Friday, January 16, 2009

Medicine Cabinet Herb Garden

This year, I want to plant some herbs in a little garden outside the lodge here where we live. Last season, the Gruff Lord wanted a "food storage garden" instead of the traditional "salad" garden. We ended up with a bit of both because I insisted on tomatoes, cayennes, beets, onions, rutabegas, potatoes and some herbs. The rest of the garden was dry beans and corn. All to the good. We got pounds of excellent beans and, although the corn didn't turn out too well, we did get seed corn from it anyway.

But downstairs I want some herbs that I know we will want for our simple (but effective!) medicines. This is, after all, how our grandmothers and great-great grandmothers got medicines to treat their families. It will no doubt ease my mind to know that right outside my door I'll have a lot of simple remedies for the normal aches and pains of human existence. And some of these herbs are being proven at potent remedies for what ails us. Red clover for cancer, for instance. And that, and many other terrific herbs grow wild, also right outside the door.

Here's the list of herbs I want in the "medicine cabinet" garden:

Catnip--for the cats, natch, but also because it makes a tasty tea to put one to sleep.
Chamomile: multiple uses, nice tea
Echinacea: great immune booster
Hyssop: so I can learn this plant
Lavender: intoxicating scent, many uses
Lemon Balm: incredible tea, very calming and soothing on raw nerves, something I expect to see a lot of in future
Lobelia: antispasmodic
St John’s Wort: antidepressant, makes a useful oil or salve
Skullcap: a nervine, good for sleeping draughts
California poppy: relaxing, need to learn more
Calendula: pretty flowers, makes a great salve for skin
Stevia: we need a sweetener that is off-grid, so to speak
Wormwood: for worms, natch.
Yarrow: for wounds and a salve for aches and pains

And probably more than that. But that's a good medicine cabinet start. I don't know if I'll get them all started this year, but I will get the garden patch started. I want to try a lasagne layer patch and maybe another raised bed. I'll start small, because I'm the main horsepower in our food garden, and that will require lots of work I know.

Here's a few listings for medicinal herb seeds, if you're interested in putting in your own medicine cabinet herb gardens.

Horizon Herbs

A HUGE variety of herbs, the normal ones you see all the time, both culinary and medicinal, and a host of others, many of which I've never heard of. Sometimes you only get a tiny amount of seeds for a large price, so read the descriptions of individual herbs carefully. There's a host of germination and cultivation info as well as some discussion of medicinal properties as well. A very useful site. I haven't ordered from them before, so I know nothing about them as a company. But...the selection of medicinal herb seeds at both Mountain Rose Herbs and are Horizon Herb seeds.

Mountain Rose Herbs

As I mentioned above, their selection comes from Horizon Herbs. But there's a medicine cabinet selection already set up, called the Lifeline Medicinals. If you want to start an herb garden, this collection of seeds might be just right for you:

This handsome, and conveniently packaged set of seeds is a great foundation primer for those wishing to start a medicinal herb garden. Each packet of seeds is certified organic through OTCO. Each kit contains 1 packet of each: Astragulus (50 seeds), Holy Basil (100 seeds), Burdock (100 seeds), Calendula (100 seeds), German Chamomile (500 seeds), Echinacea purpurea (200 seeds), Elecampane (100 seeds), Evening primrose (200 seeds), Flax (200 seeds), Lemon Balm (200 seeds), Marshmallow (100 seeds), Motherwort (200 seeds), Nettles (400 seeds), Cayenne pepper (100 seeds), Sage (100 seeds), Valerian (100 seeds), Wood Betony (100 seeds), Yarrow (200 seeds). $24.95.

I have ordered from Mountain Rose before and they are a good company. Shipping was expensive, but hell, all shipping is expensive these days.

Garden Medicinals

A selection of 147 herbs and wild plant seeds. I ordered from them last year. Some of the seeds didn't germinate, but that wouldn't stop me ordering again.

Seeds of Change

A nice selection of medicinal herb seeds this year as well as a lot of great culinary herbs. I've been salivating over their gorgeously-photographed catalog that I got in the mail. We've ordered from these folks for years. I like their mission and their style. Good seeds too. Pricey.

Don't you love it? Dead of winter, and these seed companies KNOWS that gardeners have the jones for their gardens, so they send us gorgeous catalogs in January when we have nothing better to do than gaze at all those mouth-watering photos of veggies and herbs. Oh my. :) I don't blame them a bit and I love the catalogs.


Bustednuckles said...

"Gruff Lord"..

I had to stop reading, I was laughing so hard.

Good stuff. I am at my folks for the next three months but come Spring I am going to garden like a fool.

Patricia said...

Hey Busted. Tell the truth, I can't remember how those nicknames came to be. But they seem to fit. :) They're better than the names we sometimes call each other....

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Interesting post I want to find a herbal medicine to control my ED because I take Viagra Online but I want to change it.

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HERB TM said...

Great article. Thank you!