Harvesting Herbs in the Fall

Harvesting Herbs in the Fall

It is that time of year again. We spent months anxiously awaiting the first signs of spring – your perennial herbs emerging or warm enough weather for annuals. And, because we sell to every conceivable zone in the continental US that ‘just right time’ spans months. For us in Zone 7, we try to wait until ‘Tax Day’ but don’t always make it!

From Spring to Fall

Nevertheless, spring arrives and the fun begins – the act of planning shifts to actual planting, and more planting followed by pruning and tending and clipping. Using your herbs in all sorts of ways, because all we know, herbs are so versatile. All summer to enjoy the fresh taste of mint in tea, fresh basil on your Caprese salad, real dill on your grilled fish, tarragon chicken salad and a farm fresh chicken stuff full of fresh Bouquet Garni. We’ve done it all! For our clever DIY customers, the fun never ends while our homeopathic friends are creating all sorts of healing ointments, tinctures and teas.

But, we can all sense the change. Days are shortening, Helianthus and Joe Pye Weed are announcing the arrival of cooler nights. Fewer butterflies on fewer blooms. No more delighting in hummingbirds at the feeders. (more…)

Fall Gardening- My Favorite Time Of The Year

Fall Gardening- My Favorite Time Of The Year

The sadness of summer fading can only be cured by the excitement of fall.

Cooler temperatures and the bountiful harvest draw our attention away from what was, to the beautiful changes before us. It feels good to bundle up in a favorite fleece for a morning jaunt into the garden. I hope you are making that little jaunt each morning; even ten minutes of trimming, weeding and piddling will brace you for the days work. Think of it as a kind of yoga or meditation practice. After a few weeks of practice, you get flowers and veggies. All that squatting down, reaching around, and scratching in the ground does kind of limber you up, and a few quiet moments looking over your plants does clear your mind, and those veggies will nourish your body and soul. Flowers brighten your day!

Fall is our favorite time to garden

Why would we not start the day in the garden? I don’t know because all of the above is true and we all know how busy and complex life is today. I try to visit my little home herb garden each morning, my excuse is to let the chickens out, but I always piddle and pull a few weeds or pick a little something to leave in the kitchen for dinner. This is a nice start for me because I also know that during the day, through some intrusive media source, word of mouth, or just something I see walking down a city street will give me pause. And I will truly wonder how the human race has gotten thus far. Since there is not much to be done about the world at large, one needs some means of maintaining sanity. The only salvation is a sanctuary, and home with a garden has the deepest roots. Whatever goes on elsewhere, it is grounding to know that the garden is there, orderly and bountiful. (more…)

Help Save the Monarch Butterfly with Asclepias Tuberosa, Butterfly Milkweed

Save the Monarch Butterfly, Plant Butterfly Milkweed

Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias Tuberosa) is a native plant that creates a wonder area of your garden for monarch butterflies. The Growers Exchange wants to encourage our gardening friends to set aside a sunny space in their gardens to help these majestic butterflies thrive and slow the decline of their population.

The bad news: there can be no question that natural habitats, areas where monarch butterflies live, are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Habitat destruction, defined as changing an area in which a plant, animal or other organism lives to the point where that species can no longer survive. The destruction is generally described as either actual destruction, degradation or fragmentation. In the case of the Monarch butterfly, the major threat to their survival is the loss of milkweed habitat, which is an essential plant in their life cycle. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the counts of Monarch butterflies are trending down sharply, and their migration is now under threat.

The good news: restoration of habitat can be achieved with very little effort on the part of concerned gardeners. You can easily offset this loss of a critical host plant in your own yard by planting milkweed, the vital host plant for Monarch butterflies. (more…)

12 Unusual and Interesting Uses For Herbs

When many people think of herbs, they think of cooking.  There are so many other uses for them!  Take the list of herbs bellow and you have several natural ways to solve your everyday ailments.  Go ahead and treat your acne with basil, clean your toilets with thyme, and build your bones with marjoram.  Have fun exploring new ways to use herbs!

rosemary

Rosemary: Mosquito Deterrent and Hair Rinse

To keep mosquitos away from your porch or other areas where you like to entertain guests, try growing rosemary in close proximity.  Mosquitos do not like rosemary and so they will stay clear of that area.  Another great use for rosemary is as a hair rinse.  To strengthen your hair and eliminate pesky dandruff, rinse your hair in a cooled solution of boiled rosemary leaves and water.

Buy the plants online


 

lemon-balm

Lemon Balm: Fatigue Treatment

To reduce your fatigue, make a tea out of equal parts lemon balm, raspberry leaf, mettle, and oat tops.  Add ¼ part each of sliced and sifted ginger and licorice.  Re-boost your energy by drinking 3 cups every day.

Buy the plants online (more…)

15 Uses for Common Comfrey: From Topical Cure-All to Fertilizer Powerhouse

Widely cultivated across Europe and Asia for centuries, common comfrey (symphytum officinale) is a humble plant with dramatic benefits. From soothing herbal remedies for skin irritations, bruises, and osteoarthritis to potent fertilizers, mulches, and foliar sprays, the easy-to-grow comfrey plant has a welcome place in any organic-based home garden.

comfrey 1

Skin-Soothing, Regenerative, and Anti-Bacterial Properties

Comfrey contains high amounts of rosmarinic acid, tannins, and allantoin compounds that help to promote the growth of new cells, making this herb a the go-to topical for a variety of skin, muscle, bone, and joint issues.

1. Healing Bruises and Sores: If you have access to fresh leaves from the garden, a comfrey poultice is said to  speed the healing of sore or bruised tissues and ligaments.

2. Soothing Skin Irritations: Salves, teas, oils and ointments are all popular treatments for a variety of irritant issues, including bug bites, sunburns, abrasive injuries, and certain rashes or over-dry patches of skin.

3. Antibacterial: Water-based applications like teas and simple compresses can deliver a potent antibacterial punch that can help to reduce the chance of infection and speed healing. Simply dampen a clean cloth with a strong comfrey extraction and apply directly to the affected area. (more…)