So its finally that time of the year when one prepares for spring and all that goes with that. One of the big projects we have going on this year is establishing a medicinal herb garden. I started learning about medicinal plants back roughly around August of 2013. By the end of September I had read the book “The Herbal Handbook” by David Hoffman (on the right). While reading this it was quite clear that we needed to get started on a medicinal garden that we could create tinctures, salves, poultices and other medical items. The wife and I already drink quite a bit of medicinal teas and are becoming more knowledgeable about plant medicines all the time. I am also now taking the online Herbal Medic course over at The Human Path so I will continually be evolving my knowledge of medicinal plants.
Here is a little bit about our plans for a medicinal garden and the steps we’ve taken thus far.
I came across Horizon Herbs and saw that they had an unbelievably massive selection of medicinal herb seeds. Also recently Grow Organic started carrying some of their major medicinal seeds. Grow Organic was having a new years sale (I think 15% off all orders) so I loaded up with the majority of the seeds that they carry that I knew about, but knew that some were missing from their selection, so I made another purchase at Horizon which I received recently.
These are the following Medicinal Herbs that we purchased.
|Common Name||Latin Name|
|Passionflower, official||Passiflora incarnata|
|Burdock, Gobo||Arctium lappa|
|Dandelion, Wild||Taraxacum officinalis|
|Echinacea laevigata||Smooth Purple Coneflower|
|Echinacea purpurea||Purple Coneflower|
|Echinacea sanguinea||Sanguine Purple Coneflower|
|Elderberry, Black||Sambucus nigra|
|Evening Primrose||Oenothera biennis|
|Horehound, White||Marrubium vulgare|
|Hyssop, Official||Hyssopus officinialis|
|Licorice, Official||Glycyrrhiza glabra|
|Plantain, Broadleaf||Plantago major|
|Poppy, Zahir||Papaver somniferum|
|Saint John’s Wort||Hypericum perforatum|
|Slippery Elm||Ulmus rubra|
|Tarragon, Mexican||Tagetes lucida|
|Thistle, Milk||Silybum marianum|
|Tulsi, Rama||Ocimum sanctum|
|Valerian, Official||Valeriana officinalis|
|Wormwood, absinthe||Aremisia absinthium|
|Yarrow, Official||Achillea millefolium|
Starting The Seeds
We are starting the majority of the varieties in a green house tray under florescent lights. I pulled out all of the varieties that do not require any special attention (like scarification or stratifying) and the ones that I could plant in trays or pots. The remaining seeds will be planted directly into the garden during spring, or will be handled in a special way (such as Slippery Elm, which is a tree).
I first used tape to set up the boundaries and columns/rows of the tray. I used Letters for columns and numbers for rows (like a spreadsheet). This way I could record which variety goes where on a piece of paper using letters and numbers. Example: A1-A3, I4-I6.
Their Final Home
Here are some pictures of the areas where these plants are eventually going to go. We started work on this most of sunday. This area has intensely compacted clays from when they built the house so we used our new 14″ broadfork to break up all the way down. (It works AMAZING, its a MUST have tool). We then flipped over the sod, carved out paths and then used the good soil on top. We then purchased some top soil and compost to put on top.
We will be making most of this area a medicinal garden and an overall nice place to be. We have a lot more beds to go, which we’ll just make as we go. I put a cover crop which should be germinating here soon.
I will have to keep you guys updated on how the medicinal garden goes. This will be the first leg of this project where eventually we’ll be using these plants to propagate all over the property. Plant seeds are definitely not cheap, so getting a good stock going is quite important for the long term. Each packet is about 2-4 dollars and its only a hundred or so seeds. Definitely way too expensive to throw all together and broad cast with the trees, bushes and other plants that we’re doing. You know Sepp Holzer style. Eventually we’ll get seed heads from these plants and just sprinkle it places, or go through and take and root cuttings. I should note that I didn’t mention comfrey among the list. I already have a bunch of it, which I will be taking cuttings of and putting in the herb garden as well.