Its the Spring Equinox here and everywhere across our planet. The light is finally balanced with dark and our preparations for planting are well under way.
We start all of our herbaceous and some of our perennials inside under lights, to get them well ahead of the growing game. We began back in late February germinating seeds on heat mats and now have graduated with HPS, fluorescent, and metal halide lights. it is a game of long patience and contained excitement this time of year, while we wait for enough warmth and sun to start using our greenhouse. its hard to believe what we have on this lighted bench is enough for acres of plantings
This year we have several new characters in the mix with the old stalwart herbs of years past. Black Cohosh, Dong quai, Bai Zhu, are a few of the new ones. This year we are growing over 50 species of plants by seed and will be propagating many more by root division and cutting. Its is an exciting time of year and we are ready after a very warm winter and lack luster snow fall to get planting outside, but we have a few more weeks regardless. So in that time we will keep pricking our plants into larger cells as they grow new leaf sets and show their true forms.
Look for more on our new nursery offerings and a plant list later this week.
Just coming out of a cold snap on valentines day weekend, we now have a warm up occurring and we are getting our taps in at Eleven Acre Farm. The weather in the Champlain valley of vermont this year has been hallmarked by the up and down frenzy of El Nino vs Jet Stream vs climate change extremes. This week has been no different.
After a cold scuttle up to the border, in Newport, VT and then a rain and icy trip to Concord NH by my compatriot Kirk Jones, we now have 150+ in good condition stamped aluminum buckets, taps, and lids which will be the main stay of our Sap collection system for 2016. All new taps and some necessary lids to keep debris out and we are all set to go.
Our main crop this year will be Maple Sap and Maple Sap tea, for market at coops, general stores, and farmers markets around the northeast United States. We will also be making Maple syrup and other good Wild Branch Foods mushrooms extracts and herbal infusions.
Tomorrow the temps will go into the 40’s and rain will happen and likely we will see a run. We will be ready. And so the sap shall flow.
Here’s to year round Quality Maple sap to keep us healthy. And a long season to boot.
Happy Equinox and the Earths day of balance between day and night! Fall has just begun here in Vt by date and cooler weather after six weeks of incredible weather!
We are enjoying a bountiful harvest of apples and more this year. Its been a bumper crop year of apples and other fruits here in Vermont and we are hard at work trying to gather and process all of that precious medicine into foods, dried, extracted and more.
Working with Wild Branch Foods, we will release a new cider jelly this year based on our abundance of the good tart and sweet!
we are also getting the roots and bodies of plants out of the ground as well! We recently harvested Ashwagandha and Solomons seal with a Johnson State College herbal class that came for the day of harvest and medicine making.
Well after an intense spring of heat and then cold and then heat again, we have finally made it to June.
This year we took thousands of cuttings of Elderberry(Sambucus canadensis) and after the past few months we now have rooted plants. We also have thousands of root division plants for sale too.
This Elderberry is of Vermont Heritage and the two cultivars are named Coomer and Barry Hill. Coomer has an upright habit, while Barry Hill has a spreading one. They were developed by Lewis Hill in Greensboro, VT and have been the backbone of our elderberry harvests for eight years now. These plants raise great big berries that all like to flower and berry at about the same time. This makes harvesting easy, and bountiful and easy to beat the birds for getting them.
Elderberry is very hardy, easy to care for and provides between 8-12k pounds of berries per acre which is an amazing yield making it a choice crop for wines, syrups, jams, and dried berries. It takes about 600-700 plants to fill an acre. We at Eleven Acre Farm, currently sell our berries to distilleries, herbalists, and homesteaders, as well as Wild Branch Foods. which makes a delicious healthy medicinal syrup with it.
We are currently selling Elderberry plants at the farm in Charlotte, VT. Sale to be announced soon!
Ground nuts, also called Hopniss( from Lenai Lenape), and the binomial name -Apios americana are a tasty tuber that grow along the edge of creeks and rivers throughout the United States. It grows as an analog with Sunchoke (Helianthos tuberosum) and is a vining plant trailing up the stem of the perennial sunflower friend.
Ground nuts were used extensively by Native Americans as a food source in spring and fall, though they can be harvested and eaten any time of year. Hopniss also is in the bean family and makes an edible bean which can be cooked adding one more reaons to consider this great plant in your garden.
The flavor of Hopniss is drier and sweeter than potato =, kind of beany in some ways, and usually takes about 30 or so minutes to cook when boiling. You can eat the skins as well for their nourishment, but larger older tubers tend to need peeling to get way the dirt recesses and to give an even flavor.
Hopniss can also be dried into a flour for making breads and thickening soups and such.
This great food is available at Eleven Acre Farm for $15 pound all spring. We also have potted plants available for sale in our nursery.
Spring is finally here after a very, very long winter. the snow is still on the ground and it looks to be a late season. The nursery is waking up and the gardens are popping out of the snow. Soon we will be planting out the greenhouse and getting the elderberry potted up for sale.
This week we moved 200 Elderberry Plants to Greensboro for the owner of Caledonia Spirits, Todd Hardie.
These are the parent plants, Barry Hill and Coomer varieties developed by Lewis Hill, and the roots/cuttings we took for our nursery that we will be offering this spring and in future years.
It was a great journey returning the plants to the same road where Lewis Hill had originally developed many years before. We are honored to bring these plants to you and to keep the heritage of this great plant and lewis Hill’s work alive and thriving.