Help me design my 'medicinal herb' garden - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 05-04-2014, 08:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a 20' strip about 2' wide and I want to put medicinal herbs there.  I have kids and dogs and chickens, so it has to be stuff that is ok to have around them.  I already have a camomile, fennel, cat mint, melissa and lots of cooking herbs.  I want them to be stuff I can just use straight out of the garden without drying.  They can be big bushes or ground cover.  I have a couple of source for herbs, but most likely I will need to start some from seed.  The area is full sun and we live in Central California where it gets up to 110 in the summer.  It does have drip out there, so watering is ok.

 

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#2 of 8 Old 05-04-2014, 06:52 PM
 
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How bout echinacea, yarrow, peppermint, lavender, goldenseal, comfrey, calendula....I'm just tossing ideas out you'll need to look & see if all those things will grow in your area! Have fun!! :thumb


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#3 of 8 Old 05-04-2014, 10:09 PM
 
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Fun! Check out Michael Moore's herbal books for native medicinal plants. Horizon herbs is a great source for seeds and some live plants.
I use these the most (but I'm in Northern California, so cooler than you):
California poppy
Elecampane
Mint (peppermint and spearmint)
Lemon balm
Lemon verbena
Yarrow
Thyme
Sage (culinary, red, white)
Calendula
Rose
Red clover blossom (Trifolium pratense)
Comfrey
Cleavers
Plantain (leafy herb, not banana)
Aloe
Grindelia
Lavender
Queen Anne's lace
Rosemary
Strawberry leaves
Chickweed
Elderberry

I would love to grow viola odorata, mullein, nettle, skullcap, marshmallow root, licorice root, dandelion, echinacea and a few others in the near future. All of the above I use fresh from the garden and I dry several too.

Let us know what you start with!
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#4 of 8 Old 05-05-2014, 08:37 AM
 
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Is there anyway to widen that bed?  From a maintenance standpoint, 2 feet is difficult to keep the grass out.  From a horticultural standpoint, you'd be giving your plants more room around the roots if you can widen it to 3-4 feet.  Of course, this depends on what's on either side.

 

Also,  would separate the aggressive from the non-agressive.  Comfrey, lemon balm and the like are extremely pushy, both above and below ground.  Permaculturists like to grow comfrey and other plants around fruit trees.  Chances are good that it would thrive outside this bed.

 

It's hard to say what you can use fresh-- that's going to depend on what your winters allow.  Where I live, you would need to dry anything above ground.  In Fresno, you might have a longer list of usable plants.


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#5 of 8 Old 05-12-2014, 05:31 PM
 
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:lurk I've been looking at this myself. I don't currently have any herbs planted in my new space so I'm start fresh again. I'm planting some normal kitchen herbs and then will start branching out again. I'm working on my list for a medicinal herb garden and so far I'm considering:

Echinacea, comfrey, calendula, yarrow, rosemary, st johns wort and aloe.

 

Other herbs I use often: elderberry, plantain leaf, red clover, red raspberry leaf, garlic, turmeric, marshmallow, mullein. 

 

I'd look at what you use the most. I started with this list because these are the ones I use most often for home remedies and in my salve recipes. I'd start with what purposes you want the herbs for or recipes you want to use and make your list from there.


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#6 of 8 Old 05-12-2014, 08:01 PM
 
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For some of those things, it's best to find an area where you can collect without worry about animal and human pee and toxic chemicals.  St John's Wort is a serious weed in our region.  I would not be planting it in my yard if it wasn't there.  Mullein, plantain, red clover, dandelion, etc.  Can be found growing anywhere, so it might be nice to find an undisturbed, clean area to "cultivate" these for herbs for harvest.  Same might go for other medicinals.  Locating a good area for wildcrafting would be ideal.  Others you can "cultivate" by weeding the beds very selectively and at optimum times a year for medicinal use.

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Originally Posted by crazyms View Post
 

Echinacea, comfrey, calendula, yarrow, rosemary, st johns wort and aloe.

 

Other herbs I use often: elderberry, plantain leaf, red clover, red raspberry leaf, garlic, turmeric, marshmallow, mullein. 

 

 

Oregon Grape (Berberis/ Mahonia sp) can be a good stand in for goldenseal.  Same active compound in the roots, but I wouldn't know if it would do well in central California away from the coast.


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#7 of 8 Old 05-12-2014, 10:06 PM
 
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I love Oregon grape root. Combine with an astringent to get the full spectrum of antimicrobial, bitter, astringent properties we prize in goldenseal.

Good point about identifying which herbs can be wild crafted in order to narrow the list down.
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#8 of 8 Old 05-12-2014, 10:15 PM
 
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Is your planting bed out in the open or up against a wall?
Also, I would want to keep the animals out of a medicinal bed. No extra gifts of animal droppings in my salve or tea please. : )
With the full sun and Central Valley heat, I would be looking at ways to create shade with taller plants: elder, hops vines, vitex, lemon verbena, etcetera.
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