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This page was last updated on Monday, 02 September, 2013.

A Taste of Gardening and Herbs


Many years ago I decided to get into organic gardening and it was about the same time I was very involved in learning and using herbs. I also came across what they call edible landscaping and decided combining my vegetable garden, various medicinal herbs and fruits and berries would give me a much needed hedge upon growing concerns with our foods, our economy and our very way of life. Many people have insurances of all kinds and think they are very necessary in today's world and to me, despite the hard work involved, this was an insurance policy I could touch, taste and use on an ongoing basis. This gave me control of my own health much like laying your hands on a steering wheel and it gave me much peace of mind. The costs of good food and not knowing what was in it or where it came from was also a major concern and this was the answer. Hippocrates oath was "Let your food be your medicine and your medicine your food" made perfect sense to me. We are what we eat is as true now as ever.


Lessons I've learned along the way of growing food has been joyful beyond belief and at other times depressing when something I'd counted on didn't turn out quite the way I had hoped. I learned to not let that discourage me as nature has a way of providing even when we think we've screwed up. I sat with my son earlier today and beneath our feet I showed him three or four plants that were totally edible and good for us that nature provided. Amazing! I started a small orchid of apples and pears and cherries and some made it and some did not. I've since replaced some and added more but I learned the hard way how some trees need a companion and others are happy on their own. Spacing is important and I learned the deer love the fruit and will wipe clean a tree overnight. I learned insect damage and fungus can grab a hold of a fruit tree and decimate it within a season. I also learned that a spray made of garlic is a great asset and for fungus chamomile or calendula can't be beat. Soap bars hanging in the trees keep away the deer and companion planting goes a long way in healing the soil as well as keeping away pests.


To make a fungal spray I take chamomile or calendula and make a strong tea, what we call a decoction where it is brewed for a minimum of 20 minutes and up to 4 hours. I use a quart mason jar and cover it with cheesecloth with the metal ring. If I use dried plant, I fill the jar about 1/3 and if I use fresh I pack it close to the top. This method I found is the easiest in no need to use other containers for straining and the cheesecloth lets it breath somewhat without losing the valuable medicinal properties of the plants. I strain it and dilute it with water, into a spray bottle it goes and it's ready for use. This spray also works very well on seedlings if they get over watered and start to develop fungi on the plants or on the soil. I used that spray a couple of years ago on my tomatoes when a nasty tomato blight was rampaging my area and I was one of the few to have tomatoes that year. The blight did come on but I had already harvested as much as I needed. The garlic spray is done similarly and here is that formula...


Garlic Spray (anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and pesticide)
2 large cloves of garlic placed in a blender on high for 1 minute
Slowly add 1 quart of water, continue blending for 6 minutes
Strain and add 1/8 teaspoon of liquid soap (not detergent)
Cover and store in refrigerator
To use mix 1 part garlic mixture with 10 parts water in a spray bottle.


I walked around my yard yesterday taking pictures of various herbs and will share them with you. My descriptions will be brief and there's much more to these plants then I have time or space to go into but I will leave a general idea of each and add many more in future articles.


Borage

Borage

For adrenals, tastes like cucumber

Calendula

Calendula

Anti-fungal and very soothing
Chickweed

Chickweed

Keeps things flowing, wonderful in salads

Comfrey

Comfrey

Speeds healing of wounds but must make sure no infection is present before use

CouchGrass

Couchgrass

For kidneys

Goldenrod

Goldenrod

Helps with allergies
Lemon Balm

Lemon balm

Makes the heart glad and makes a wonderful iced tea for summer
Lungwort

Lungwort

keeps lungs clear of congestion
Mugwort

Mugwort

for dream pillows and opening the mind
Mullein

Mullein

Soothing and very helpful for the lungs, can be smoked
Nettles

Nettles

One of my most favorite all around tonic plants. excellent for building up the body
Tansy

Tansy

Removes parasites from animals and people
Wild Yam

Wild Yam

Beautiful plant on the endangered species list, great for the female reproductive system




Til next time, I wish you the best. Become self sufficient, never stop learning and share your knowledge with others.


Much love and blessings to you'
Victoria

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