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Harvesting a Bowl of Comfort

May 31st, 2012

Every year I add a few more herbs to the gardens of Chiot’s Run and learn how to use them. A few years ago, chamomile was added and my gardens will never be without it again. Even if I didn’t harvest it for calming teas, I would grow it because it’s a beautifully graceful plant.

My chamomile plants are about 18-24 inches tall and blooming profusely with hundreds of tiny white daisy like flowers. These plants grow right by my driveway. They were only supposed to be 8-10 inches tall and I was planning on them spilling over the rock wall. Not the case, they grow upright and are a bit leggy. In the future I’ll grow in among other plants to help cover up it’s skinny legs.

Mixed in the with the chamomile the ‘Lady’ lavender is blooming as well, together they make a wonderful night time tea that’s delicious, comforting and certain to help lull you to sleep. Hopefully in a few weeks I’ll have a quart of dried chamomile for the pantry this winter.

What’s your favorite kind of herbal tea?

Looking for some great books about growing/using herbs & spices, here are a few of my favorites:

A great source for herb plants of all shapes, colors, flavors and sizes is Richter’s Herbs. Most of the herbs in my garden have come from them.

Growing Herbs for Soothing Teas

July 19th, 2010

I’m a big fan of hot beverages, even in the summer. Most of the time you’ll find me with a cup of coffee or hot tea, especially during those cold winter months here in NE Ohio. When it comes to tea, I usually prefer herbal teas of all kinds over black tea. I like black tea iced, but not particularly served hot. As I’ve gotten more and more into gardening and growing more of my food, naturally I started growing some of my own herbs for tea. One of my favorite herbal teas is chamomile, it’s particularly good in the evenings since it’s soothing and calming (especially for people like me with slight insomniac tendencies). It’s also a wonderful herb for aiding in digestion, nothing cures stomach duress like a nice warm cup of chamomile ginger tea.

Last year my chamomile didn’t germinate well, and I ended up with one one small plant. It produced a nice crop of flowers, but not nearly enough for the amount of tea I drink in a year’s time. I had a quarter cup or less of dried blossoms by the end of the year. This year I decided I’d grow as much as I could, and boy to I have a crop of chamomile! I’ve been faithfully harvesting it every couple days, drying it on a plate in the attic and storing it in a jar. Happily I’ve been watching the quart jar fill up knowing that I’ll have plenty to get me through the coming winter. I may be able to drink chamomile tea every night before bed.

I still have a ton of chamomile blooming in the garden, so I’ll keep harvesting. I may be able to get an extra pint of dried blossoms. The extra will be used for watering my seedlings in the spring. I’ve read it’s particularly good at helping with fungal diseases and dampening off. I’ll make sure to keep you posted on this experiment come seed starting season. In the coming years I’ll be adding more and more tea herbs to my garden as I expand my flowerbeds and get rid of plants that don’t thrive. I haven’t decided which ones to add next, but I’m sure I’ll find some good ones from Richter’s. I’ve also been experimenting with growing tropical herbs in pots as houseplants. Currently I’m starting ginger and lemongrass (more on that later).

Are you a hot or a cold beverage person?

Quote of the Day: William Carlos Williams

July 5th, 2010

“In summer, the song sings itself.”

~ William Carlos Williams

The other evening I was out trying to capture the beauty of a summer evening. I planted a ton of chamomile this year, so I would have a great harvest for teas. I’m disappointed that the plants are tall and leggy, and not looking too nice in the location I have them. However the other night the light was just right and they were definitely singing the song of summer. I think this captured the mood that evening beautifully.

What’s singing to you in your garden right now?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.