The Medicinal Garden: Tips for the Herb Grower

It’s planting season! I’m loving this amazing weather and taking full advantage of all the warmth and sunshine I can get outdoors – between running my businesses, teaching math, and keeping stores stocked in town!

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I’m such a farm girl. There are few things that appeal as much to me, as heading outdoors in an old jean skirt, rubber boots {or bare feet ;-)} hair tied up … to get my hands in the dirt! I love planting seeds, watering seedlings, plucking weeds from the mulch garden … and especially harvesting fresh juicy vegetables {at the moment it’s huge luscious spinach leaves!} for our table.

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This year I made it a goal to grow my herb garden significantly – with hopes of eventually growing the better part of the herbs I use in my product – making. I took the last 2 years to experiment with different types of plants, and get a feel for how well they would grow and what conditions they favored.

Here are some of my observationsย …

  • Calendula Flowersย love the sunshine. While I planted over 70 Calendula seedlings, only about 2 dozen actually produced flowers throughout the Summer – due to the fact that this portion was positioned in a part of my garden that got more direct sunlight.
  • Mint and Lemon Balm don’t just spread – they spread voraciously. They invade. They crawl everywhere. They even send out little shoots underground that come up feet away – in other parts of the yard where you least expect. And if you pull up those tiny plants you can re-position them near your first plantings, or pass them along to friends. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Arnica is difficult to grow here – even in my mulch garden. While my little plants have persisted throughout all 4 seasons, they aren’t really changing, or growing. They’ve stayed the same. Perhaps I need to change up the location?
  • The more you harvest, the more those plants thrive and grow and produce. Don’t pluck them bare of course … but harvesting stimulates continual new growth – which results in a bigger, better harvest.
  • In addition to Arnica, I learned that Lavender and Echinacea are the most difficult plants for me ย … while everything else seems to grow and thrive just fine on it’s own these 2 have tried my patience with little result. They will be my greatest areas of focus going forward. They are 2 very valuable plants to me – and therefore my desired choice for study.
  • Some of my easiest herbs {in terms of little care and abundant harvest} have been Feverfew, Plantain Leaf, Calendula Flowers, Comfrey, and anything that spreads {chamomile, Yarrow, Lemon Balm, Mint}.
  • When positioned carefully and controlled {beware of how closely you position self-spreading plants}, the herb garden can become a truly beautiful place! Add to that the multitude of benefits provided through these healing plants!

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This year I’m growing: Feverfew, Soapwort, Lemon Balm, Self Heal, St. John’s Wort, Peppermint, Spearmint, Yarrow, Calendula, Lavender, Sage, Chives, Arnica, Comfrey, Plantain, Chamomile and Echinacea.

What are some of your favorite herbs to grow?

 

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