Saturday, May 12, 2012

a day for the garden

There are big plans for the garden this year, starting with the small row of raised beds I have along the horse fence by the house. A small kitchen garden, but a happy place already full of new lettuce, kale, pea shoots, and garlic. Today I'll plant a heap of stuff I picked up as six-packs from the Stannard Farm greenhouse a half mile down the road on route 22. I also decided to turn the south side of the house into two herb gardens. There is already a beautiful sage bush I inherited with the house and a bit of hoe work, anti-poultry fencing, and some topsoil is all I need make that dream come true. As important as it is to feed yourself, it is also important to know how to heal yourself.

I want to grow herbs for stress-relief, sore muscles, colds and flu. I'm not anti-modern medicine by any means but there is wisdom to the folk remedies. Most common illnesses can be cured with the right care of the body and help with rest, meditation, herbs and positive thinking. That's my experience at least. This year the plan is to grow things for teas and tinctures. I would like to start an echinacea patch and various mints, chamomile, rose hips for vitamin C.

Do any of you grow medicinal or tea gardens and herbs?

spoon garden markers from this etsy shop!

45 Comments:

Blogger Michelle said...

If you plant mint, put it in a container. It tends to run rampant in the garden and will end up in places you don't want it too!

I use half wine barrels for my herb garden - works amazingly well!

May 12, 2012 at 9:53 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

I was going to dig up the whole area in front of my house next to the walk (essentially my "front yard") and fully landscape it with herbs and perennials. That was my big plan for this spring. I decided to grow a human instead, so maybe next year. But yeah, that's a big gardening goal for me. It will have a couple of small trees, culinary, tea, and medicinal herbs, and a few perennial vegetables.

May 12, 2012 at 10:05 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

I was going to dig up the whole area in front of my house next to the walk (essentially my "front yard") and fully landscape it with herbs and perennials. That was my big plan for this spring. I decided to grow a human instead, so maybe next year. But yeah, that's a big gardening goal for me. It will have a couple of small trees, culinary, tea, and medicinal herbs, and a few perennial vegetables.

May 12, 2012 at 10:05 AM  
Blogger MaryContrary said...

I grow stevia, sweet mint, peppermint, orange mint, lemon balm and lemon verbena for tea. Also sage, marjoram, oregano, basil and rosemary for cooking. Lavender simply because it smells so heavenly.

May 12, 2012 at 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always grow sage and rosemary, the gotta haves. These 2 are good for chicken dishes, thanksgiving, & make a tea (add bay leaf) for colds and sore throat. Also basil, thyme, oregano, cilantro. I can usually get them for a buck at the flea mkt, but they are never ready early in the season, so I usually shell out 3.50 at Wallyworld for the sage and rosemary. Also, I have read that having these herbs mixed in with the veg helps with the pests. We have a varied garden, maybe not huge amounts of things but a varity. We grow arugula, mesculn,red and oak leaf lettuce. You get about4-5 weeks of the most amazing salads. But it is HARD to stomach store bought after homegrown. This year the garden is more southern style with limas okra, and sweet potatoes added to the usual stuff. Folks if you want to try lettuce grow th mesculun. It has a mix of seeds in it and looks like the field green mix from the store. Beth in Ky.

May 12, 2012 at 10:07 AM  
Blogger Dahlia ChanTang said...

Thyme and oregano have strong anti-viral properties, and are great for cooking and teas, especially when you have a cold or the flu looming.

Mint and horehound are good for sore throats and chest congestions; peppermint is especially good for digestive discomfort. All of these can be steeped in alcohol to make a sore muscle rub.

Lemon balm apparently keeps the skeeters at bay, but it is even better as a stress-relieving tea, especially when combined with mint and chamomile. Just beware that mint and lemon balm are invasive and self-sow profusely.

Lavender also has relaxing and anti-bacterial properties, and it is a lovely honey plant to boot.

But you know Jenna, the best part about a herb garden is that, even if you only planted 'cooking' herbs, your health would still reap the benefits!

May 12, 2012 at 10:10 AM  
Blogger Kelsie said...

I have a large, circular medicinal herb bed that has been established for almost four years now. Something to note is that while some herbs will be harvestable in the first year (those from which leaves and flowers are used), some take several years to become established to the point that their roots can be harvested for medicine. My garden has lavender, sage, yarrow, comfrey, feverfew, lemon balm, hyssop, elecampane (elfwort), wormwood, mugwort, pennyroyal, mint, calendula, avens, skullcap, catnip, california poppy, and others I'm sure I'm forgetting. The great thing about medicinal herbs is that, like their cultivators, they're very self-sufficient. I hardly even ever water my herb garden, even the height of summer, and it does fantastically. Year after year, all of the plants come back and grow ever larger. Once I have my place in the country, I plan on tripling the size and scope of my garden, with a focus on endangered medicinals.

Enjoy plating your herbs! :)

May 12, 2012 at 10:16 AM  
OpenID domesteading said...

Calendula! It's a beautiful, cheery flowering plant, quite hardy, and has many uses. Google will tell you more about it, but my mom used to make a salve with it that was amazing on cuts, scratches, rashes, bug bites, and other types of inflammation. Apparently tinctures can be used for sore throats and reducing fever and other internal uses though. I have 6 plants in my own herb garden and right now I'm just enjoying their happy faces. When the spring rush is over and I have some free time again I plan to start harvesting them for medicines.

May 12, 2012 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth from the Berkshires said...

I started my medicinal herb garden last year. Coming back on their own this year--comfrey, valerian (HUGE this year, even though it kept getting eaten/dug up last year by neighborhood cats), hyssop, yarrow, elderberry, lemon balm, peppermint, bee balm... and of course the dandelions. :) I didn't plant those, they showed up all by themselves. Echinacea, calendula, sage, rosemary, thyme all started from seed, to be transplanted sometime soon. There are others popping up here and there, but those are the ones I remember. I can't wait to be able to create my salves and tinctures entirely from my own garden.
I would recommend a food dehydrator like Excalibur... around here you just can't count on summer weather being dry enough to dry your herbs unassisted, I've found.

May 12, 2012 at 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Pooh Overalls said...

I am really wanting to learn! I have a tree that I wanted to plant some tall, colorful & fragrant flowers around and then it finally hit me....lavender! I'm thinking about learning soap-making, too! I have big plans for a little farm but, like you, I'm a one woman show. It will all happen in time but until then I just keep "growing" in the right direction.

May 12, 2012 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger Goat Song said...

I love using herbs! :) I've been using them for about 7 years now, and am working on becoming a certified herbalist this year. It's long, slow work, but I am so excited at the possibility of finally being certified!!

May 12, 2012 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

My other always grew aloe inside. It was always fun to run and snip off a gooey little piece when someone burned themselves. It was almost worth it :).

May 12, 2012 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger Gelfling said...

I am a trained herbalist, and have been slowly building our herb garden over the past two years since we bought our little homestead. Today we are adding Stinging Nettles to the mix. Apart from the itchy burning rash they give you if you handle them while fresh, they are an incredibly delicious and nutritious weed, useful both dried for teas and fresh, steamed and eaten like spinach. A great tonic herb with tons of minerals. We're planting them on a little peninsula of land between our pond and stream where they can grow without spreading into common walkways and stinging folks passing by :)

May 12, 2012 at 11:20 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

I'm growing echinacea, chamomile, calendula (my absolute favorite herb), nasturtium, borage, St. John's Wort, mullein, mint, rosemary, oregano, and basil. I absolutely love growing herbs and figuring out what I can make out of them. I've made some skin salves, a body lotion (both recipes from "Making It: Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World"), shaving oil, soap, aftershave for my man, and tinctures.

I'm currently reading Rosemary Gladstar's new book that just came out: "Medicinal Herbs, A Beginner's Guide." I'm sure you've read/seen her other book "Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health." You can't go wrong with any of her stuff. "The Green Pharmacy" is also a good resource.

May 12, 2012 at 11:36 AM  
Blogger Deb Naydan said...

It is exciting to read about your herb garden plans. Perhaps you will be holding herb classes at CAF before too long? A day doesn't go by that I don't use herbs in one form or other, they are a great gift that I am so thankful for. I've grown herbs, but now mostly buy them in bulk from my local health food store or on line. I use tea, tinctures and essential oils. Love herbs. Looking forward to reading more about your expereinces and discoveries with herbs.

May 12, 2012 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Propolis (anti-fungal, anti-bacterial))for tinctures, burdock and dandelions (liver tonic) for roots and leaves, feverfew for headaches, motherwort, mullein, raspberry leaves and lavender. I'm trying to get a hold of some comfrey seeds too. Grow some cayenne for muscle pain!

May 12, 2012 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger Amanda Claire said...

So true about the mint but you'll want to watch out for the comfrey as well. It's a good one for poultices and bone healing but grows like a weed when it's happy. You may also want to consider bee balm-it's attractive, comes back every year, gives height and interest to the garden, and is good for tea not to mention the bees.
Also, if you get impatient with their progress just remember the saying about perennials (which a lot of herbs happen to be): the first year they sleep, the second they creep, and the third they leap! So be patient and you'll find that you become rather attached to the little guys. :)

May 12, 2012 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Yes!
I like your choices. I would add peppermint to it, in a pot, as the mint family can be invasive. Also, calendula and comfrey - both are great in a salve both for you and the animals. Goats love to eat comfrey, and it's good for them.

May 12, 2012 at 1:06 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

I've got sage (which is great for drying up runny mucous membranes), echinacea, spearmint, peppermint, lavender, roses (rosewater is a wonderful mild astringent) and rosemary. I really like making a tea out of sage, rosemary and peppermint

May 12, 2012 at 1:17 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

I've got sage (which is great for drying up runny mucous membranes), echinacea, spearmint, peppermint, lavender, roses (rosewater is a wonderful mild astringent) and rosemary. I really like making a tea out of sage, rosemary and peppermint

May 12, 2012 at 1:17 PM  
Blogger CheshyrCat said...

I grow tea herbs almost every year. If medicinally useful is what you're going for, I'd recommend growing licorice as an easy, always useful starter. It's great for sinuses. I despise it as a tea (but love black jellybeans), but I drink it every time I have a cold or sinus infection; I presume I'm a masochist. I have a three-month old at the moment, too, who gets a spoonful of fennel tea every night to help with her digestion. She's been doing a lot better since I gave up on simethicone drops and switched to the fennel tea. It works for grownups, too. And cooking. Fennel chicken, nom.

May 12, 2012 at 1:32 PM  
Blogger CheshyrCat said...

I grow tea herbs almost every year. If medicinally useful is what you're going for, I'd recommend growing licorice as an easy, always useful starter. It's great for sinuses. I despise it as a tea (but love black jellybeans), but I drink it every time I have a cold or sinus infection; I presume I'm a masochist. I have a three-month old at the moment, too, who gets a spoonful of fennel tea every night to help with her digestion. She's been doing a lot better since I gave up on simethicone drops and switched to the fennel tea. It works for grownups, too. And cooking. Fennel chicken, nom.

May 12, 2012 at 1:35 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Jenna, you should get some of Rosemary Gladstar's books from Storey! They are so good!

May 12, 2012 at 1:45 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

Modern medicine has it's place, but I don't go there unless I'm nearly dead. In the past four years I've rarely stepped foot in the doctors office, and haven't taken any antibiotics. I use herbs for everything, I especially love oil of oregano, I put it in my tea every day.

Now that our kitchen garden is in I'm turning my attention to learning to grow my own herbs. So far I've got basil and parsley already started and growing on our deck. Now I need to get the rosemary, lavendar, toothache plant, and lemon balm going. I'd also like to add some mint, stevia, and borage if I can find some. I'm hoping to learn more about the healing power of herbs, and continue to add new ones to my garden every year.

May 12, 2012 at 3:04 PM  
Blogger KiwiGirl said...

We always had fresh herbs in our food growing up - maybe that's why we didn't get sick very much. I've a large herb plot in our garden with a variety of herbs in it. Rosemary, oregano, majoram, echinacea, hyssop (anise and regular) chives (garlic and regular) ladys mantle, various thymes (pizza thyme is my pick for cooking with), purple sage, bergamot and a bay tree.

May 12, 2012 at 4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

watch your mints they will overtake everything else.

May 12, 2012 at 4:27 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

I am so loving my herb garden this year! So far I have over 30 different herbs and working on getting more. I always have the cooking herbs but this year I added medicinal herbs and am having fun learning their uses and how to make salves, tinctures,balms, teas.

May 12, 2012 at 5:20 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

Yes. I have been growing herbs for years. We have pots of herbs and an herb spiral (This is our spiral last year: http://www.flickr.com/photos/themissiah/5684723098/ - now it's overflowing. It's about 3 years old.) But you know, many of the most medicinal herbs/plants are wild. I've made tinctures and salves for years. We have common herbs, such as lavender, rosemary, bee balm, and anise hyssop... among others... but I also wildcraft as well. Plantain, nettles, and dandelion are extremely useful. Go to Susun Weed's site and look around a bit. She is an amazing woman and there is a ton of great information and tutorials on salves, syrups, tinctures, etc.

http://www.susunweed.com/

May 12, 2012 at 5:31 PM  
Blogger Alexandra said...

We have echinacea and mint growing in the yard that I use for tea and tincture.

Mostly I enjoy using wild medicinals such as nettles, dandelion, yarrow, etc.

I imagine that this summer will bring experiences with cultivated herbs.

May 12, 2012 at 6:16 PM  
Blogger jamiebazemore said...

Jenna, plant any kind of mint you can get your hands on. I find that it truly heals what ails you. Also, if you can find chocolate mint, it is the ultimate healer for the soul . . . amazing in deep dark hot chocolates in the morning or on a cool evening. Definitely keep your mint in containers or segregated areas. It can take over. Also, I always go for a hardy thyme and a hardy rosemary. They are the year long herbs I cook with. Get yourself a cheap wall shelf and some hooks to put in your kitchen. I dry herbs year round and those little grocery store bottles cannot compete!

May 12, 2012 at 7:36 PM  
Blogger jamiebazemore said...

oops, forgot one. Get yourself an old fashioned aloe plant. Keep it inside in the kitchen (I prefer next to the sink). Break it off, smear it on, burns, cuts, and bruises never felt better!

May 12, 2012 at 7:38 PM  
OpenID Lynnie said...

I love the book "Growing 101 Herbs That Heal" (http://www.amazon.com/Growing-101-Herbs-That-Heal/dp/1580172156), there are so many amazing herbalism books out there about how to use herbs, this is my favorite for how to grow them and also has some nice beginner recipes in it. As an herbalist there are always a variety of medicinal and culinary herbs growing in our house and yard, but I'm most proud of the nettle patch. Mint, thyme and calendula are super easy must haves, you can also do multiple use plants...like raspberry bushes for fruit and use the leaves in tea.

May 12, 2012 at 7:58 PM  
Blogger Andi said...

I love having herbs in the garden. So much so, that my "flower" gardens are almost exclusively herbs. I began with the culinary herbs, added tea herbs last year (lemon balm makes a beautiful iced tea in the summer), and this year I am doubling my gardens and adding medicinals. The only trouble I am having is that so many perennial herbs are hard to start from seed, and I have yet to find anyone else in my community growing medicinal herbs, but I've managed to get several varieties to sprout and can't wait to get everything planted!

May 12, 2012 at 8:18 PM  
Blogger KiwiGirl said...

Just remembered that there is a neat UK TV series that has shown here called "Grow Your Own Drugs". It is all about making home-made herbal/plant-based medicinals - all very do-able without the need for complicated gear or ingredients. It's out on DVD (I think) and I've seen the book in our local bookshops too.

May 12, 2012 at 8:28 PM  
Blogger Indio said...

Jenna, I'm all for traditional medicine, but most prescription drugs are made from plants/trees. For example, aspirin comes from willow tress.
I've been reading the Grow Your Drugs book too. It's very informative with 3 different kinds of list of herbs.
I've got many of the ones already mentioned in my garden, but this year I added a few more so I can harvest more roots. Fennel, Stevia, feverfew, comfrey, borage bergamont, lovage, chickweed are a few that haven't been mentioned. I started making salves with organic beeswax and the herbs. It's a great way care for yourself with products that don't have pthalates, parabens, lauryl sulfate and other chemicals you want to avoid.

May 12, 2012 at 9:21 PM  
Blogger J.D. said...

With an early spring, I have sage, rosemary, lemon balm, anise hyssop, and mint drying in the kitchen. Took my herbal certification three years ago and it was the best investment. I now make tinctures, decoctions, poultices, creams, lotions & cordials.

Very many good books out there, the essentials for me are arnica, calendula, comfry, St. John's Wort and lemon balm. Echinacea takes a few years to establish as the root is what makes the magic.

Container plant the mint, IMHO! It has a mind of its own.

May 13, 2012 at 3:36 AM  
Blogger J.D. said...

I agree with Gelfing re: Nettles. A truly versatile, giving plant.

May 13, 2012 at 3:40 AM  
Anonymous Uta said...

I just love fresh Lemon Balm Tea, hot or Iced with just a touch of honey.

May 13, 2012 at 5:12 AM  
Anonymous Heidi said...

Fresh chamomile and apple mint tea is my summer evening favorite....apple mint is beautiful in pots. I love coming home from a long work day "out there" and harvesting my "Tums and Tylonel PM!"

May 13, 2012 at 8:29 AM  
Blogger Sewing Machine Girl said...

Yes, comfrey echinacea nettles ELDERBERRIES! for flu/cold lemon balm ....

May 13, 2012 at 9:49 AM  
Blogger Carrie in Wisconsin said...

I have alot of the herbs people have listed here, either already growing or seeds that need to be planted. They are all really great choices! I recommend just about everything that others recommended. Herbs are so great...I haven't done anything with them the last couple of years since they've been planted, but I'd really like too! Good luck Jenna!

May 13, 2012 at 12:52 PM  
Blogger Carrie in Wisconsin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 13, 2012 at 12:54 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I didn't have time to read all the comments so this may have already been said. Put the mint in a container other wise it will take over everything. I put it in an area with a concrete border and it still spread and took over the lawn. Smelled good when i mowed but rough on bare feet.

May 13, 2012 at 6:22 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

I grow most of the herbs mentioned here, for food, medicine and bodycare products. Don't have much to add, but I'm so glad to see you'l be adding them to your farm.

May 13, 2012 at 9:03 PM  
Anonymous strawbini said...

I can remember as a small child my grandmother teaching me what each of the herbs was in her garden - learning the scents of rosemary and lavender and snipping off chives to sprinkle on food. Whenever I've had plants, I've had herbs - these days I've got lots of different mints (current favourite is chocolate mint, yum), lemon balm, rosemary, sage, winter savory, hyssop, marjoram, thyme, chamomile - they go in cooking and teas, herb vinegars, syrups etc. In fact I'm so excited by herbs I'm taking the first steps towards setting up my own business involving them.

Big believer in herbal medicine too - I've had some nasty colds and sore throats this year but rosemary and sage tea definitely helps!

May 15, 2012 at 5:32 AM  

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