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Phil: Hey guys, it’s is Phil from SmilingGardener.com and today we have a medicinal plants list that we put together for you, and H is going to tell you why we started thinking about this.
H: Well, okay, I started thinking about this yesterday because I went for a walk in the park right beside my house and I sat down on a bench to take a rest and this woman, an older woman, had sat down beside me and she had a little — her grandson with her.
And this little guy was just covered in sickness, like runny nose and eyes and all this kind of stuff. He looked like he had a cold or a flu and this grandmother, she was so sweet, she was just totally ready to tackle this and she had like a little bag of candies and she was kind of sorting through these candies, try to pick the right one and she found one. She says to me “it’s Echinacea.”
So it got me thinking that even across the ocean, there are a lot of plants that medicinally offer the same properties. So we thought it would be worthwhile to discuss some of them.
Phil: Yeah and so we started talking about it and what it really reminded me of – and this is kind of the most important part of the blog we put together I think -that what got me really excited when I started studying organic gardening was the idea of growing really nutrient dense food and growing any kind of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and mushrooms, whatever you do, if you can learn to create really good soil and grow that really nutrient dense food, then you are going to be getting just natural pharmaceuticals really; the same kind of stuff that are used in things like aspirin, anti-inflammatory things, all kinds of natural drugs really that will prevent disease and just help you be overall healthy.
So I got really excited about that, but then we were talking about today and we were talking about how there are some plants that are especially medicinal. So what we did is we put together a list of five, we just picked five really that I have in my garden and that I have used in the last week or so.
And to keep this video short, we are just going to cover one of them in the video and the other five will be on the blog. So if you are watching this on YouTube, I’ll put a link below and you can go, check it out. So many other ones are pretty cool; we have like a — we have a leafy green, we have a flower, we have a bulb, we have a weed. So we have some cool ones.
But we are just going to about another one today. So H, you picked one that you really liked, right?
H: Yeah, I thought it would be cool to mention fennel because fennel is really awesome for relaxing the tummy. It helps aid in digestion. So if you have fennel tea or phenol seeds, it’s really good to maybe, for example, get a cup of tea, have that before a meal or after meal, especially if you have something heavy, it’s really good to help settle the tummy.
So if you’ve ever been to an Indian restaurant, you’ve probably seen that they have little dishes of seeds for you after dinner maybe covered in like a sugary coating, something like that. Well, those are fennel seeds and it’s a practice in India to eat them after a heavy meal to help aid in digestion.
Phil: Yeah and yet the thing I like about fennel too is in the garden, it’s just a great plant for attracting beneficial insects, it may be a perennial where you live so it comes back every year or even if you live in a cold climate, it will self seed quite readily and same with dill, it’s related to dill.
So I actually tend to grow more dill because I like it a little bit better in cooking but more of a medicinal plant is the fennel and yeah, I think that’s the one we wanted to cover.
So we had a question we were going to ask people?
H: Yeah, we were going to ask you guys — why do I always forget these questions?
Phil: I don’t know why you forget this one because all we are asking people is what medicinal plants they like to grow and —
H: Yes, I think I even wrote it down.
Phil: You know like what’s medicinal about it and just tell us whatever they want about it because obviously there are tens of thousands of these; we just took five. So we’d like to hear what plants, yeah, people like to grow.
Phil: Yeah, so if you are not on the blog, check it out because one weed that we wrote about is one that I sometimes use in this ice cream that I make. So I have a little recipe for that on the website too.
H: Cool! All right, see you guys.
Yesterday morning, my sister had an interesting encounter with a sniffling boy and his grandmother.
It prompted us to put together a short medicinal plants list of 5 plants you may want to consider for your own organic garden.
Phil: Okay, so Heather, can you say, it’s fall bulb planting time?
Heather: It’s fall bulb planting time!
Phil: That’s perfect. Hey guys, it’s fall bulb planting time, it’s Phil here from smilinggardener.com and my sister and I have teamed up to write this article for you. What we did is we wrote an article on my website. I’ll put, if you are not on my website right now, I’ll put a link down below and that’s the full article. What we are going to do with this video is just really quickly share a few points from that article. So why don’t you remind people where you live?
H: I live in Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
Phil: So that’s why we started thinking about this bulb thing, right?
H: Yeah, the home of the tulip.
Phil: Right. So that’s why we started thinking about this and because it’s fall and it’s time to think about planting, we want to talk about it. So I will ask you first, when should people plant their bulbs, when in the fall?
H: Okay, well, that obviously depends on where people live. You want to leave about four to six weeks of above freezing temperatures so that the roots can get established and that is so that in the spring, the root system is already established and they can go right into pretty soon big flowers.
Phil: Did you say established twice.
H: Aye, twice, really established.
Phil: Okay, so I’ll talk just quickly about choosing bulbs. So obviously, when we are talking about planting fall bulbs that means these are bulbs that are going to flower in the spring. So we plant those in the fall. All there is to choosing your bulbs, you want to buy them now in the fall. You don’t want to buy them in the spring and then store them until then. So buy them now, get the biggest bulbs you can. So whatever varieties you are planting, choose the biggest ones from the shelf and just get ones that are healthy and not diseased. That’s basically all there is to it. Then when we get into actually planting them, why don’t you tell them about the location? Why don’t you try to say in Dutch here, a little Dutch saying?
H: I am so sorry to anybody who speaks or understands that. Okay, there is a Dutch saying and it’s something like this, it’s like, “bollen houden niet van natte voeten”. I think I am saying that more or less correct. It means bulbs don’t like wet feet. So you want to pick a location that is sunny and most of the time sunny and that has good drainage so you don’t have puddling water beneath them.
Phil: And then when it comes to preparing the area, you don’t need — in fact, if you are on my website, I’ll link to a couple of articles. You don’t need bone meal, you don’t need 10-10-10; all you need is to loosening up the soil. If you have some well done compost that’s wonderful to work that in there and then you can either loosen the whole area or just dig your holes where you are going to find your bulbs and you can even dig a little deeper than the bulb is going to go in order to loosen the soil below that.
Phil: Speaking of depth, why don’t you tell people how deep to plant them?
H: So you want to plant something like three to five times the height of the bulb. So big bulbs need to generally go a little bit deeper and what you might want to do so that you get kind of a layering effect of blooming is plant some deeper and some more shallow because deeper bulbs are going to bloom later and so that should prolong the flowering time of whatever cropping plant it is.
Phil: Why don’t you say maintenance too because there’s not much to do for maintenance, right, after you plant them?
H: Yes, there’s really not too much to do. Yeah, after you plant, you give them a good water and Phil, I have a question actually to ask you.
H: When you are planting garlic, are you supposed to take off the tunic?
H: So you break up the cloves and…
Phil: Okay, I did have one other point about keeping squirrels away. So if some people have squirrels or little critters that like to come and steal your freshly planted bulbs, there is a couple of things you can do. One is you can put mulch, sometimes just a couple of inches of mulch will help or if the leaves are all falling, just pile the mulch on top there. And actually, I’ll let people to go to the blog for the other things because I know this video is getting a little bit long. There is a couple of other little things you can do so I’ll leave them hanging. We had a question we want to ask people, right?
H: Yes. I was wondering where does everybody live, what’s your climate like and if it’s time for you guys to plant now or do you still have a little bit to wait.
Phil: Yeah, because we plant in September, but other people might plant in different months because it’s a different climate, right?
Phil: Okay, that is all for today.
It’s fall bulb planting time!
We’ve been especially aware of that this week because my sister has been living in Amsterdam during the last few years.
And of course you can hardly think of the Netherlands without images of bountiful tulip bulbs bursting out of the ground.
I visited her in 2010, and surprisingly, the plant life is quite similar to back home.
In Amsterdam, they have mild winters and (generally) cool summers leaving plenty of lush green around the city year round.
And since it’s getting cooler, now’s the time to start considering your fall bulb planting.
Yesterday, I was recording a video in my home vegetable garden that will serve as an introduction to the growing food section of the Academy…
(Note to Academy members, that section will be ready this fall)
…and I decided to take a walk through my vegetable garden with the video camera, and also post the video here.
The 3 sisters: corn, beans and squash
Today, I have an excellent companion planting chart to share with you.
But first, let’s briefly get into what companion planting is and why it can be useful.
Companion gardening involves pairing plants that work well together.
I’ll use the 3 sister guild as an example, which are 3 plants that were originally combined by Native Americans in such a way that the plants all helped each other out.
Insects like this praying mantis take care of my garden for me.
One of my goals is to have a self-sustaining garden.
Today is a good example of why. Heather and I are visiting her brother and his family in New York City.
I don’t know how anyone gets anything done with a 3 year old (sorry, 3 and a half) and a new baby in the house!
Update: Nearly 2 years after writing this, I decided to start selling the same compost tea brewer that I use. You can check it out (and learn more about compost tea) here.
A compost tea recipe doesn’t have to be complicated in order to be effective.
In fact, the simplest compost tea recipes are often the best because they’re easier to experiment with.
In case you don’t know, compost tea doesn’t look like my literal interpretation in the picture here.
Watering the vegetable garden. Chances are you don’t want to spend much time reading about it, because water is just always there for us.
We take it for granted because it comes so readily out of our tap, so we find the topic rather boring.
But man, is it ever important, vital for all living things. Go 24 hours without drinking it and we would all become more interested. The fact is, we’re made of it. Throughout the course of our lives, our bodies contain between 50 and 80% water.