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Medicinal Herb Garden

September 28, 2008

Echinacea – Purple Coneflower, originally uploaded by mikedoyle84.

For awhile J. and I were on cruise control when it came to green changes in our lives. Between getting new jobs and moving across the country we weren’t really motivated to start any new projects until now. Recently we have been in a purchasing frenzy! We bought a kit to make our own laundry detergent to replace the seventh generation we had been using before. We really liked the seventh generation soap but wanted to try our hand at making more of our own cleaning supplies so we figured we would give it a whirl. The website has reviews on it and while not all of them were great reviews I understand that there is going to be a difference in performance between say Tide and homemade laundry soap, after all they added chemicals for a reason. We also decided to try and grow garlic. Now that we are more settled I wanted to see if there was anything we could still plant and while we missed the boat on planting a second round of fall crops (that should have been done in like jul/aug) it is apparently prime time to plant garlic. In fact we almost missed the boat entirely since many heirloom varieties are sold out. We will still get ours a little bit late but as long as they get in the ground (or container in our case) by mid-Oct we are okay.

While we were ordering garlic we also decided to go ahead and order our seeds for the spring. Last year we waited to long and some of the seeds we wanted were sold out. It also meant that we planted later then we should have so this year I (N.) am determined to keep ahead of the power curve. I’ll probably still see something that comes in for 2009 in the Seed Saver Exchange but that’s okay. In addition to vegetables and fruits we are also going to expand our herb growing this year. J. is going to keep a kitchen herb garden but wants to purchase seedlings at the nursery since we got our herbs as seedlings last year. I want to start a medicinal herb garden. I started reading more dooms day type blogs like Justice Desserts who has posted a 21 Day Challenge that gives you 21 Days to get ready for some form of mass chaos. To me that’s a little extreme. But it did get me thinking about being more self sufficient. I’ve been thinking about more traditional remedies and herbal first aid and I decided to actually try my hand at it. I bought a medicinal herb kit at Heirloom Seeds that includes 15 different herbs and a booklet that has recipes for tinctures and salves to use those herbs. It was the all in one aspect of it that appealed to me. The other nice thing is that some of the medicinal herbs are also common cooking herbs so J. will be able to use them as well. I had never purchased from Heirloom Seeds and I’m guessing their a bit smaller since they have a disclaimer on their site now that says it will take 30 days to process orders. That isn’t a big deal for me since I’m not going to plant these until late winter/early spring but I would imagine it could be an issue if it was closer to the spring growing season. They do have a larger collection of herbs then I found on either Seed Savers or Baker’s Creek and they are also different in that they have a lot more seed kits. They even have Victory Garden kits, so you pay $100 and all the decision making is taken out of your hands. I prefer to decide which seeds I want on my own but it’s a cool idea for someone who is getting started.

Eventually I’d like to take some classes about using herbs but it’s just not in the cards right now. There is a shop here in Philadelphia that offers a 10 month course that meets once a month but since I’m already gone so much for work I don’t think it’s far to spend a whole day taking a class. There are also some online or distance programs. I may end up doing one of those but I think I’ll start with growing the herbs and then using some of the recipes in the booklet that comes with them and then I’ll see how much more in depth I want to go.

What new projects are you starting or thinking about starting?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 28, 2008 1:52 pm

    We’re installing a few raised beds this fall and we’re trying to plan out where we want to plant our fruit trees. I already have many medicinal plants in my gardens, but I need to start using them. You can also use a lot of wild weeds for medicinal purposes (check out: We’re also trying to get a few things squirreled away for the winter so we’re eating more locally this winter, so I’ve been canning & dehydrating every evening.

    I also have a bunch of garlic to plant, but I did order mine in June so I got the heirloom ones early. I received them 2 weeks ago and plan on planting them this week.

    Good luck with the herbs, I’m going to try to grow a few more indoors this winter. I even have a light set up for them since we don’t have any south facing windows.

  2. Kate permalink
    February 9, 2009 10:30 am

    I was wondering if you could tell me the shop that offers the 10 month herb course. Thanks for your inspiring ideas.

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