About Joanna

Joanna manages many behind-the-scenes aspects of work on the farm, taking primary responsibility for vegetables & other cultivated plants; she selects varieties, develops and implements the planting plan, monitors and identifies problems, and saves seed. She also takes charge of recordkeeping, database management, scheduling, technical aspects of web development, and accounting. A geologist by training, Joanna enjoys landscape exploration in various forms, including hiking, canoeing, and nature observation, especially bird watching. She also enjoys cooking and eating really good food.

Virginia Bluebells


An especially showy spring wildflower that occurs in the woods along the stream at Chert Hollow.

Cut-leaved Toothwort


A spring wildflower that occurs in the woods at Chert Hollow.


The seedpods are similar in shape to other brassica-family plants, such as collards that we routinely save seed from.

Dutchman’s Breeches


An early spring wildflower that is moderately common in the woods at Chert Hollow.




Occurs in patches in the woods at Chert Hollow, especially in relatively moist areas. We’ve seen leaves coming up as early as late March. Although the ripe fruit is reportedly edible, various critters always eat them before we do.



A pretty wildflower of early spring. Bloom time ranges from approximately late March to mid-April, depending on weather and soil temperature. Occurs in patches in the wooded stream bottoms at Chert Hollow.

Flowering Dogwood



We have just a few Flowering Dogwood trees scattered through the Chert Hollow woods, and spring of 2015 was the first time we’ve seen them bloom meaningfully. In fact, we found a couple specimens that we were not previously aware of.

Box Elder


A tree with opposite compound leaves. The three leaflets superficially resemble poison ivy.

Eastern Red Cedar

Cedars are a native invasive: a native species that can rapidly overtake an open patch of ground and form a dense monoculture. They did this here after prior attempts at farming were abandoned in the mid-1900s. We’ve spent many winters removing cedars to replant more diversity. Fortunately, we’ve found uses for essentially all parts of a cedar tree.

bio_cedar_berriesCedar berries on a female tree.

Male cedar tree releasing pollen in spring.


Putty Root


Putty Root is a type of orchid that is fairly common in the rich soil of our wooded stream bottoms. Unlike most plants that send out leaves in spring and are done with them in the fall, Putty Root sends up its leaves in the fall, and they remain until about the time the plants flower in the spring (May or June, usually when we’re too busy to take a walk in the woods and look for orchid flowers). In November 2014, we found some stalks with seedpods in an especially vigorous group of plants. Opening up a seedpod provides a view of the prolific quantity of tiny seeds.