The Garden Grows

While it’s still early in Michigan for starting vegetable plants, it is perfect timing for some of the slower growing herbs. Yesterday, to be exact, marked the first day of the 2016 growing season for me and I was all too happy to be “playing” in dirt.

Currently I have eight plants/seeds under my nursery lights. These include:

  • 2 Chamomile
  • 2 Rosemary
  • 2 Mustard, of 2 different varieties
  • 2 Echinacea (to replace the one I’m harvesting this year)

Chamomile

There are two types of Chamomile – German or Roman. I’m growing the German, Matricaria chamomillea. This is an annual plant, unlike the Roman Chamomile and grows upright instead of like a ground covering.

It is very easy to grow and harvest. I’m growing this herb because of all of the health benefits, such as:

  • Antispasmodic
  • Gastrointestinal conditions
  • Prevention and treatment of ulcers
  • Apigenin (helps with sleep disorders)
  • Anti-infalmmatory (for arthritis)
  • Stimulates the immune system
  • Kills staphylococus bacteria

Rosemary

Rosemary is an amazing little plant. It’s hardy in winter, takes little work and is a perennial. I’ve also read that it’s hard to grow from seeds, but I have never had any problems with it. It is one of the slower growing herbs, so it’s best to start it at least 3 months out from when planting it outside.

The reason I’m growing Rosemary is because I have migraines and have recently discovered that this is one of the few things that seems to help. In addition, it’s supposed to be a great plant to help repel pests in the garden.

Mustard

Mustard is a cool weather crop that tolerates light frosts. It isn’t a perennial and is very easy to take care of. It’s a great cover crop to grow before potatoes because it’s residue suppresses soil-borne nermatodes.

Because this is my first year growing Mustard, I’m only doing a couple of plants. If all goes well, next year I’ll plant more around the same time I plant my broccoli.

At the end of the season, mustard roots and foliage should be dug up because they will rot during the winter months.

Echinacea

Echinacea is one of my favorite plants to grow and really tests one’s patience! It has a huge list of health benefits, including:

  • Helps fight viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protozoa
  • Tonsillitis
  • Bronchitis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Meningitis
  • Helps heal wounds
  • Helps heal abscesses
  • Whooping cough
  • Ear infections
  • Cold and Flu

However, it takes around three years for the plant to become potent. After this point, the roots can be harvested at any time. The longer you wait, the more potent the root material will become.

It is best to harvest the roots in the fall, after the flowers have finished blooming. Speaking of which, the flowers are always known for attracting bees, which is another positive of this plant. It’s beautiful and helps out the bees.

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