Grow Your Own Herbs | The Holistic Herbalism Podcast

Grow Your Own Herbs | The Holistic Herbalism Podcast

hi i’m katya. and i’m ryn. and we’re here
at the commonwealth center for holistic herbalism in boston massachusetts and on
the internet everywhere thanks to the power of the podcasts yeah all right so
we may not need it this week but let’s give the reclaimer right up front
okay sure just to remind everybody right cuz we’re gonna talk about gardening and
you don’t have to be a doctor to grow a good garden but just in case we are not
doctors we’re herbalists and holistic health
educators the ideas discussed in this podcast do not constitute medical advice
there’s probably gonna be some gardening advice there maybe some of that ya know
state or federal authority licenses herbalists in the united states these
discussions are for educational purposes only everyone’s body is different so the
things that we’re talking about may or may not apply directly to you but they
will give you some information to think about and ideas to research further
everyone’s garden is different too there we go nice how does your garden grow all
right and we wish to remind you that your good health is your own personal
responsibility the final decision when you’re considering any course of therapy
whether it’s discussed on the internet or prescribed by your physician is
always yours you betcha all right well just with that out of the
way for whatever that’s worth let’s talk about growing your own herbs yeah people
ask us this frequently yes they say is it hard I’m is it impossible what are
the secrets how scared scared should I be how how can I learn yes right what is
the rest what’s the best herb to plant first yep what else where there’s lots
of how can I learn it where can I learn it and the answer to that one is very
easy in the garden in the garden is that where you learn is where you learn it
yes but Gardens can look like many things and we’re gonna have to talk
about some bucket Gardens today we’re gonna talk about some plywood Gardens so
right well two by four by sixes yeah exactly yeah all different all different
kinds of Gardens you don’t have to have acres and acres of land you don’t even
have to have land at all you can just have like a porch or a corner of your
eye way like it’s fine yeah well so what God
is thinking about this was we were walking about in the city and we saw
some snowdrops blooming in Boston the other day and we realized that wow it
feels super early for that to be happening but snowdrops gonna bloom once
the right time stops gonna snow drop they’re gonna do it right yeah there was
no snow but yeah so but that means though that it’s the right time to be
thinking about your garden and if you don’t have snowdrops where you are there
may be some other spring ephemeral herb flower that appears as a signal that
spring is actually coming yeah yeah it’s time to you if you haven’t thought about
it yet it’s time to get thinking about it so a lot of people ask us for
gardening advice and a lot of times I say something like well we’re not
farmers and we don’t have experience growing at that scale which we don’t so
if what you want to be is a full-on herb farmer we can’t so much help you with
that although we’ve got friends who are really good at it I’m thinking about
foster farm botanicals and sec Zack woods farm there’s just a lot of a lot
of folks who are doing create like as soon as you mentioned one there’s like
10 million that come right to mind yeah but the thing is that you don’t have to
be a full-scale herb farmer to grow buckets and buckets and buckets of herbs
like you can grow most of your own supply of many different herbs with with
very little space and also with not a lot of money right yeah don’t mistake
that for most of your own supply of every single herb that you want right
with including some that you might want to work with really frequently like say
ginger you know yeah but fortunately that herb is pretty readily available at
the grocery store so thank you there and with other herbs it’s gonna be somewhere
between right so but yeah you can grow many of your own herbs and you can grow
a lot of some really friendly herbs really easily and that’s a particularly
that we’ve done the last few years well you
you for a long time but I was around for the lesson help out without a bit and
was kind of blown away by how much a small spot can produce yeah I think this
is one of those places where growing up in this culture we we have the tendency
to think that we need more we need more we need more we need more we need more
of everything and the reality is like if you just have a small amount of space
you can actually grow a ton of stuff and you should that’s the thing like even if
all you do is grow one single plant there are so many reasons to grow your
own herbs but the most important one to me is that you get to be in relationship
with the plant while it’s still alive and that is so valuable right it’s like
if all you have is stories about your great-grandmother that’s really cool
and they may be awesome stories that have a huge impact on your life but it’s
not the same as the people who knew her while she was alive and have and had the
opportunity to have that direct relationship with her so think that way
about your plants and get to know them while they are still alive
it matters a lot hmm yeah yeah and you see them go from you know maybe a seed
maybe a seedling maybe just a young plant and they go through their life
cycle through the course of the year and then depending on what kind they are
then like maybe they maybe they die and they’re there totally done and that’s it
and you know they maybe produce some seeds and drop them and maybe you
gathered some or saw them fall in that in that same patch of land and you’re
like I don’t that you’re going to grow back next time and there’s a lesson to
be learned from them for sure yeah other times the herb grows quiets and you see
it retreat into its winter form and there’s like woody twigs like nope I’ve
got it I’m quiet I’m ready but when spring comes I’m gonna wake up and
unfurl and we’re gonna have a talk again yeah also like I might look pretty
gnarly right now and I might be mess I mean I’ve been surprised a few
times have been like I don’t know yeah and you wait and then suddenly like no
there’s a tiny little green leaf on there check it out and then like they’re
like big and beautiful and I think that you know that even if you never work
with that plant internally just the the watching of that lesson and then the
times when you are really gnarly and like hang on
thread and people are looking at you like man are you all right and you’re
like Nana I got this it’s gonna be okay yeah yeah so ya know you see them
through that whole lifecycle from you know one end to the other and that’s
there’s a lot there you know we’ve talked about this part before but when
you spend a whole year in service to your herbs before you work with them
that’s that’s also a big deal and I know that I’ve talked about like carrying
water and stuff like that but but really to put gardening in that perspective
that one you are growing plants you’re in service to your plants and that’s
appropriate that’s completely appropriate because you’re asking them
to be in service to you and so why not why not be in service to them first not
only why not but like there are so many reasons exactly to do that like first
you work for them and then they’ll work for you you know like it’s reciprocal
and I think that especially in terms of reframing the way that our culture
thinks about plants like well I don’t want to kill anything to feed myself so
I’ll just eat plants mm-hmm but then if you spend time in service to a living
plant you’re like wait a minute this plant is alive to you know like and
then it suddenly becomes Wow in order to feed myself I have to take a life and
then you know that impacts everyone differently we all make different choice
on how to do that ethically but for me one huge part of that is that first off
I better make my life worth all the different living things who have
sacrificed for my life but also that that for me to be in service to the life
that sustains me is like yeah yeah you know it’s it’s like the the cliche said
that life feeds on life but you can see that very directly right even even if
it’s not like all of the food that you have on your plate you know like there
have been times when we had a basil plant on a pot on the porch some tiny
little apartment and that was it but you know a handful of times over that summer
it’s like all right we’re gonna have some salad and some food and some basil
leaves right on top fresh from the plant and you’re like wow think about what’s
going on here like we saw this plant grow and develop and we waited for the
right time and can I take this leaf and how many can it can it offer and sustain
and then to like look at the rest of the food on your plate and say all of that’s
true for everything else also for these carrots and for that chicken and for
everything else and to like really get a sense of that like yeah every single
thing that I’ve ever eaten was alive at some point and that had to be so and
somebody probably had to take care of it and you know be thought thinking about
it and worrying about it when there was a freeze and a storm and everything else
and all of that is in there and that’s why you can stay alive from one moment
to the next right I think about like so the
strawberry plants that we have this is they’re going into their third year now
and last year they were just profoundly prolific I mean I don’t think I’ve ever
had more strawberries per planet than those plants it was just a great year
for them and also by saying that they were profoundly prolific like that meant
that I got like three or four strawberries a day I had some almost
every day but it was like three or four of them every day and then we think
about how easy it is to go to the store and just have huge quantities of
anything we want at any time yeah I need 2,000 strawberry
today yeah great can you afford it that’s the end of the story right if do
you have that many dollars yes okay then you can have them yeah and soothe that
skews are like excuse our understanding of our relationship with the whole rest
of the world like proportionally and so putting that back in context by growing
your own food and like well this is how much basil I can have today because if I
have more than this amount of basil then the plant won’t be able to bear that
that sacrifice or this is how much these are how many strawberries I can have
today because that’s how many there are like they just aren’t any more than that
yeah so yes so the more that you grow your own plants the more you start to
see them as living things and all of the complexity and connection that that
requires yeah you know also when we think about that in terms of herbs in
particular know right now one thing that I hear a lot from people is like oh well
mountain rose herbs is out of wherever where else can I get it and a lot of
times I reply with you can’t you can’t have it right now
and that’s always really shocking for new herbalists because because our
society thinks you can get anything you want anytime and when you come into this
world and you haven’t experienced it yet that things are seasonal and that you
things run out sometimes everybody is out elderberries yeah like there’s just
only so many other berries that are you know available and I think that growing
your own plants makes you like much more a part of that cycle instead of just a
person kind of on the outside of it frustrated because this vendor didn’t
have it so is there another vendor I can call and and sort of like still stuck in
the consumer culture that we live in growing your own plants and providing at
least at least for one plant providing your own year long supply really helps
you to start to get an idea of the cycles of
availability how to live within those cycles how to recognize that there are
other things that have that their cycles as well and so to say a year’s supply
doesn’t necessarily mean that you have enough so that you can have it every
single day for a year but that it that all these plants and that we work with
also have their own cycles their cycles of being alive and then their cycles of
how we work with them yeah yeah and man all this stuff is so profound but then
you know what else is that sometimes it’s less expensive to grow your own
herbs and that’s way less profound you know we’ve talked before I think about
wild harvesting and that I am I am calling into question the sustainability
of that practice however wild stewarding is fantastic and I highly recommend it
and so that is also one way to make sure that it’s less expensive is that even
the tea that we’re drinking right now is some of our mugwort but the mugwort is
mugwort that we steward it in a four by eight raised bed in Dorchester mmm like
which is a very it’s a part of Boston it’s very densely populated it’s you
know you don’t have to be in pristine farmland but the thing is that mugwort
is a plant that we really love that we love the tea of and so we always want to
have a couple pounds of it a year and we were able to produce all of our own
mugwort just by encouraging weeds that found their way into our raised bed
noticing them the year before and realizing oh my goodness mugwort has
seated in here and then choosing to do things to really encourage that growth
and then also choosing to encourage the spread of that seed
so so we had wild plant that we did not have to forage for we had wild plants
that that showed up and then we steward it and then we made sure that they
receded so receded not receded yeah yeah yeah so maybe to to sort of start off by
thinking about whether you’re going to whether you’re going to encourage wild
plants or you are going to plan to plant things either from seed or from
seedlings maybe the very first thing to think about is figuring out what kind of
growing conditions the plants that you want to plant need right some of them
are gonna want dry soil that drains really well some of them are gonna want
boggy soil especially herbs a lot of our herbs grow in wetland areas so some of
the herbs that you want might be herbs that need to have the soil basically
damp all of the time yeah but others might prefer it to be
really sandy and well-drained and right yeah and more of a dry kind of a kind of
a spot variation is between how much Sun various plants are gonna want so that’s
another thing that you’re going to need to know about any of that you’re
considering growing yeah and think about it in both directions be like I really
love this plant I absolutely want to grow it what does it need and where can
I find it or find the closest thing to that around me or in my area but also
think about well what kind of light do I have in this spot a yard or in this you
know place where my balcony is and I’m gonna put some pots out there how many
hours of sunlight doesn’t get over the day or if you if you’ve been there long
enough you know what is it like at different times of the year yeah I
consider consider all of that and then also just your local climate you know
with plants there’s often growing zones that people refer to like this is a zone
five and that’s a zone six and those are kind of fluid yeah they’re kind of
changing climate change but but you can look up and the plants are categorize it’s very easy to look up the
zone that you live in you can just say your zip code on like you can search on
the internet your zip code plus USDA growing zone and and then you can you
can let’s say there’s a plant you want to grow Mullen and you can literally
just search will Mullen grow in zone 5 like whatever year zone is and in
general actually that’s a leak so there’s two ways that I think are the
best to get gardening information or growing information and both of them are
free so one of them is just go find the plant that you want to grow and look
around like is it growing in a like big pile of dry dirt and I’m thinking about
mullet is or is it growing in a place that has a little bit of shade or is it
growing in a place that’s like right on the edge of some water or like like
that’s the very first thing where you find it in the wild that’s that is that
plant telling you this is where I want to live and where you find it multiple
times right like mm-hmm so one of the first Mullen plants that I
met was standing in the middle of a bright sunny field all by itself and was
really very yellow and was a little too exposed
yeah well sunburned basically and if that was the only moment I had ever seen
and I might have some less than helpful ideas about where to go looking for
Mullins right yeah it is really helpful to see see multiple of them right and
and just like carry a little notebook and and just make some notes oh I saw
them all in here and this is this is how it was growing I saw em all in there and
this is how it was growing and then the other thing you can do is just Google
and growing conditions and put in the plant you’re interested in so growing
conditions Mullen and it will pop right up and tell you how much Sun it’ll
usually be like the first or second thing that you get back we’ll just
literally be bullet points because so many people are writing about
this stuff so it becomes very easy to get the information and it will tell you
like it likes this much Sun it wants this kind of dirt it wants this much
water that’s what you need to know yeah yeah but there’s no real substitute for
finding the plant that’s spending some time looking at it and and looking at it
and thinking a little bit about what do you see what can’t you see but you can
tell is happening mm-hmm – really really spend some time with your plants yeah
yeah I really you know you can get tons of information off the internet and
that’s great and important but looking at the plants is so much more important
and it is literally the number one thing that you can do to be a successful
garden is gardener is to go outside and look at your plants every day like not
just sort of walk past them but like really go out there for 20 30 minutes
and just look at your plants very closely and if you’re thinking I
wouldn’t even know what I’m looking at like how will I know if they’re happy or
not well how do you buy vegetables right when you’re at the grocery store and you
want to buy kale and you’re standing in front of the the rack that like shelf
that has kale on it how do you decide which kale to buy right one of them
maybe when the bunches has like some yellow on the edges and you don’t buy
that one right you buy the one that has the the greenest greeny green color
right or if it’s the purpley kind of kale you get the kind that has the
purple yes purple purple color yeah yeah and so we’re like if you’re if you’re
trying to buy an apple and it’s a green apple or a red apple you want the one
that’s most fully saturated like this is what you do you might not even notice it
but the next time you go grocery shopping notice what you pick up your
what you’re choosing is the stuff that is healthiest right you’re trying to get
the most beautiful one the one that doesn’t have any like nibbles by
bugs it doesn’t have any brown spots or yellow spots yeah
though I will say one of the things to learn in your journey of being a very
young growing sort of things human turns out to be that a little bit of like bugs
on the leaf a little bit of yellow spot here and there it’s not the end of the
world that’s true turns out that they’re actually okay we
thought sometimes yeah yeah but but in general if the whole plant is mostly
happy green like you would want to buy it if it was vegetables then it’s happy
and if it’s got like one leaf that’s been munched or one leaf that’s like
yellow or brown like don’t worry about yeah I don’t look that perfect to be the
enemy of the good here right right right but if the majority of the plant is
plump and happy perfect if the majority of the plant is wilty or if it has a lot
of brown spots on it or a lot of yellow spots on it then there’s a problem that
plants not happy and then you got to figure out like why is it not happy and
you might think well how on earth would I ever figure it out where will I start
right yeah Google where do you start for everything else so you could you could
just be like basil brown spots that and then because that’s what you saw you saw
brown spots on your basil yeah you’re not the only one making searches like
this right baby tiny tiny little white bugs are on my my catnip plant okay type
that in exactly like that you’ll get some somewhere to start right yes and
don’t take any of your first you know don’t just like click I’m feeling lucky
and then just take whatever shows up as gospel right read multiple different
reports here there will be pictures for you to compare and to look at sometimes
there’s little video talks and stuff yeah you can listen to but we live in an
era where this is a way that it is possible to go and to learn things but
the key here as in any other kind of research that you do through the search
engines is to interprets or to investigate those results critically
right so keep your mind active look through it see if it matches what you’re
observing and if it jives with your all of your common
senses that you have and if so then try it and see what happens
China’s a psyche right like you can read all the stuff you want you can be like I
think I know the right answer or I have no idea about the right answer either
one of those you just have to try something and if it wasn’t right the
play will tell you and then you try again that’s fine but really um really
just watching is it’s so important go out there sit out there look at your
plants okay you’re looking at your plants it’s great so other than that I
would recommend that you start with the easy ones like lemon balm or calendula
or just something super like sage something really really easy yeah if you
don’t know where to start at all then pick your favorites herb from the mint
family mm-hmm right so that’s that’s your mints yeah that’s also the well
that’s the lemon balm is a mint night like sage rosemary lavender those are in
the mint family yeah pick one give it a shot
these are irrepressible yes and though like if you pick some easy ones those
will give you confidence and if you pick some really tolerant ones like fault
tolerant plants they will give you confidence and if you don’t know which
those are for your area go to the garden store don’t go to like if there’s only a
home depot fine but it’s better if you go to a garden store where they have
their own nursery and they’re growing everything from from scratch there
because they’ll be able to give you better advice but you can say listen
this is my first garden and I want to grow some herbs can you tell me what is
the easiest herb that you stock and so you don’t even have to know what herb is
easy you can literally just go and ask somebody and they will say oh it’s this
spearmint plant and you’ll be like great okay I’m going
you’re miffed this year that sounds fantastic yeah this anise hyssop always
does really great yeah whatever it is yeah and they’re gonna know for your
region so that’s really helpful too yeah so that’s where to go if you’re looking
for I don’t know any any herb that has efficient ally in its name probably yeah
but we really really greatly strongly advocate for letting the weeds of your
world into your garden oh what’s that all about I thought most
of gardening was weeding right no you know last year’s garden was 100% weeds
yeah and the interesting thing is so I didn’t weed anything it was we did we
did pull out grasses there weren’t as many we’re happy right especially after
it got rolling yeah there were so many fewer grasses then the previous air when
I had done a lot of I think like this so this 4 by 8 bed is two years old now and
like we we grew plants in at two years and the first year I wanted to grow some
like really specific plants and the second year like at the end of that year
I noticed a bunch of weeds seeding themselves I noticed evening primrose I
noticed mugwort and I was like oh and a bunch of a rigger on was in there also
and I was like I’m not gonna do anything we put some nettle in some of the
cilantro came back because I let it go to seed and mostly it was a ton of
mugwort a ton of Primrose and a ton of Aragon and we got probably two pounds of
each of those and then the strawberries on the other side yeah and and and that
was like literally we didn’t plant any we didn’t plant it
we just encouraged it we just noticed that it was there and we were like okay
you get to have your turn and it was wonderful because there was so much less
like grass that grew in between the plants and whatever else it was great
yeah yeah and it was it was very low pressure as well yeah right
like these are the weeds these are the plants that show up places that people
aren’t looking for them and so if you forget to water if you know that you’re
gonna be going away for three straight days or for a week or something and
you’re like oh no what’s gonna happen to my garden plants like this they will
they will probably find they will laugh they will say we’re fine yeah even have
to worry about us yes yeah we also didn’t have to worry about the strength
of the Sun um last year because because they were plants who could take it yeah
so that was really good when we had planted a bunch of basil in that spot I
ended up having to get a Sun Shade and I’ll talk about that later but so we
moved our basil to places that weren’t quite so bright because it was a little
too much Sun for the basil um I also want to talk though about some of the
more challenging plants because it like starting with the easy plants will build
your confidence and build your experience but then of course there’s
always like ah but I really want to grow this plant and maybe it’s hard for you
or maybe you just don’t know if it’s gonna be easy or hard so pick pick one
of two one or two of those every year and that way you know that you’re gonna
have some success with some plants that you have experience with and that you
are realizing like okay these are pretty easy I know that I can do that and then
pick a couple that you like those are new to me and I’m not sure if they’re
gonna be easy or hard if they’re gonna like what I what I have to offer them
and so that is the way to like kind of stretch yourself every year to but don’t
don’t plant an entire garden of plants who you’re like well I think all these
are gonna be really challenging and I don’t really know because that’ll be
disappointing at the end of the year so that’s why I just say like pick a bunch
of easy ones and then a couple that you’re like these are my these are my
like stretch goal plants right yeah and over the years there are plants that
started that way for us and then became more of like all right we’ve got you
figured out yes you know like the first time we transplanted the Soliman cos I
call me are they gonna make it so this is so nerve-wracking right yes
and over the years like that patch went from three or four different apartments
with us finally ended up in Ralston yeah yep moved all around a few times and it
was fine it was fine every year every time we moved it it was fine it was but
it was like that first year was learning like it needs these conditions in it
like this much shade and this much water in the soil and like now all we have to
do is find that spot in the new yard yeah that’s true or when we brought it
out to the land it was like alright we got to find a spot just like that and we
know because we’ve spent a lot of time sitting next to those Solomon clm been
like oh it feels like this here yeah feels like this the air moving through
here feels like that the light coming down oh they’re doing looks like this
right there’s a big tree next to it so it’s not gonna get the full Sun yeah
exactly so back to those those observations and
that’s what it takes those difficult herbs that feel like they’re on your
edge for you and makes them something you’re like I know I’ve got you all
figured out here like I know what you want I know what you need okay yeah and
then you can give that to the plant and then the plant gives back to you in the
plant and you know if you try if you try one that’s really challenging and you
and you don’t get it the first year that’s fine
try again next year it it’s okay to like struggle a little bit and say okay well
I learned some stuff but now I need to learn again you know the plants will not
hold a grudge against you no no they’re okay um you know I also think this is
probably a good time to talk about some of our native plants that we’re losing
so find out for your area who are the at-risk plants in your area and United
plant savers keeps a list on their website of all of the plants that are
endangered and also all the plants that are at risk of becoming endangered and
it’s a really good idea to just figure out which of those plants grow in your
area and go ahead and grow some it don’t even ever plan to harvest them for
medicine just grow them as in terms of like part of repopulating and so
Solomon’s seal is one of those that in the wild Solomon seal is becoming more
and more rare but it’s so easy to cultivate so that’s actually super handy
that it that it’s an easy one to cultivate if you can find the right spot
for it but so that one is really important to me to grow every year and
on the other hand like ginseng and goldenseal are they’re not easy
challenging but it’s important to me to try because eventually I will learn how
to do it and that is part of re-establishing plants who are native in
our area bloodroot and Trillium are two also that we really like to plant and
then not harvest just just plant just so that it can start to grow get its
foothold back because those are plants that should be here but have been over
harvested and now it’s very rare to find them in the wild yes so then the other
thing people ask all the time is where should I get my plants and how should I
get them right is it is it better to start from seed is it easier to start
from the little little square trays plastic pop things they come in things
like that what’s the best way to do it well there’s pros and cons to both
method and mostly you should do the one that appeals most to you sometimes it is
easier to just buy the seedlings at a local store a local like garden store or
whatever and there are some plants that can start from seed right outside you
don’t have to like have all the equipment to let lights and all that
stuff you can just put the seeds in the ground
and they will grow sunflowers yes it will happen and so those are awesome but
some plants either need to be started indoors or you can start them from seeds
but you have to do it the year before right because yeah yeah wild plants they
sorry good oh yeah or sometimes you need to treat the seeds in a particular way
right with some seeds you can’t just take them
from the package and put them in the dirt and then hope for the best you have
to like rub them with sandpaper or get them wet and then put them in the fridge
for a minute and then and then this so that sometimes there are like extra
steps to write how to go from seed to plant right so those obviously don’t
happen in the wild there’s not like little squirrels who are putting them in
the refrigerator but that those methods are to recreate winter for the seeds
because there are many seeds that won’t germinate until after they have been
frozen for the same paper thing is to recreate like passing through the
digestive tract of a bird right so so sometimes it’s enough to just spread
those seeds before like in the fall before you actually want them to grow
but sometimes you do have to go through that whole process and and and that
could be hard so don’t start there unless you really want to it is
literally like your garden is completely illegitimate even if the whole thing was
grown by seedling it’s still totally legitimate so you don’t have to start
any seeds at all if you don’t want to yeah yeah which is good and if you are
gonna start from seed you have to know in advance and you have to be a little
bit early and have accelerated sometimes there’s equipment involved in this and
this yeah oh so it’s also good to know that when you buy the seed packets it
will tell you whether you buy them online or whether you buy them in person
at a local store it’ll say on the seed packet or it’ll say on the webpage where
you buy it how to start those seeds so they may it might say like you have to
start this indoors eight weeks before the last frost or something like that
and so if you’re not prepared to go ahead and have all these little
seedlings growing in the Sun or with a grow light somewhere in your house don’t
buy packets that say that you’re gonna if you’re not willing to do that which
is fine you do not have to do it then look for seeds that say to
recked so or something like so outdoors after the last threat of frost or
something like that and the those are plants and sunflowers are a great
example those are plants where you can literally just stick the seed in the
dirt put some water on it and it’s gonna be fine as long as you do it after the
last freeze yeah some flowers are great they’re so easy and they’re so wonderful
so amazing yes they are so amazing nice so some advice here is to start small
right because it would be very easy to you know have the garden catalogue show
up and to page through it and say I’m going to circle everything that’s in
here because it all looks cool or fun or handy or you know whatever and that’s
great but not all of us have the money yeah so yeah so you don’t you don’t need
those things you know they’re not required to get started you can start
with a couple of buckets and dirt and your hands and that’ll actually be
enough yeah if you get those like Home Depot buckets they’re like three bucks
or something and if your plant that you want to grow needs good drainage drill
some holes in the bottom or if you don’t have a drill just get a hammer and a
nail and nail some holes into the bottom yeah and that way it will dream yeah
well you can set how much drainage you want right with some plants that’s one
or two holes in the bottom everywhere like we have you know we have had
calamus growing in a bucket like that for many years now yeah with no holes
because Calibos wants to stay really wet yeah yeah and so there’s it is literally
in a bucket with no holes so that it will hold on to and sometimes it gets
really muddy in there that’s fine that calamus likes that quite a lot yeah
I also oh I I was gonna say wood Bettany too we’ve grown wood Bettany and buckets
forever that one wants a little drainage at the bottom but we’ve grown that in
buckets all the time and there’s something really actually great about
growing in buckets especially if you’re new to gardening
which is that if you aren’t exactly sure how much Sun your plant will want or how
much water your plant will want then if you put it in a bucket it can it can be
very individualized if you’re like oh my goodness
like I decided one year I was gonna grow a bunch of basil which was not a plant
that I really had ever been very interested in growing before and then I
was like I’m totally obsessed with basil now and it’s basil year and I’m gonna
grow a ton of basil and I put it in a place that it didn’t like and I burned
all of it and so then I tried again is I turned off of basil for a while and then
I tried again but I got a sunshade for it and that was better but then last
year was actually my best basil year ever because I only grew basil in
buckets you know yeah and then I just moved the buckets until it was perfectly
happy and got like the goldilocks amount of Sun and when I found that spot I was
like that’s where you’re staying I’m moving the bucket again and that was
great that’s real that’s real sure yeah I mean evening primrose grows out of
buckets just fine yeah mugwort absolutely you know sage is
pretty handy that way the mints again the lavender and catnip they’re all fine
and buckets easy yeah yeah let’s talk about raised beds for a little bit yeah
yeah we built one a couple years ago at our apartment in in Dorchester and I
think I think we probably paid I don’t know 20 bucks in materials we used to
buy sixes not pressure-treated just regular old two by sixes and it was four
by eight so we had one two three four five six two by sixes it’s not right no
five yes six because each end was yeah so six eight foot two by sixes and then
in each corner we had like a 2×4 that we just screwed the
into to make it into a rectangle we lined it with landscape fabric and we
filled it with dirt and the dirt was the most expensive part the dirt was like 80
bucks which was fine because you know we were that raised bed was gonna last for
a while we’ve since moved to a new apartment but that raised bed is still
there and the downstairs people are gardening in it right well not right now
but they’re planning to garden in it they’re making their plans right now and
so okay so 80 dollars might seem like a lot to pay for dirt but it was really
good dirt and it’s gonna last for a long time after that you just need to put
some compost in so that’s good but that that 4 by 8 bed just grew tons and tons
of stuff so that’s to me that seems like a really good value and and it works
really well if you live in a place where you can’t just dig in the dirt and that
was true in that part of town the dirt was all had tons of lead in it and
whatever so having that barrier in between was important and bringing in
fresh dirt was important yeah yeah definitely that and also choosing herbs
and things to grow there or to encourage to grow there that weren’t deep diggers
yeah because we had 12 inches of soil yeah I mean you could maybe get away
with some burdock there but yeah it’s gonna dig straight down underneath so
yeah so everything we had had pretty shallow root structure yeah
I’m trying to think you know also we left behind some mullen because we got
we had some first-year melon growing in there mmm last year and so they’ll have
Mullen this year which is pretty exciting yeah you know and even so
whether you plant in a raised bed or whether you own your own property or you
rent even if you own your own property it’s still totally legit to plant in
buckets and then just decide like once you figure out where the plants that you
want to grow are happy then you can pay to put in like a raised bed and or
whatever or then you can rip up the grass and put
garden they’re like having buckets for a couple years first helps you really get
established on ok I know where I want things to be so yeah yeah and if you’re
just anxious to get going and you just want to put a raised bed up and you’re
like oh we’re gonna do it let’s figure it out later
that’s fine that’s fine but probably choose the sunniest spot you can you can
select yes it’s easy to put shade it’s less easy to create more Sun yeah so for
shade way that was a big thing for us at that
garden in Dorchester because there it was like more something we thought it
was such fun it was harsh Sun it was really hard Sun and it was also the only
place that we could put it it was where the landlord told us we could put it so
yeah that’s what real world constraints yes but you know as things were burning
in the garden and you could tell that they were burning because the leaves
would get yellow and yellow and so I just got one of those mesh tarps I and
honestly I got it on Amazon and it was like I don’t know $10 or $15 or
something for a 10 by 10 mesh tarp and it’s a tarp and it’s got the grommets
and everything but instead of being solid it’s like woven mesh right so a
percentage of the Sun gets through like 60% of the Sun gets through and the rest
of it is shaded or you there’s different percentages you can choose the
percentage you want and so we just did that and then we strung it like there
was a fence on one side and a balcony on the other and we just strung it between
them and it was great and it was just like a little personal sunshade for the
garden and everything was really happy that way we didn’t need it the second
year because instead we worked with more sun tolerant plants yeah yeah but it was
really very effective it was like a sale yeah it was great yeah it was really
great couple of guidelines running from it
yeah the edges and there you go for this year coming in our new apartment
have pretty strong son also we’re like very south-facing like it’s like every
corner of the of the property is south-facing somehow I don’t even know
like like in all four corners be south-facing like everything is
south-facing there’s like really strong Sun so one of the ways that I’m planning
to deal with that is to preferentially choose plants that want really strong
Sun so that I don’t have to rig shade again yeah so sage rosemary thyme
chamomile so much Coolio yes yes and then the plants that really
want a bunch of shade we’re just putting in Ralston where we where there is shade
so that’s fine yeah but that’s the thing like if you if
you look at your property and you’re like well I get all of the Sun then you
know when we didn’t keep any of this element seal here all of that went to
the forest and royal stone and we’re not gonna try to grow Solomon’s seal here
because it’s just not like there’s way too much Sun so so make those kinds of
choices or if you have a super shady everything and you just don’t get very
much Sun at all then maybe you choose oh well I’m gonna grow things like violet
and I am gonna grow a ton of solomon CEO and I’m gonna grow English ivy and and
whatever things that will like periwinkle things that will really
flourish in a more shady environment not not and not an herb to work with
internally but but an amazing plant that you definitely should grow yeah nice
yeah so you try things right do you you try it out you see what happens you make
mistakes you fix them if you can if you don’t you learn from them um it’s like
it’s like a lot of other kinds of learning that you can prepare a lot and
that’s great and that counts for a bunch and you get gold stars but then you have
to actually go out there and do it and get the dirt under your nails and you
will learn a lot more there than you will listening to us
yeah I mean you can bring us with you into the garden yes yeah I think you
know our culture is all about finding the right answer and being the right
prepared and then things will go right and just go out there and try it just
try it just try it oh hey once you’ve grown
your plants then you probably want to continue yes there may be something that
you just let them grow and you admire them and that’s that’s how you really
but you know you’re nervous you’re probably thinking I bet I could make
some remedies out of this stuff I bet I could make some tea yeah yeah so drying
your plants is a good place to start and you don’t need a dehydrator but it does
help yeah does help kind of a lot actually yeah like for a long time we
didn’t have a dehydrator and so I didn’t dry very much I dried like some
goldenrod in brown paper bags with a with a space heater
rigged up like a like a lund like a folding laundry rack you know that had
lots of like layers and tiers to it and then like had a space heater next to it
or under it and then like bags sort of like and you know what it worked it did
work it worked an actual dehydrator does work better it
does it turns out so we finally got one last year and we didn’t get like a fancy
one I think the it’s a gourmand or something is the brand and it’s just a
ninth ray dehydrator literally we got it on Amazon and I think it was but there
there are some that are like $40 and there you even can often find them at
thrift shops or even just ask around because you might know people who
already have them yeah look at Craigslist or freecycle or something
like that mm-hmm yeah but I will also say that when we
finally bought one I mean there was like a solid month where it was running like
every day like we we dried so much stuff yeah and yeah in the whole room you
would walk in and it would be redolent of mugwort sleeping or evening
primrose leaf you’re just like yeah this is all right it smells so good yeah I’m
good with this yeah yeah we’ve kind of we’re keeping the dehydrator in a room
that we’re in a lot now I think in anticipation of where they have some
fresh herb material to run in there and just hang out in here and saturate in it
everywhere isn’t too right yes everyone tried try orange peels and they don’t
really need the dehydrator but but I am excited for when we start dehydrating
again and the whole room smells great yeah um sometimes people wonder whether
fresh herb is better or dried herb is better and when do I want this one or
that one and that is kind of a it’s there’s a personal preference there’s
also like an herb by herb basis so both in the medicine making course and also
in the materia medica course we do mention oh okay this herb if you’re
gonna teacher it you really want to tincture it fresh and that herb if
you’re gonna make oil from it it really should be fresh sometimes it doesn’t
matter but if you are looking for sort of a general guideline and then
generally I myself prefer to tincture and make oils from fresh plants and to
make tea from dried plants that’s not like set in stone but no there are lots
of exceptions but they’re the exceptions that more or less enforce the rule yeah
hey speaking of set in stone there is one thing that we forgot to mention
which is do not take all of the rocks out of your garden if you have a garden
and it doesn’t have any rocks in it put rocks in on purpose because that’s one
of the ways that your garden gets minerals it’s like the primary way that
your garden gets minerals so a good rocky garden is really yeah
that’s right that’s where it’s at more work for you but that’s often the way
that things go that’s okay you know the reason that people take the rocks out is
because if they tell the garden then the rocks hurt the tiller the
blades on the tiller but I don’t tell my Gardens my honestly you guys my garden
tools I have a spoon that I really like a pair of scissors that I really like
and that’s oh and I have an old smooth claws I have an old claw thing with one
of the claw things missing right yeah that’s like those are my tools that’s
that’s what I like it’s the one that used to have three claws but the two of
them broke off and now it’s just one because you thing is that in theirs oh
there’s a huge network in the dirt of all kinds of life forms and you you
don’t need to disturb all that you don’t have to tell it every year in fact don’t
tell it every year don’t ever tell it and just like scrape it where you want
to put stuff in loosen some stuff just with your hands loosen some dirt and put
the seed in and it’s good yeah and maybe this is also worth saying that if you
did start from a seedling or if you were even transplanting herbs to rescue them
or something like that when you’re moving plants you’re not going to like
shake all the dirt off of it until it’s just a bare root hanging around in the
area you’re gonna move that from place to place like if I’m taking a plant from
this big bucket it’s been and I’m finally putting it into the ground we’re
taking like a big hug full of dirt over here yeah like plop the whole thing down
and that’s gonna integrate into the into the ecosystem over there
yeah yeah but you you take some of that plants soil microbiome and its ecosystem
along with it to its new home isn’t that like Dracula it’s exactly
like Dracula yes it’s also like how will you marry in place the place you’d like
to bring your flora with you yes right the microbiome I’d like to bring theirs
with them as well yes so it’s just a matter of like loosening the soil around
wherever whatever you’re gonna put in so that it can integrate but you don’t need
to like loosen all of the soil everywhere it’s better if you don’t
right okay but yes but we were talking about fresh versus dried herb
I’m sorry I think we mostly got that that um yeah there’s in each video in
the materia medica section and in each type of preparation in the medicine
making course there are instructions about like for this you really want
fresh or for that dried is great so yeah yeah cool well we hope that that was
helpful that’s really all there is interesting and that you feel inspired
and confident and demystify it a little bit here yeah their willingness to
experiments is the primary thing right and I know that that’s the theme for us
most weeks comes down to well you should really try it and see how it goes for
you and observe and take notes and you know like something aged and and be
there directly in rely on your own experience more than you rely on our
theory and our and our teaching you know yes it is based on our experience it is
ya know like there’s something to it yesterday we bumped into this lovely
woman who was we were talking about African violets together actually and
she was saying oh my father is so good with plants and I wish I had inherited
that gene from him because I’m terrible at plants and I just want to say I was
terrible at plants I come from a household that had like no greenness in
the thumbs at all and it really was just about saying well I have to grow
something and trying it and failing at it a lot and and then like having some
success and being excited about that and over time and now like now you’re very
confident I am perfect I’m confident on one hand on the other I’m like well I’m
not like an herb farmer but but I I’m confident about my own plants you know
like my plants for me I’m really confident about so it’s it’s you don’t
have to be born with this you just have look you have just really observe and
observe with curiosity like oh what’s going on there like you know and not
observe like there’s a bug I have to kill it but but like huh which bug is
that and is that one of the friendly ones are there not friendly ones you
know like those observing with curiosity that’s really the way to do it
that’s where is that yeah all right so let’s close up with some shoutouts oh
yes so we got a shout out to girl with the braids on Instagram they said that
the pain episode came at just the right time hey good yeah I’m excited about
that darah wrote in to say that she liked it
too so I’m super happy and there’s gonna be a lot more on that topic in the
nervous system and emotional health course so stay tuned mm-hmm shoutout to
Sharon who shared a cool mushroom grower with us over in Nebraska yes I am super
excited this is a grower who has dried lion’s mane in stock so I’m pretty
excited to grab some interesting interesting too ami James 2.0 on
Instagram I think that’s how that’s pronounced who was excited about the
kava rose and vanilla oil in a previous episode that is exciting isn’t it yes
and on that theme Sara Swank who is making infused wine for Valentine’s Day
I hope it went well yes yes yes nice and we have one too let’s see Carlos eight
amounts for I’m sorry buddy I’m not sure how to do that one who wrote us a review
I have a podcast hey thanks so much we’re really grateful when y’all write
us reviews or share the pod with your friends that helps us get the erbil of
out to some folks who may not have seen it otherwise yes yeah so wherever you
get your pods wherever you’re listening now there’s probably a review function
in there somewhere if you would take a few minutes and dig that out and type in
some friendly words there then we will read them and we will feel warm fuzzies
in our hearts but also other people might see them and be inspired can’t
come and check it out learn some herbs grow some herbs and
grow some herbs feel a little bit more delightful yes and of course you can
always pass along the pod the old-fashioned way by just telling your
friends hey you should listen to this podcast and that works too it’s the
holistic herbalism podcast you can find it wherever wonderful pods are to be
downloaded which is in the Internet’s everywhere that’s the power of the pod
we’re always talking about right that’s right that’s what that is
all right so we’ll be back cracking me up baby so we’ll be back next week with
some more holistic our blues and podcast for you until then take care of
yourselves take care of each other dreamy possibly from plants that you
grew yourself like we oh wait we drank it I was gonna show it off but we drank
it all so you can’t see the lovely mugwort that’s in there there’s a little
left I’m gonna drink it now and in case you were wondering how can I see
anything on this podcast then you may not have heard that we put these as
video on YouTube every week as well so you can also find us there all right
with tea with team that’s it I go go get your hands dirty okay

3 Replies to “Grow Your Own Herbs | The Holistic Herbalism Podcast”

  1. yes, daffodils are coming up here in PNW.. but my favorite herbs to grow are perennials because they do their own thing.

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