But as I kept researching, I found that this wasn't a plant worth cultivating in our pasture for the sake of some greens and price of pepper.
Pull Your Winter Cress
Winter cress is one of the most noxious weed that ever infested the farm since the expulsion of our first parents from the Garden of Eden. Flourishing equally well on both dry and wet soils, and maturing and fructifying so very early in the season, even before the clover is ready to cut- being a biennial plant and almost as tenacious of life as the live-forever; getting such a firm hold in the soil in the fall that the freezing and thawing of the most severe winters does not injure it. It is more to be dreaded than the Canada thistle, or pigeon wee, or the very noxious hedge mustard.
Its seed is very difficult to separate from clover seed, timothy seed and all other kinds of grass seed; and it will vegetate where everything else would not even try to grow. The seed is a small, black, round seed, and after it has lain in the ground where it could not vegetate, for a century for aught that I know, after being turned up by the plow to the enlivening influences of vegetable life, will very soon hold undisputed sway in any field, either rich or poor soil. Canada thistles are little to be dreaded when compared to it- because if we enrich our soils as they ought to be, and bring them to as high a state of cultivation as is most profitable, Canada thistles will soon be a weed to be spoken of only as a thing that was, but is not; while the winter cress will flourish like willows by the water courses, and effectually root out all grass and grain within its reach.
By plowing it under and covering it well, it will die. But if a few stems are left uncovered between the furrows, the growth will be checked but little. If cut off with the scythe it will soon send up new shoots, which will go to seed before the crop is ready to harvest. The true way is to pull it and shake off the dirt, and then throw it in heaps. If pulled and thrown again on the ground in wet cloudy weather, the roots will often get hold again on the ground, and the plant will revive again.
Now is the time to pull it. In June, while the grass and crops are yet small, before it fructifies. If a field where it grows seems like a flower garden, let all the forces of the farm be rallied, both old and young, male and female, if it is necessary; it pulls easy, and one will be surprised to see how much can be pulled in a half day.
Should any of it escape notice until it has gone to seed, all other business should be suspended, and every stem and pod burned. It is folly to throw it in the running stream, or in the beaten track of the highway; for birds will carry it, or it will find a place to vegetate on some one's soil. Let it be kept from seeding, and it will soon give us but little trouble.
The Country Gentleman Vol. 10
So this week, you'll find some of us hand pulling each of those yellow flowered plants. I helped out this evening and really gave it my all knowing that so much bending and standing and pulling wouldn't be doing my back any favors. I fully expect that I won't be able to do much of anything for the next day or so. Thankfully we were able to work efficiently and get half of them pulled from this straight stretch in the foreground.
This photo clearly shows a distinct line where the vegetation stops and from that alone I learn that winter cress is opportunistic. That area was dug up last summer in an (unsuccessful) attempt to divert our water problems to the newly dug pond. The soil wasn't as carefully managed as it could have been and most of the topsoil wasn't reserved to be replaced on top, leaving the surface soil in sadly poor condition. It's going to take quite a bit of work to repair- if it even can be. And that work begins by removing plants such as these that will quickly take over, preventing any decent grass from thriving in its place.
I do love knowing that the homesteading education shall never be complete. There is always something new to try and something new to learn. Keeps things interesting.