The bounty continues in Penelope’s Garden. I hope that you have all taken some time during pickup to visit and enjoy the abundance of this beautiful space. Fellow work-for-sharer Nicci Meadow sent me this link:
Looks delicious and amazing! Let us know if you give it a try.
- Catnip is coming to the end of its peak time for harvest, during bloom time. Don’t forget to
take a stalk or two to dry for your kitties or for a soothing cup of tea.
- Skullcap is also coming to the end of its peak harvest time, full bloom. I will be cutting it back
this week or the week after for maintenance and encourage regrowth for a second harvest.
- Chamomille bed has been cut and maintenance done. The heat took its toll. Hopefully, it will
fill in and bloom again in cooler weather.
We grow two types of comfrey – True and Russian, used interchangeably. Comfrey roots and
leaves contain allantoin, a substance that helps new skin cells grow, along with other substances that
reduce inflammation and keep skin healthy. We harvest just the leaves, to preserve the plant for future
growth. Comfrey is typically used only externally to make compresses, poultices, ointments and salves
to be applied topically. Just a few of these outsized leaves makes a quantity of useable herb. I have
been making a salve with calendula, yarrow and comfrey. It is truly healing and moisturizing. We cut
this fast growing plant as fertilizer in the garden. Dried and fresh comfrey can also be used to build and
fertilize garden soil.
Kapoor Tulsi (Ocimum africanum)
Tulsi is one of the best herbs to grow for tea. It smells like heaven in a teacup and also in the garden when you walk by; when it’s flowering, all of the little pollinators think so, too. The flavor is a little fruity with an accent of clove, making it seem slightly sweet. Holy basil has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine as an adaptogen and for helping to alleviate stress. Other strains of tulsi are more commonly grown in tropical areas, however this temperate strain is more cool-weather tolerant than sweet basil and other sacred basil varieties. It produces lots of healing and delicious aromatics.
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
Only members of the Mentha genus are considered “true mints”. Spearmint contains volatile oil, the flavonoid thymonin, caffeic acid derivatives, rosmaric acid, carvone and limonene. Spearmint’s distinctive, pungent aroma is attributed to the primary constituent of the volatile oil, the chemical carvone. This herb dries quickly and easily. Just cut the stem leaving about 1/3 behind in the soil. Bundle about 6-8 stems with a rubber band. Give it a good rinse, pulling off any discolored or insect damaged leaves and hang in a dry warm place with good air circulation. When completely dry, strip the leaves and put into a closed jar and store in a cool dry dark place.
A little history:
Spearmint is documented as being an important cash crop in Connecticut during the period of
the American Revolution, at which time mint teas were noted as being a popular drink due to
them not being taxed. The virtues of this herb have been extolled for millennia. It is simple to dry
and preserve in a closed jar. I use this herb combined with Kapoor tulsi for a soothing, brightening tea in
the afternoon, of course, with a bit of honey.
Let me know how it’s going with your visits to Penelope’s. Quantity, quality, ease of collecting, suggestions, questions, etc. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org