It appears that this will be the year I get the herb bed really established. I found a new company, Companion Plants, that I really like. They ship a good quality product with reasonable shipping. This means I have added many new plants to my herb bed. This is the beginning of the herb bed I have always dreamed of. I hope in the next few years it will mature and be self-sustaining. We have future plans to increase some of these plants in larger patches in other locations. Here is the tour with a brief description of each.
Comfrey. I had already obtained five new roots, but I added a couple more. Now I have eight established comfrey plants to harvest for animal feed supplement, as well as medicinal uses.
Marshmallow. Tender leaves can be used in spring salads. Roots, flowers, dried or fresh.
Wild yams. Fresh or dried root decoction.
Camphor wormwood. Insect repellent and animal wormer. It also doesn't get along with other plants very well, so it needs a corner of it's own.
Bergamot (monarda fistulosa) and Bee Balm (monarda didyma). Leaves and flowers, fresh, cooked or dried for tea. Attracts pollinators.
Anise hyssop. Seeds whole or crushed. Leaves for salad
Uva ursi. Leaves, berries for infusions.
Butterflyweed. Just because it's pretty. Attracts pollinators.
Angelica. Roots, stems or leaves, dried or fresh.
English lavender. Flowers and leaves for infusions or oils.
Mexican marigold. Leaves, fresh or dried, flowers for dye.
Wild ginger. Roots, dried or fresh.
Ground nuts (apios americana). Tuber, protein, starch, isoflavones
The old and new hops now have another permanent home. I had originally put them on the west side of the old shed. When Frank tore it down, I dug up the old plant and put it in a pot on the porch for a while. I ordered two more plants, and now all three are residing on the west side of this shed and doing well. They have been joined by a clematis that needed a new home as well.
Sweet, edible bamboo in it's new location. Some of it died while it was in a pot on the porch during the winter, but it's started sending up new shoots again. This should be a good spot for it to spread and grow.
Our new batch of sun chokes, or Jerusalem artichokes. They are doing very well.
Our old patch of sun chokes are also growing well this year. They need to lose a few weeds and pesky scrub growth, but that will have to wait for another day.
The meadowsweet we planted back in the winter is doing well beside the branch here. I've tried to locate a few companions for this plant, but haven't found any yet. I have some seeds as well, but haven't had the time to start any seedlings lately.
Roses. I had some in a pot on the porch for a while, and finally decided where to put them. In the meantime, I found a good sale and ordered more. So far, so good. If they're going to be very picky, they won't make it. Most plants have to be pretty hardy to make it around here. I like to call it loving neglect. I love to have them around, but they have to stand some neglect.
I grow all of these things for specific reasons. If you are interested in any of them, or curious why I grow them, do some research and see what they can be used for. I have spent many hours reading and researching. Some of these plants may never be used for my intended purpose, but they are here if I want them. Using herbs for anything except culinary purposes is frowned upon in many circles. If you choose to use them, research them thoroughly first. Make wise, informed decisions about your own health and the health of your family. Along the way I will share some of the things we are doing, like feeding comfrey to the chickens and goats. The rest is up to you.
There are many different things we can grow that are fairly self-sustaining, even if they are somewhat neglected. We try to find ways to tuck in some plants that will produce in spite of us. They may provide a source of food, nutrients and/or possible medicine if the time comes that they are needed. And besides all that, it makes for another spot of beauty that surrounds us. Learn about and work at whatever needs doing around your place. It is time that is never wasted.
Until next time - Fern