I come out in the mornings and harvest tulsi for the tea we make each morning. Some mornings I am greeted by such phenomenal growth I spend an hour or more tending to this amazing aromatic and healing plant. I am given many insightful moments this way. Tulsi is a devotional plant, used in many ritual ways, but devotion I can understand. It makes me want to sing and I understand that there are songs written and sung for and about her.
This is the Tulsi I found this morning. If you would like to share it, please try the hydrosol.
I am so thankful for all the wonderful herbalists who share their knowledge with the world and many do it completely for free. Rosalee de la Floret writes practical posts packed with information and I highly recommend reading her blog. She is also the education director for Learning Herbs.com, which is another great herbal resource. Their Wildcraft board game for kids, and also the Herb Fairies series of books are excellent to read, listen to, and to share and learn with children about the many uses of herbs.
I originally learned about the properties of the self-heal plant (Prunella vulgaris) from Rosalee, and the research is there, just as she says.
We have a lot of self-heal growing wild all around our wild lawn (read more below) so all i have to do is let it grow! I waited to pick it when it has some flowers opening and then warm infused it together with plantain into safflower oil over a 24 hour period, a very mindful process. To complete the salve, I added calendula oil (sun infused), cocoa butter, local beeswax, and geranium essential oil (also known for its skin healing properties). This is NOT a sunscreen but just think of it as immunity boosting for the skin, helping the body to correct any damage that’s been done. Gotta love it. Smells good too!
Self-Heal (Prunella vulgaris, Brunört) in the wild lawn.
We try not to mow our lawn. We let it go to flower over and over; in fact, the lawn is mostly cute little flowers everywhere. Last year it became a haven for all types of wild birds, bees and other insects which we gladly welcomed because the biodiversity breeds a healthy balance in the garden. This beautiful green woodpecker was happy to come and literally tear apart the hidden ant nests and we were happy to have it.
Young Green Woodpecker (Picus Viridis, Gröngöling) eating ants.
The kids don’t always participate in garden work but today was a blessing as they were all about it. Harvesting is their favorite; they can see, touch and taste the many things we have. We even get help with research when needed, like today when I didn’t really know what to do with the stevia plant that I picked up this year at the garden show in Stockholm, and my son read all about it and helped us to decide how to process it.
Here is a list of what we did this morning together and then afterward we continued to distill and process herbs for the entire day. At this time of year, we do this several times a week with various plants and crops.
Two kinds of mint were harvested and put on the drying racks.
Lemon Balm was harvested and put on the drying racks.
Lemon verbena was harvested and some put on drying racks and some in a 5 liter distillation. A Lemony Fresh stress buster!!
Stevia harvested and will become a tincture tomorrow.
Roman Chamomile harvested and into a small distillation. This Roman Chamomile hydrosol is very special; yes it’s relaxing but the aroma is soothing, almost smooth like butter. We might end up with 10 or so bottles for sale.
Gotu Kola harvested from the greenhouse plants that are for sale. My own crop lives indoors and takes up half of the sunny south side window sharing that space with the Rose Geraniums.
Tomorrow I will get up first thing and harvest Tulsi. She really likes the attention.
The day before yesterday I blended new batches of Garden Herb Tea and a Relax/Peace tea to clear the drying racks.
My daughter harvesting from the pots of gotu kola. A great way to snack.
One of the larger pots of Gotu Kola after the harvest and the bounty.
I have been thinking a lot about the abundance that is available in the garden. We grow more than we can use, more than what I can dry and store, and even more than I can turn into value-added products. It is more than I have time for, not only the given number of work hours that I dedicate to cultivated and wild plants but more than the given hours of the day.
What a blessing, yes, but the whole reason I do what I do is to share it. By nature I am a caretaker. I want to help, to help feed you and to help you feel better with what I grow, with what I can.
I have been speaking with Arbetsförmedlingen and soon I will be welcoming a few people that need to get out of their homes, who need to have a place to go, and who are interested in what I do, outdoor work. I’ll post again once that is underway.
If you are interested in coming here and picking your own herbs then please contact me. In August we will have an open garden on Saturdays, and there will be a multi-family loppis in the barn.
At this point in the season I have very little time to sit and post what I am doing so here is just a little bit of what is ongoing.
Calendula officinalis with mint in the foreground in our garden, July 10, 2016
St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) infusing in organic safflower oil
We get very few days away at a time from the garden, especially when there hasn’t been any rain and when it drops to 11C at night we need to close the greenhouse at night. We were lucky enough to go to one of my favorite areas and this time stay over a night with good friends on the Baltic coast at Strömsborg. This is a wonderful place for me to collect St. John’s Wort and get a little sunburn. On a small island I collected enough flowers for a 1,8 liter jar. So wonderful, warming and thrilling to see the red begin infusing immediately. I love this healing oil, so multi purpose.