I finally started sowing my seeds! So many seeds, so little space! I ordered the Lifeline Medicinal Herb Garden through Mountain Rose Herbs and didn’t realize until it arrived that I might’ve gone a little overboard. There are 18 different kinds of seeds in the kit, plus all of the other things we already planned on growing this year. Keep in mind that we are container gardening – everything will be in pots on the patio – and while we have a spacious patio, there is a need for some restraint!
We’ve already decided that we will be planting sweet basil, Thai basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, cayenne peppers, sweet peppers, spinach and tomatoes. We were very happy with our calendulas and lemon balm last year, so we’re doing those again, but this year, we planted fewer calendulas and more lemon balm. (I can’t wait for fresh lemon balm tea – it’s delicious hot or iced!). I may try lavender again, but only if I buy a starter plant…
I’m looking forward to experimenting with some of the medicinal plants I purchased. I researched and narrowed it down to those that should grow well in containers, and those with a variety of uses. I wish I could plant them all! Fortunately, many of these plants grow wild in my area and are almost impossible to misidentify (stinging nettle and burdock, for example). Several of those I’ve planted are also found all over my area, but I’d like to form a deeper connection with my plant allies…what better way than to nurture them from seed?
So what else am I attempting to grow this year?
- Tulsi, aka, Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) – Tulsi has become one of my favorite herbs, both for it’s delicious taste and it’s various medicinal uses. I use it almost daily, and I’m really looking forward to growing it from seed. I planted several of these!
- Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) – This plant is high in mucilage content, which makes it valuable for soothing inflammation and related disorders, particulary in the GI, urinary, and respiratory tracts. It is also used topically for skin issues.
- Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) – These flowers can grow to five feet, although I’m not sure it will do so in a container. Motherwort is considered a sedative nervine, a cardiotonic (recommended for nervous palpitations), and, as its name suggests, useful for female issues ranging from PMS to menopause.
- Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) – A circulatory stimulant said to strengthen the lining of blood vessels and capillaries. Its anti-microbial and styptic properties are used to speeding wound healing while reducing pain. Also useful for reducing fever (as a diaphoretic) and for acute respiratory infections including colds and flus.
- Wood Betony (Stachys officinalis) – Historically valued as a cure-all, wood betony is a gentle nervine most commonly used to relieve various types of headaches, insomnia, and nervous hypertension.
- German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) – Known for anti-inflammatory, analgesic, nervine, and digestion stimulating properties among others, there are so many uses for these apple-scented blossoms that I am not even going to try to list them here. Interestingly, not a “true” chamomile, but the one you’re most likely to find on grocery store shelves, and the most commonly used among herbalists.
- Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) – Often used interchangeably with German chamomile, this is known as “low growing” chamomile and can be used to create a “chamomile lawn.” It flowers less prolifically than German chamomile, so I’m not sure how well this will do in a container. I’ll never know if I don’t try. Hopefully, a side by side comparison will help me understand if there really is a difference in therapeutic properties. (These were not part of the kit – I bought these seeds separately).
That is pretty much it…at least for now! I know that all of this may seem a little ambitious, but we are up for the challenge. It was such a wonderful experience growing and harvesting last year and I’m sure this year will be even better. If all goes well, my patio might resemble a forest or a wild meadow and I’m more than okay with that!
I’m also planning on foraging, or wild-crafting, herbs and edibles, and I should be able to start any day now. Nettles will pop up soon, as will dandelions and wild leeks. It should be an interesting new adventure…and a lot of fun looking for hidden treasure the woods! I’ll keep you posted!