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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!