Updated: May 15
So, we only have .20 acres and the house and garage take up a majority of that. I'm greedy though and still want 5 green space areas. The vegetable garden was tilled and tarped today, so seedlings and seeds will go in June 1. We are waiting on the garage flower beds as they need to be cleaned out and composted; and, the English style front yard MIGHT have to wait until the greenhouses open back up if the seeds I scattered don't take. That leaves the potted herb garden and the medicine plot. So now, what the heck do I plant? THE HERB GARDENER'S ESSENTIAL GUIDE was the book that answered that very question for my herbs.
Since Covid-19, I've been reading to figure that out. I've gone through 6 books analyzing layouts, companion planting, climate issues with Zone 5 and so on. If I can find herbs WITH good health benefits, why not plant loads of them? Plus, if I can use them for things other than cooking that is less work and more pay off. So potted garden first it is! Maybe I'll get lucky and put up a small greenhouse before this Winter so they might survive? If not, indoors is always an option.
Ms. Sandra Kynes give a good 50 pages of garden prep from plant choice to soil and tools. Almost certainly useful to anyone new to the garden game. She also covers factors like the wildlife such as good bugs vs. bad ones, and maintenance. There is a great sun chart for decoding the terms like partial or afternoon, and a quick table that lays out the plant properties she lists in the book so you can just bookmark one section for fast answers. My favourite part of this section was the companion planting which she lays out and is MUCH nicer to refer to than my scribbled notes.
As it stands, any excess I harvest will be stored for use in making remedies to keep me busy over the longer Winter months. That next section had some things I didn't expect or even think of: powders and capsules. It's small but it was nice to come across as herbal supplements can be expensive and, if I don't know where those ingredients came from or how responsibly it was grown, I tend to be weary. This encouraged me to further my own dried plant stash so I can make the most of not only the surface area of what I harvest for more potency; but, also a faster or on-the-go solution if I'm not at home.
The HERBAL PROFILES in part 3 are by far the most extensive and comprehensive section of the book, leading me to recommend this specifically. It is flat out lovely. She describes the history, how to grow, when to harvest, what parts to use, how to use them and includes recipes. It also feels like she is giving you first-hand tips on what to do with some and creates the sense of a very personal description just for you, to a question you didn't know you had yet. She preemptively answers and describes issues a certain herb may have and tells you how to be proactive about it or how to prevent it all together.
There is also an acknowledgement in each herbal profile about medicinal uses, precautions and how to use the essential oils if you are more intrepid than I and choose to make them. The fact that those items are included in the pages reassures me with a sense of security that the author knows what we will try and, again, endeavous to share that information proactively.
I've found that this is Ms. Sandra's 10th book and that to say it lightly, I am now a fan. Tomes like this one are marvelous. They give me what I need in one place, that I can continue to refer back to, and if I can advise others to read it, it had earned a place on my bookshelf. As I continue to invest time into my garden projects, I know this book will grow with me and my plants. -Rebecca
Book link for purchase: https://www.aurorasapothecary.com/product-page/herb-gardener-s-essential-guide