The snow is finally gone at this elevation, even though plenty can still be seen on the mesa. Our pasture is coming back with a vengeance, and we spend our days walking the land, looking at what plants are coming up and trying to decide whether they’re helpful or harmful to us. Since we bought Quiet Farm at the end of a blistering summer in the midst of a hundred-year drought, pretty much everything was crispy and dormant. We hadn’t yet determined what bushes and trees might survive, and what would need to be removed. We’re giving everything a generous opportunity to stage a spring comeback before we tear it out.
In the category of “challenging plants,” we present to you Western whorled milkweed (Asclepias subverticillata). While many beneficial insects, including the Monarch butterfly, feast on milkweed, it is considered an invasive weed in Colorado and is highly toxic to livestock. If we choose to graze animals on our land, it is our responsibility to be aware of everything growing here, because it will be our problem if they get sick from eating things they shouldn’t. Unfortunately, milkweed is typically treated with horrific poisons like glyphosate and 2,4-D, which we have zero intention of ever using, so it looks like we’ll be pulling these out by hand. Please, feel free to come over and help. We’ll cook you dinner.
What grows together goes together!
I’m starting just about everything from seed this year, and learning how to manage indoor irrigation is a challenge, to say the least. I tend to want to drown my plants with love and with water, and I’m trying to back off from that inclination – and when mushrooms show up in your pepper starts it’s a pretty good indication of overwatering. Every single day is a new learning opportunity, especially when it comes to growing food!
And speaking of things appearing where you don’t want them, please observe these uninvited guests on our new wax plant (Hoya carnosa). To the naked eye these are merely tiny yellow specks, but with N’s brilliant photography skills you can see that THEY’RE ALIVE! The wax plant has been moved outside for the moment, but I’ll be making a mild insecticide from soap and warm water to hopefully eradicate the aphid problem entirely.
And finally, I’m teaching Seed Saving for Beginners this week at the Cedaredge Public Library. Please come say hello!
Have a lovely week!