Goings On

Volunteer (Plants)

Anyone who knows me will you tell you I hate surprises. I’m a planner by nature, so finding mid-veggie lasagna prep that I’m out of fresh basil can -and will- result in a blind panic. I have so much admiration for farmers in this respect. They work in harmony with a never-ending supply of uncontrollable variables. One of the more whimsical surprises is called a volunteer plant. A volunteer is simply a plant (not a weed), growing somewhere it was not deliberately placed. They can be transported as seeds by animals, insects, incomplete compost, and children snacking outside. I’m fairly sure I know which of those resulted in the sungold cherry tomatoes that sprung up near my back door! A volunteer is a sign of fertile soil and safe harbor. These little surprises have chosen their place to thrive. We’ve found several at the farm stand and around the barns, a cheeky echo of our past activity nestled in friendly surroundings. Eat outdoors. Feed the birds. Look carefully when you’re weeding your flowerbeds in the spring, you’ll see what traces of this year might be sprouting.

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Willowsford Conservancy

41025 Willowsford Lane, Aldie, VA 20105

Phone: 571-440-2400


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Willowsford Farm Stand

23595 Founders Drive, Ashburn, VA 20148

Phone: 571-297-6900


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