Medicine

How to Have an Edible Garden Under Black Walnut Trees

How to Have an Edible Garden Under Black Walnut Trees

I’ve been asked the same question twice recently, “What edible plants can I grow under my black walnut trees?”. Well, I’m glad there are other people with this question, because since we moved to Wisconsin, I’ve found myself pondering that exact same question. The back portion of our 1/2 acre yard has about 12 mature black walnut trees (I’m not joking!).

If you haven’t heard of the gardening dilemmas around black walnut trees, here’s a super quick explanation of why gardening can be tricky near them. Black walnut trees produce a chemical called juglone that is released into the soil via the roots and also onto the soil through the leaves, stems, and nut hulls. Juglone is typically found in the soil beneath the tree canopy but can extend out about 60’ from the base of the tree. Many plants can’t tolerate juglone, and therefore won’t grow under or near black walnut trees.

How to Grow Enough Garlic For a Year

How to Grow Enough Garlic For a Year

I get so excited when September arrives and I can plant our annual garlic crop. Why? I'll be completely honest with you. Garlic is one of the easiest crops to grow, plus it fills the empty garden spaces left by my summer veggies. Here are a few suggestions for growing enough garlic for your household.

How to Grow and Use Lavender For Your Family

How to Grow and Use Lavender For Your Family

Lavender looks great with nearly everything.  It's silvery foliage and beautiful purple flowers add unique colors and textures to any garden.  Try growing it near your vegetable garden, in your herb garden, in a perennial border, or paired with roses for a cottage garden feel.

Encourage rebloom by removing the first flush of flowers. Avoid pruning after late summer to prevent new growth from emerging. Pruning for shape and to remove seed heads is best done in mid- to late spring.

How to Grow and Use Violet Flowers

How to Grow and Use Violet Flowers

Violet species are numerous and their flowers are blue-violet, yellow, or white. Violets have five petals and the lowest petal typically is heavily veined and leads back into a spur. The leaves are almost always heart shaped. The plants are small, growing close to the ground. Most violets are perennials.  

Both young violet leaves and the flowers are edible. They can be eaten raw as a trailside snack or mixed with other greens. Violets are not a strong medicine alone, but they do help enhance the medicinal properties of other plants. Violet leaves are high in vitamin C.  

What Your Herb Spiral Could Look Like Next Year

What Your Herb Spiral Could Look Like Next Year

Last spring I built an herb spiral in my backyard.  It was added as an extension to my medicinal garden.  I wrote a blog post about it with instructions for building your own herb spiral, plus photos of my process.

A few days ago, I had a great question about sheet mulching in regards to my herb spiral.  Check out Alison's question and my response in my original Herb Spiral blog post: http://www.dailyharvestdesigns.com/blog/2015/3/26/herb-spirals.  She also asked how my herb spiral is doing one year later. 

Here are some photos of my herb spiral today.  Enjoy!

How to Garden Now So You're Prepared Later

How to Garden Now So You're Prepared Later

Have you thought about what you'd do if you didn't have access to food from your local grocery store, the farmer's market, or your weekly CSA share?  Do you know how to grow any food yourself? 

Keeping a supply of water and non-perishable food on hand is recommended for emergency preparedness, but having fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, eggs, honey, etc. available in your own garden can help keep you fed now and in a time of need. 

Daily Harvest Designs weaves food, medicine, shelter, water storage, and more into beautiful and functional landscapes.  This makes it easy to incorporate food into your landscape while maintaining a beautiful and functional yard.

Hyssop and Hyssop: Which One Should You Grow in Your Garden?

Hyssop and Hyssop: Which One Should You Grow in Your Garden?

A few years ago I traded a friend something (probably homemade jam) for some plant starts.  He gave me three echinacea and three hyssop plants; none of them had labels.  I've enjoyed these plants over the years but hadn't used any of them medicinally until last week. 

Fortunately, two weeks ago, I had one of those ah-ha moments when I was with a couple herbalist friends (my herbalism teachers, to be exact).  This ah-ha moment also clarified another small garden mystery involving another plant given to me by a friend.  This plant was also unmarked, but I had a clue as to what it was.

Why You Should Love Lemon Balm and How to Use it

Why You Should Love Lemon Balm and How to Use it

Lemon balm volunteers all over my yard and I love it!  It fills in the empty spaces and I let it grow, as long as I don’t want to plant anything else in that space.  Lemon balm does great in the shade or part sun and is often tucked near a larger plant, like under my apricot tree, or in the corner next to my back fence. 

Medicinally, it's great as tea or tincture.  Use it for calming, colds, during menstruation, and for the gallbladder, liver, gastrointestinal area, and for your heart.  I like to drink the tea simply because it's tasty!

How to Build an Herb Spiral in Your Landscape

How to Build an Herb Spiral in Your Landscape

When I took my permaculture design course in 2010, there were a few permaculture design elements that seemed easy to incorporated into most gardens.  Herb spirals are one of them. 

Our backyard is designed with a lot of big looping curves, creating wonderful nooks and crannies for seating areas, play areas, veggie gardens, and the perfect spot for an herb spiral.

What is an herb spiral?  Herb spirals maximize garden space by coiling up a linear garden space into a mounded spiral.  Built with some elevation, herb spirals offer various micro-climates.  Each side of the spiral receives a different amount of sunlight and the soil moisture fluctuates as it moves down and around the spiral. 

 

Raspberry Leaf Tea - Harvesting, Drying, and Brewing

Raspberry Leaf Tea - Harvesting, Drying, and Brewing

My favorite part of the morning is brewing myself a cup of tea.  Raspberry leaf tea is part of my rotation of morning teas.  Sometimes I drink raspberry leaf tea alone, other mornings I mix it with nettles, red clover, or passionflower.

Raspberry leaf tea is easy to harvest, dry, and brew.  The leaves are best harvested in the spring before the flowers emerge.  Choose young leaves that are still bright green.  I like to harvest a basketful every couple of days in the spring while I'm playing in the backyard with my daughter.  I dry them the same day I harvest and slowly add to my jar of dried raspberry leaves.

3 Fantastic and Useful Shrubs for Your Home Landscape

3 Fantastic and Useful Shrubs for Your Home Landscape

As a landscape designer with a passion for "harvestable" landscapes, my designs tend to focus on edible and medicinal plants.  Many of our native plants are edible and/or medicinal so I like to work these into my designs too.  Surrounded by some of my favorite native and edible plants last weekend at a state park, I took some photos and was inspired to write this post.

The following three shrubs are easy to spot in our forests.  They are all evergreen and have edible berries.  Can you guess which shrubs I'm thinking of?  Read on to find out!

Growing Medicinals: My (Current) Five Favorite Plants to Grow

Growing Medicinals: My (Current) Five Favorite Plants to Grow

My garden focus seems to shift every year or so.  One year I'm totally into veggies, the next it's berries and fruit trees, and then I switch to focusing on my medicinal garden.  At the moment, I'm really into my medicinal garden. 

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is one of my favorite plants to grow.  Why?  Calendula flowers are like little pops of sunshine!

How to Use Elderberry for Food and Medicine

How to Use Elderberry for Food and Medicine

As I was canning 18 jars of elderberry blackberry jelly last weekend, I started thinking about all the different ways to use elderberries.  The ideas kept flowing as I stirred in the honey and pectin and filled each jar.

Blue elderberries are an excellent garden plant.  Their large shrubby form makes a great backdrop to any garden, the white flowers and dark berries are both beautiful to look at, and the birds enjoy the fruit.  Each self-fertile plant may produce around 40-50 pounds of fruit!