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Diary of a brown thumb

Project 5 - Growing a medicinal garden 

As many of us experienced, Adelaide had a doozy of a Flu year this year and unfortunately my family was not spared. My 7 year old fell hard and fast, as it tore through her classroom like wildfire. As she lankly laid on the couch for a week and a half, I helplessly wrung my hands wishing I could make her feel better. I was also lamenting on how well she had been during winter and just as the weather was warming up she was literally knocked over by a virus. 

As this was all going on, I happened to be chatting to Catherine Harding, a Nutritionist at Panacea Studio who was telling me how we can use our food as medicine — as a preventative to encourage good health, but also as a treatment if you do become ill. She gave me her top 10 plants to include in my diet to encourage good health, which made me realise that many of these I had been using during winter — just by chance. Had I been managing to keep my family healthy during winter? Only to stop adding cinnamon to our meals and number one child falling ill?

I became curioser and curioser....and then I got pretty excited about growing my own medicinal plants to help keep well. And seeing as it is flu season I thought you might be excited about it too. So Catherine from Panacea Studio and I put a little e-book together for the Top 5 medicinal plants (as you do), what to use them for, how you can use them in the kitchen, how to grow them and how to harvest them. I hope you enjoy it.

So, given that my gardening enthusiasm has been growing...oh wait, I didn“t tell you. Check out the veggie garden. It“s taken off since I removed the number one problem — SNAILS. 
A little ray of sunshine helped too :)

I started thinking carefully about my next garden location. Did I want to keep planting in my permanent raised garden beds? The soil that I had added compost to has become rich and fertile and AMAZING. So I know I can restore good health to the beds I have, but I am still worried that the further away my garden is, the more likely I will be to forget to water it.

And we all know the only difference between a good and bad gardener, is remembering to water! Ba ha ha.

So I decided to expand into pots. But not just any pots. I stumbled across these little beauties. They are called Bloom Bagz, are made from recycled plastic bottles, come in a rainbow of colours, are two years UV resistant and come in an assortment of shapes and sizes. It was love at first sight.

So armed with my Top 10 Medicinal Plants list kindly given to my by Catherine Harding at Panacea Studio I went shopping for plants. 

 

Top 10 Medicinal Plants


Garlic — anti inflammatory; immunity; antimicrobial — EAT


Ginger — anti-inflammatory; nausea; immunity — EAT or TEA


Tumeric — anti-inflammatory; anti-oxidant — EAT


Aloe-Vera — anti-inflammatory; digestion + skin (topical) — Gel for TOPICAL USE


Cinnamon — helps reduce sugar cravings; anti-bacterial — EAT or TEA


Chamomile — sedative; immunity — EAT or TEA


Passionflower — insomnia; anxiety — TEA


Peppermint — good for your gut; anti-microbial — EAT or TEA


Rosemary — anti-bacterial; anti-fungal; insect repellant — EAT or TEA


Lemon Balm — anti-bacterial; anti-fungal; anti-inflammatory — TEA


I was able to pick a few of them up at the nursery, but a few were still in the wrong season for Spring. I ended up with; Garlic, Tumeric (bought this from the local green grocer), peppermint, catnip (apparently good to make a tea if suffering from flu — but also takes the itch out of mozzie bites) and lemon balm (and Mark promised me some aloe vera from his place). 

It was also time to plant out the soil block seedings (see Project 3 — Soil blocking — what to do in the garden when it“s too wet and the snails have eaten all your plants) as they were growing really well but had just survived Adelaide“s huge rain storm in September (not sure if we copped the hail) and were looking a little worse for wear and I didn“t want them to die.

So my medicinal garden is a bit of a mix of my Top 4 plants plus a few ring-ins. 

This is the 6 pocket herb planter with lemon balm, peppermint and catnip. I also popped in a few corriander and basil seedlings.

The raised garden bed with garlic, corriander, basil and rocket.

And the 15L pot with basil, corriander and rocket.

The plan is that these plants will be ready to harvest next winter or I will be able to pluck a few leaves for a tea or to add to dinner sooner. I think I will stick to cinnamon from the shop but I“m looking forward to adding more of the plants on Catherine“s list to my little garden when they become available. 


How is your garden growing?

Jeffries have a Facebook competition #MyMateJeffries — post your garden photos using Jeffries products to Facebook and go into the competition to win a VegePod.

A VegePod is a self contained, wicking bed, raised garden with built in irrigation and a cover to stop possums and pests eating your veg! Brilliant. They come in 3 sizes; 0.5m x 1m, 1m x 1m, 2m x 1m — and if you win, you get to choose which size you would like. And even better — it comes with the new and improved formula of Jeffries Veggie & Garden Soil bags to fill it.